The Yankees made it look easy last night, trouncing their patsies in Game 1 of the ALDS. Mark it down, though, as ten more to go…
The Yankees had a week to think about the task lying before them. They knew who their opponent would be, and there was ample time for Aaron Boone and his coaches to prepare themselves and then the team. They made it look easy last night (Box Score) and barely would have broken a sweat if the Fall-like temperatures had allowed it to happen.
Edwin Encarnacion hit nothing but screaming line drives to left field, and DJ LeMahieu drove in four runs while scoring two. The Yankees rolled out six relievers following James Paxton‘s departure with two out in the fifth inning, quieting the Twins explosive bats.
Gleyber Torres oozed confidence in his at-bats, catching one on the barrel for a double driving in two (video). No headlines for Giancarlo Stanton – but that three base-on-balls yell out loud he is “there” and patiently waiting to pounce.
And then there was the wily veteran, Brett Gardner, who knew, just like we knew, he was going to find a pitch he could drive into the right-field porch.
The Yankees needed to break out of the gate fast – and they did. All they need is to win two of the next four against the Twins, and from there, it’s four more in the ALCS, then four more in the World Series.
It isn’t too early for Wall Street workers to begin feeding paper into their shredders for the parade down Broadway.`
The Yankees Waited Six Months For This
But there’s something about this version of the New York Yankees that makes one believe they will find a way. Last year, the Yankees were one of the also-rans, much like the Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals this year, who spent a whole season struggling to qualify for the postseason.
For the Yankees, the regular season was like the heats they run in track and NASCAR before the real thing occurs. The team knew where they were headed. All they needed to do was survive the season and especially the final weeks in September that were reserved for healing and avoiding further injuries.
Dellin Betances and Mike Tauchman didn’t make it, but Gary Sanchez, Encarnacion, and Stanton did. Sanchez and Stanton, who ran hard but slowly in the running to first base on a double-play ball, are not anywhere near 100%. Neither is Encarnacion, but all he needs to do is to swing that big bat he carries.
The Pump Is Primed
Masahiro Tanaka and his 1.50 ERA in career postseason starts Game 2 later today. The entire bullpen, including Chad Green, who was not used last night, is on hand to pull the curtain down on the Twins again. Sunday is a day off, so the Yankees can stick to their cardinal rule of never using a reliever three days in a row.
We can expect the Yankees lineup to stay the same personnel-wise, but with right-hander Randy Dobnak pitching for the Twins, Aaron Boone may juggle Gardner and Didi Gregorius, his two lefties, around a bit.
One down – ten to go. In case you missed it, here’s the video recap of Game 1.