SPANISH HARLEM – Yesterday was a great day if you’re a baseball fan, with 8 playoff games on the schedule but the only one I had my eye on included the New York Yankees. After a big win on Tuesday, the Yankees were looking to get out of Cleveland but you knew that the Indians were not going to make it easy for them. It was a nerve wrecking game to watch but before we do that, let me break down the game on Tuesday and what to lead to a wacky night for the Yankees.
On Tuesday, the Bronx Bombers put up 12 runs; 7 off the best pitcher in the American League this season, Shane Bieber. It was surprising to say the least, as you expected a pitcher’s duel with Gerrit Cole going for the Yanks. That never materialized. DJ LaMahieu led off the game with a hit and Aaron Judge soon followed with a two-run shot, from there the Yankees continued to put the pressure on Bieber. They jumped on his fastball early in the count and took some really good curveballs in the dirt. They got the pitches they wanted and didn’t miss.
Cole was brilliant, striking out 13 and looking like the dominant pitcher the team paid big bucks for. His fastball was unhittable at times and his demeanor was impressive. It looked like he wanted to make statement for his first post-season game in pinstripes and he certainly did just that. It never felt like the Yankees had a true Ace they could feature in the playoffs in years past but on Tuesday you saw exactly what you want see from your best pitcher.
Whoa! Wednesday’s game… and where to begin… amirite? Not only did you have a delay to start the game but even before the 1st inning was over you had another dam delay. That’s just the first part in a weird night. There were lead changes galore and some intense moments. You had one team who didn’t want to go down without a fight in the Indians and a Yankees team that was resilient to the very end. It was post-season baseball at its best – even if you weren’t a fan of either team.
Masahiro Tanaka was bad then good… then bad again. The Indians scored 3 in the first and from that point you knew the Yankees would have to battle back to make this is a game. That came to fruition when Gio Urshela hit a grand slam to give the team a 5-4 lead. That didn’t last as Cleveland tied the game at 6-6, then again at 8-8 before taking a 9-8 leading in the 8th inning. The Bombers blew that up in the 9th, scoring two run to take a 1 run lead. Aroldis Chapman, who coughed up the lead in the 8th, finally closed it out… but not without making it interesting.
It was a game that will have Yankee fans happy but scared of their relief pitching going forward. Aaron Boone could be second-guessed on a couple things he did but none of that matters when you win. You look forward to the Tampa Rays and make sure you give them your best.
Speaking of bests… Come back tomorrow for Different Matt, who will no doubt have a thing or two to say about the Rangers & Henrik Lundqvist.