The Yankees leave the ALDS on a high note. Here are a few do’s and don’t’s to keep the team on their way in the ALCS…
Do root for the Tampa Bay Rays tonight in their elimination game with the Houston Astros. With a Tampa Bay win, the Yankees get home field in four of the scheduled seven ALCS games. Plus, Floridian Yankees fans will descend on Tropicana Field by the thousands, making all games a “home” game for the Yankees.
Don’t alter the lineup. Aaron Boone finally had the chance to put together a lineup of healthy players and look at the results. Aaron Hicks walked around Yankee Stadium, telling anyone who was listening, “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.” Don’t listen to him. The Yankees are okay – better than fine – with Brett Gardner patrolling centerfield. Let’s count the at-bats Hick has had in the last three weeks…
Do stay with the plan to squeeze every pitch Boone can get out of his bullpen. We saw what happened last night with Clayton Kershaw coming in from the bullpen. The Yankee’s bullpen got them here. Stick with it – even for game seven if there is one.
Don’t concentrate on the other team. They’re gonna do what they do no matter what you do. Boone’s focus must be on the Yankees, strategizing accordingly.
Don’t piss off the umpires. And that includes you, Brett Gardner.
Do continue with the season-long strategy to be patient and picky at the plate. In the playoffs, a walk is indeed as good as a hit. Especially when you are up against the premier pitchers in the league and runs can be a scarce commodity.
Do look into the dugout when you do something good. Wave your arms, thump your chest, thumbs in the air – it’s all good.
Don’t carry that extra arm. Choose a position player instead among Hicks, Tyler Wade, and Clint Frazier. Seven games with two off-days give ample rest to the bullpen artists.
Do be wary of showing up the opposition. We don’t need Aaron Judge playing Frank Sinatra in the corridor of the visiting clubhouse this time.
Don’t underestimate the power of small-ball. A run here and a run there can make all the difference. Home runs will come, and when they do – hurrah. The Yankees have a bunch of professional hitters – use them.
Don’t leave anything on the field to rue over during the winter. Pitchers – empty the tank. Fielders – dive for every ball. And Batters – run like hell on every ground ball.
Do put CC Sabathia on the roster if he’s healthy. Today, the Yankees are waiting to see how he bounces back from a bullpen that Boone gushed over yesterday.
Don’t worry about Gary Sanchez. He’ll pop one when it counts, and have you noticed his defense? Ditto Giancarlo Stanton.
The Waiting Is The Hardest Thing
As Tom Petty wrote and sang, the waiting is the hardest part. The luxury of having this time-off the Yankees are enjoying can also be a curse. It wasn’t a liability in the Twins series.
Confidence reigns supreme, and the Yankees have it. But you can only imagine how high the Rays will be flying if they upset the Astros tonight on their home turf. And the Astros, well, enough said.
Still, there are do’s and don’t’s that form the basis of a well-planned strategy and outlook going into the ALCS. Your thoughts…