After all the ups and downs, twists and turns the Yankees have finally clinched a playoff berth (barley). The New York Yankees will have to face the all mighty one game Wild Card game, and this Wild Card game will take place in the City of Champions… Boston.
Cole vs Eovaldi
The Yankees will turn to their $324 million dollar ace to get them into the ALDS for another date with Tampa but this Red Sox lineup has done damage to Cole in the past at Fenway. Cole has nearly a 5 ERA against the Red Sox this season with a 9.82 H/9, 1.50 WHIP, and has allowed the long ball 5 times. What will be the key for Gerrit Cole heading into this start? Staying away from that dreaded long ball… that’s it. Gerrit Cole has to shove and just pound the zone with that -19 Run Value 4-Seam Fastball which ranked 5th in the MLB and just be that guy the Yankees paid for for these situations. Nathan Eovaldi the last time he played the Yankees in the playoffs was 2018 in Game 3 of the ALDS where he went 7 innings and gave up 1 run on 5 hits. But in 2021 Eovaldi struggled a bit against the Bronx Bombers with a 3.74 ERA, 10 H/9, and a 1.24 WHIP. Curveball, Fastball, Slider, Cutter, Spitter mix for the 31 year old veteran with 42% Fastball Usage rate with his Curve being his 2nd highest. The Yankees have the advantage with their starting pitching and they should if he’s getting paid $324 Million but non the less the Yankees always have a chance with the Cole Train on the mound and wouldn’t have anyone else.
The Yankees bullpen has been interesting this season to say the least, we’ve seen the rise of Jonathan Loaisiga who’s been the best bullpen arm the Yankees have. We’ve seen the weirdest season of Aroldis Chapman’s career where he looked the best he’s ever looked at the beginning of the year to one of the worst closing pitchers in baseball once the Sticky Substances got cracked down. Zack Britton has been injured this whole year and when he did play he was historically bad. Chad Green who’s always been ole’n reliable has not been that this year and hasn’t been shut down. The Yankees bullpen ERA ranked 4th in the league, 3rd in WAR, and 5th in FIP. On the other hand the Red Sox bullpen ranked outside the top 10 of basically every pitching statistic which isn’t bad but isn’t ideal for a one game series. Matt Barnes, Adam Ottavino, and Garret Whitlock and the names to look out for the Sox, Barnes is one of the best closers in baseball and if they need outs he can get them out efficiently with his nasty -9 Run value curveball. This matchup also strongly favors the Yankees side and it might have to come down to these bullpen to clutch up for their respective teams.
The Yankees have one of the most talented lineups in the MLB yet they struggle at times to put the ball in play. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleyber Torres have all been playing really well over the last course of the season and they will need more support from the Trade Deadline acquisitions. Joey Gallo has the potential to have series changing swings but has been quiet since joining the Bronx Bombers. Anthony Rizzo will be getting the start at 1st after Luke Voit went down with an injury, Rizzo has been cold since his 1st week with the Yankees and they’ll need him to take better swings then he has recently. Gary Sanchez has been a big time game hitter since being on the Yankees in the playoffs including hitting HR’s in Fenway in the ALDS so he’s familiar with these types of situations, he won’t have to worry about being behind the dish tonight since Kyle Higashioka will be catching Gerrit Cole. The Red Sox lineup could do major damage in this game with All Star 3rd baseman and SS Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts leading the charge with a combined 9.9 WAR, 61 HR, .516 SLG%, and 132 wRC+. Those guys can do damage but the other guys like Kyle Schwarber who the Sox acquired from the Nationals at the deadline who has a 145 wRC+, and Enrique Hernandez who’s been the leadoff man for this team has accumulated 4.0 WAR. Schwarber and Enrique are both guys that the Yankees can’t let do damage and if you’re gonna get beat at least get beat by Devers and Xander.
Keys to Victory
The Yankees keys to victory:
- Don’t go on the cold streak everyone knows they can go on. The last game of the season we saw where they had 1 hit through 8 innings, and this isn’t the 1st this has happened this season because this happened pretty often. We need to see good at bats all around from Gleyber Torres all the way down to Rougned Odor.
- Gerrit Cole (no explanation)
- The Yankees NEED Aaron Boone to make good decisions and not do the idiotic things we know he does because his career with the Yankees is on the line tonight.
The Red Sox keys to victory:
- Get to Gerrit Cole early.
- Role Players need to step up
- Bullpen to not suck challenge.