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ALDS Game 5: Yanks Fall to Rays 2-1, Joyless Season Comes to an End

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Ah, well. Nevertheless. The Yankees got a phenomenal pitching performance tonight and it wasn’t enough. At one point the Rays had no hits in their last 30 plate appearances against the Yanks. The staff held the Rays to 2 runs in an elimination game but they got beat by Tampa. I have been loathe to admit this all season, but it’s pretty clear now that the Yankees were the inferior team.

The Yanks fell 2-1 to the Rays in Game 5 of the ALDS tonight, and it was a fitting end for a season that felt utterly joyless at times. Even still, I am very sad to see it end. I wanted to watch more Yankee baseball. We got preciously little of it this year. Alas, it was not to be.

Let’s get right to the takeaways, if you want to bear with me still.

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ALDS Game 4: Yankees Live to See Another [Gleyber] Day

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The Yankees aren’t done yet. They beat the Rays 5-1 to force a deciding Game 5 tomorrow night in San Diego. The Bombers finally got a well pitched game from someone other than Gerrit Cole and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Let’s get to the takeaways:

Gleyber Day arrives just when the Yankees needed it. The shortstop’s 2-run homer in the sixth inning gave the Yankees some breathing room, putting the Bombers up 4-1. Up until that point, I had a lingering concern that an earlier wasted opportunity — scoring just one run after loading the bases with no one out in the second inning — would later haunt the Yankees. Thankfully it didn’t, and Gleyber’s bomb eased those concerns:

What a shot. How many dingers would the Yankees send over the Western Metal Supply Co. building if this was actually the team’s home ballpark?

Keep in mind that Gleyber fouled a ball off his shin in his previous at bat against Yarbrough. It took a while for him to get back in the box after it, too. I guess it’s safe to say he’s OK now!

By the way, Torres reached base two other times this one. Once via single, once via walk. He stole a base in the ninth and scored a run too. He had a really nice series against Cleveland last week, but had been relatively quiet until tonight against the Rays. Nice to see a big game from him tonight. Would be even better to see him carry it into tomorrow.

ALDS Game 4: I don’t know, maybe just win?

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Do the Yankees have a [win] in their bones? We’ll find out tonight. Game 4 of the Division Series at Petco Park is the Yankees’ first elimination game of 2020. Personally, I would like to see a Game 5. Who’s with me?

We’ve seen a lot of managin’ in this series, particularly from the Yankees’ side of things. But tonight, Aaron Boone and Kevin Cash will be front and center moreso than the previous three games. The Rays are going with an opener/bullpen game whereas the Yankees will undoubtedly have a short leash on Jordan Montgomery with the team’s back against the wall. So, get ready to see a lot of Cash and Boone walking out to the mound. Here are the lineups the skippers set for this one:

Tampa Bay Rays (2-1)

  1. Yandy Díaz, DH
  2. Brandon Lowe, 2B
  3. Randy Arozarena, LF
  4. Ji-Man Choi, 1B
  5. Manuel Margot, RF
  6. Joey Wendle, 3B
  7. Willy Adames, SS
  8. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
  9. Mike Zunino, C

RHP Ryan Thompson

New York Yankees (1-2)

  1. DJ LeMahieu, 2B
  2. Aaron Judge, RF
  3. Aaron Hicks, CF
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
  5. Luke Voit, 1B
  6. Brett Gardner, LF
  7. Gleyber Torres, SS
  8. Gio Urshela, 3B
  9. Kyle Higashioka, C

LHP Jordan Montgomery

News & Notes

7:10 p.m. eastern start for this one. TBS, WFAN, and WADO have the call. Enjoy hopefully not the last game of the season, all.

ALDS Game 3: No more messing around

It’s a brand new day and it’s time for the Yankees to play like the Yankees, not like the Rays. The strategy we saw deployed in last night’s loss may work for Tampa Bay, but the Yankees aren’t built for that kind of game plan. It’s frustrating to be at 1-1 in the series now, but like Randy wrote this morning, I also feel pretty good about the Yankees outlook the rest of this series.

Tonight, Masahiro Tanaka gets a chance to be his usual playoff self after not looking so sharp against Cleveland in the Wild Card series. In fairness, the bungled handling of the weather likely screwed him over a bit. That shouldn’t be an issue in San Diego for this one. The Rays counter with Charlie Morton, who was a shell of his old self this season.

Final thing: the Yankees are the home team for this game and the next one. Gonna be weird to see them wearing pinstripes in San Diego, but nothing is not weird this year. Anyway, here are the lineups:

Tampa Bay Rays (1-1)

  1. Austin Meadows, RF
  2. Brandon Lowe, 2B
  3. Randy Arozarena, LF
  4. Ji-Man Choi, 1B
  5. Yoshi Tsutsugo, DH
  6. Joey Wendle, 3B
  7. Willy Adames, SS
  8. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
  9. Michael Pérez, C

RHP Charlie Morton

New York Yankees (1-1)

  1. DJ LeMahieu, 2B
  2. Aaron Judge, RF
  3. Aaron Hicks, CF
  4. Luke Voit, 1B
  5. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
  6. Gio Urshela, 3B
  7. Gleyber Torres, SS
  8. Brett Gardner, LF
  9. Kyle Higashioka, C

RHP Masahiro Tanaka

News & Notes

  • In case you didn’t notice, Kyle Higashioka is starting over Gary Sánchez. Gary had a big homer against Cleveland last series, but otherwise has been really bad basically all year. I can’t help but wonder if last night’s 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts and a passed ball had a say in tonight’s decision.
  • Brett Gardner is in the lineup over Clint Frazier. I don’t think this is a surprise. Lefties have big numbers against Morton and so does Gardner, who has a lifetime .364 batting average and 3 homers against Tampa Bay’s starter.
  • Jordan Montgomery is starting tomorrow’s game, though Deivi García will be “in the mix”. OK. I really don’t get not using Deivi as a starter when he’s one of your best three (or four, if you really want to argue Happ) starters.
  • No commitment to Gerrit Cole for a potential Game 5, but come on. You know it will be him if that comes to fruition.

I’m very glad that this game starts an hour earlier than last night’s. We all could use an extra hour of sleep. This starts at 7:10 p.m. eastern on TBS, WFAN, and WADO. Enjoy the game everyone.

ALDS Game 2: So you centered a gameplan around JA Happ

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There’s a lot to complain about in this one, folks. The Yankees fell 7-5 in spite of Giancarlo Stanton’s heroics. The decision to use Deivi García as an opener for JA Happ backfired, CB Bucknor had himself a night, and the Yankees offense just fell short against Tampa Bay’s bullpen. This best-of-five series is now level at one a piece. Let’s get to the takeaways.

If I were the Yankees, I’d simply would have waited as long as possible to use JA Happ in this series. I know, I know. Happ had a resurgence during the regular season. But there’s no way I want to see him get the ball before Masahiro Tanaka in a playoff series with both guys fully rested. It’s overthinking things. Yes, hindsight is 20/20 and all, but give me Tanaka over Happ as the bulk guy every time.

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