I don’t know about you, but it feels like time has crawled since the end of Game 3. The rainout yesterday obviously hasn’t helped, but I can’t wait until it’s Tanaka time come 8pm or so. I’m exhausted from rehashing what went wrong in Games 2 and 3 and there’s been too much free time to do that. It probably hasn’t helped that the NLCS ended quite quickly; the Nationals sweep of the Cardinals hasn’t allowed for any distractions over the past couple of days. For now though, to kill some time between now and first pitch tonight, here’s a news and notes roundup.
The Yankees and Astros argued back and forth over Houston’s alleged sign stealing
Honestly, I’m so over talk of this and pitch tipping. Sure, the Astros have developed a reputation for this kind of gamesmanship, but I have a hard time getting up in arms about it. Especially because, as Andy Martino reported, the Yankees were enraged by Houston’s behavior in Game 1, when they handled the Astros with ease 7-0.
Sign stealing is part of the game, but apparently, Houston drew ire because they went too far in the Yankees’ view. Apparently, whistling to relay information is wrong, but other more subtle methods are OK. Whatever. The Yankees need to just beat the Astros on the field. As long as Houston’s not cheating with some sort of advanced technology, which there’s absolutely no evidence of, the Yankees need to do better. Just beat them on the field.
Just to close this out — MLB found no wrongdoing:
As first reported by @martinonyc, the #Yankees suspected the #Astros used a whistling sound from their dugout in Game 1 of the ALCS as a way to convey signs to hitters. Per sources, MLB investigated and found Astros did not engage in any activities prohibited by MLB policies.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 17, 2019
The Astros and Nationals have reminded the Yankees of pitchers that could have donned pinstripes
Lindsey Adler of The Athletic (subs. required) gave a good overview of where the Yankees’ pitching staff stands with Game 4 upcoming and no days off the rest of the series. Even though the Yankees’ pitching staff as a whole has done a great job suppressing run scoring against Minnesota and Houston, we’re starting to see the toll of not having starters capable of giving length. Aside from Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees’ starters have struggled to go more than three or four innings.
The issues with getting five or six innings regularly from the rotation is in stark contrast of not only the Yankees’ current opponent, but also the National League Champion Nationals. And of course, both teams have workhorse starters that the Yankees could have had, as Adler notes. Justin Verlander could have been had as a waiver claim in 2017, Patrick Corbin could have been a Yankee had the team been willing to offer him six instead of five years, and Gerrit Cole could have been acquired via trade following 2017. Max Scherzer, who is not mentioned in this piece, was signed by Washington before the 2015 season in free agency. The Yankees theoretically could have (should have!) signed him too.
Now, the lack of starters who regularly give length doesn’t mean the Yankees can’t overcome this 2-1 deficit against Houston. It just provides an added challenge.
What makes Masahiro Tanaka so good in the postseason?
ESPN’s Marly Rivera wrote about tonight’s starter, Masahiro Tanaka, and what makes him so successful in big moments. He now has a 1.32 ERA in 41 postseason innings, which is just absurd.
There are a few good quotes in here, mainly from Yu Darvish but also from Aaron Boone. The forthcoming Darvish quote takes the cake:
“If anything, Tanaka has posted better numbers in the postseason than myself, so I don’t think I have much advice to give him,” Darvish told ESPN. “It may be because his sense of personal responsibility is strong, and he competes with the mentality of going to kill his opponent.”Yu Darvish
With Tanaka going tonight, you have to feel pretty confident about leveling this series at two a piece. I never, ever, want to hear anyone complain about his regular season ups and downs ever again.
Josh Reddick takes exception to Yankee Stadium crowd
Yankee Stadium in October isn’t the most welcoming environment for road teams. We’ve seen this time and time again, whether in prior years or as recently as the ALDS with the “Uber” chants directed at Twins’ starter Randy Dobnak. It’s come up once again in the ALCS, with this time Josh Reddick taking the brunt of it.
For what it’s worth, he doesn’t seem to be upset about anything said to him. He even seems mildly impressed with some of the comments received. But, he rightfully took exception to things being thrown on the field. That’s definitely dangerous and over the line.
Joe Girardi expects to manage in 2020
The one time player and manager for the Yankees stepped down from his gig with USA baseball yesterday, perhaps hinting at things intensifying for him on the managerial front. Girardi looks like a plausible hire for the Mets, Phillies, and Cubs.