The first of four off days is upon us. As expected, there was very little news coming out of Yankeeland today as the team travels back to New York following last night’s celebration. More to come in the following days, obviously. The Yankees will begin playing for the pennant on Saturday. They have 8 wins to go to reach the promised land for the first time since 2009. I believe in them.
You’ve probably been watching highlights all day, but I do want to flag one thing that I found positively hilarious: Brett Gardner beating the shift last night. Watch the video here:
Look at that. Sanó slides over right before the pitch and Gardner slapped the ball right to where he was. It was a huge hit–a 2-out RBI to make the lead 2-0 after Sevy left the bases loaded in the 2nd–and a classic Gardner hit. One of those hits that remind you of an earlier era. In one million years, you’ll never convince me that Brett Gardner didn’t do that on purpose. As we say a lot around here, and a longtime favorite phrase of RAB, Brett Gardner Forever. (As it happens, Matthew Trueblood wrote a whole post about this play today over at Baseball Prospectus, which you should check out.)
Anyway, Gardner aside, here are today’s headlines.
ALDS Fallout: Reactions, Injury Updates, Aaron Hicks Sighting
The Athletic (subs req’d for all) had a series of good articles about the Yankees today, as is expected. First, Ken Rosenthal profiled Luis Severino with a story about how he made the Yankees fall in love with him way back in 2011 during a series of workouts in the Dominican Republic. As Rosenthal tells it, Severino was being courted by the Rockies as well, but what made the Yankees truly commit was a commitment to pitching during his second workout for the team.
Sick with a stomach bug and throwing up in the dugout, Severino insisted on pitching anyway, and Rosenthal reports:
Two innings, same fastball, same slider. Now, Rowland was even more impressed. Sure, the kid was motivated – he had grown up a Yankees fan, and he wanted to get signed. But Rowland was struck by Severino’s character, his fortitude. This was a pitcher who might develop into the type of stopper he was on Monday night, pitching four scoreless innings in a 5-1 victory to help the Yankees complete their three-game sweep of the Twins in the Division Series.
As I mentioned, the piece is behind a paywall but Rosenthal told this story on last night’s broadcast so I’m not sharing anything new here. Check out the whole thing here.
Lindsey Adler also had a nice piece covering the continued growth of Gleyber Torres that is worth checking out, too. Cashman is quoted as saying Gleyber is talented in a way that few other players are, and I have to say: I agree. Good stuff from Lindsey as always. The Athletic is worth the subscription, in my opinion.
Dellin Betances traveled with the team to serve as a “big cheerleader” for his buddy Severino, he told the Times’ James Wagner. That just warms my heart.
Finally, there is no news about Aroldis Chapman (injured wrist from a bottle in the celebration) or Zack Britton (ankle) but both injuries are still expected to be minor. We’ll update once we get something concrete.
However, there is one new piece of information: Aaron Hicks feels healthy and “definitely ready to go out there and play” according to Mark Didtler of the Associated Press. Huh. That’s an interesting an unexpected development! He’s working out in Tampa, facing live pitching, and throwing. Who knew? More to come as it develops. The link also has updates on a few other Yankees on the taxi squad, if you’re interested.
Yankee Stadium Strikes Again
In another piece for The Athletic, Marc Carig profiled the 2019 Twins and it featured some…rather interesting (and familiar!) quotes about Yankee Stadium. Said Tyler Duffy:
“I’m trying to think of a nice way to say it,” Duffey said. “They [Yankee Stadium fans] hate you for no reason, which is what you want. They take full advantage of whatever they paid for that ticket and they get their full money’s worth.””
Duffy said more–he went into some vague detail about the nature of the heckling he received that, of course, mentioned some women in his life–but that’s not the part I want to focus. The Twins are now the second team in the last three postseason series at Yankee Stadium to speak publicly about the role the crowd has played. That seems…kind of embarrassing for the other teams!
But to be fair to Duffy, he personally played a big role in the Stadium’s noise. I mean, check out his performance here:
I’m trying to find a nice way to say this, but I have to be blunt with ya, Tyler: if you surrendering a towering grand slam to a fan favorite player in a close playoff matchup, the crowd might get loud! Don’t like it? Try getting an out. That might help.
Anyway, I say the Twins are the second team because the Astros also made similar comments following Games 3-5 of the 2017 ALCS. So said Dallas Keuchel, “”New York is no joke. Yankee Stadium is a tough place to play.” And Carlos Correa: “I never heard anything as loud as it was yesterday when Gary hit that double. Loudest I’ve ever been a part of. It was crazy.” And George Springer: “This is a wild place to play.”
It still hurts that the Yankees weren’t able to close the door on that series because, let me tell you, I’d still be gloating about it. But hey, whatever, baseball is fun even when you don’t win. Don’t remember? Enjoy this trip down memory lane:
Speaking of the ALCS, the Yankees are returning there! Possibly even in a rematch of the Astros! We don’t have times yet, as that depends on the eventual winner of the other ALDS–imagine still playing in the ALDS?–so we can only share dates. But here’s what we do know so far:
- Game 1: Saturday, October 12
- Game 2: Sunday, October 13
- Game 3: Tuesday, October 15
- Game 4: Wednesday, October 16
- Game 5 (if necessary): Thursday, October 17
- Game 6 (if necessary): Saturday, October 19
- Game 7 (if necessary): Sunday, October 20
Long series are fun, but I’d prefer it if the Yankees were dousing themselves in champagne next Wednesday. Sound good? Good.
Two old friends are linked to the Mets’ managerial job, a fate I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Former Yankee skipper Joe Girardi, who last managed a game in the 2017 ALCS, is said to be interested in the Mets job and the feeling is mutual. The same is true for Carlos Beltran, who of course played for the Mets and was fantastic as a player there.
I’d love to see Joe back on his feet as a manager, but like I said, the Mets? Meh. And as for Beltran, I want to see him get a gig but would rather he stay in the right borough as a special advisor, thank you very much.
The Other ALDS
Finally, Game 4 of the Other ALDS is about to get underway at Tropicana Field in Tampa. The Astros will look to punch their ticket back to the ALCS for the third consecutive season and set up a rematch of the 2017 series. The Rays will look to continue to play spoiler and keep things interesting. Justin Verlander will be taking on Diego Castillo at 7:07 pm on FS1. Check it out and go Rays! And then on Thursday, we root for an extra-innings slog in which every single pitcher on both teams must throw. Seems achievable!