Needless to say, A LOT happened last night in game one of the ALDS between the Yankees and Twins, so we can’t unpack all of it. But there were a few things on which I’d like to expand…
Paxton needs to be on a short leash.
I said it in my series preview during the week that Paxton is not a great matchup against the Twins. Left-handed with a high flyball % against a team of mostly righties with power is dangerous. That doesn’t mean don’t use him – it just means tread lightly. I really thought Boone should have had Cessa up early last night as it seemed Paxton didn’t hit any Sanchez target until the 3rd inning. Luckily Paxton got a little sharper and it worked out, but let’s not gloss over it: 3 runs on 5 hits, including 2 home runs in 4 2/3 innings is not good.
I’ve been saying it for months: There’s no reason for Didi to be in the lineup. (Frankly, I’m not sure he should be on the roster – the Twins don’t hit groundballs, bunt, steal or hit and run so infield defense isn’t a priority.) That being said, Didi has always had one strength: An ability to hit hanging breaking balls away like a 9 iron into the 2nd row in right. Well, last night in the bottom of the 2nd, Berrios threw him two cement mixers away but in the strike zone – pitches Didi has always chipped 320 feet for a HR. Last night, Didi fouled both off. He needs to sit. Even his staunchest defenders need to realize this at this point.
In the bottom of the 3rd with the Yankees trailing 2-1 and runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out, Stanton stepped in against Berrios. Berrios threw 3 sliders that Stanton didn’t even sniff at. Then he threw a fastball that was up and slightly out of the zone – Stanton put a swing on it that would have sent it to Jupiter but just missed it, fouling it straight back. So now it is obvious that Stanton is looking fastball and is on it as well. Smartly, Berrios decided to go back to sliders away. If you’re him, what’s the worst that can happen? 1st base is open, if you walk him, sure it brings up another savage (Gleyber) but at least there are forces everywhere. Stanton took two sliders just off the plate and earned the walk. Berrios then got the ground ball his team needed and should have been out of the inning, but his team couldn’t turn two and run scored and the lead was gone. It was a smaller part of the game for sure, but both Stanton and Berrios had a great sequence that helped their respective teams considerably.
On his last 37 SB attempts, Maybin has been successful 62% of the time. That is awful. If you’re putting him in to play the outfield or swing a bat, great. If you’re putting him into pinch-run and steal a base, go with Wade.
Is Girardi back?
Last night, Aaron Boone put Aroldis Chapman in to pitch the 9th inning with the Yankees leading 10-4. You can spin this however you’d like to spin it, but that’s bat shit crazy. It’s what Girardi used to do all the time and I’d bet a large sum of money it was a factor in him losing his job. This question has been asked numerous times and I’ve yet to hear a good answer, so if you have one, bring it: If your best reliever “needs work” and you know he’s going to throw an inning no matter what in tonight’s game, why don’t you bring him in earlier when the game is still on the line? The game was tied and/or the Yankees had a small lead through the top of the 7th – he should have been used somewhere in that stretch instead of wasting him and his pitch count later on when it was meaningless.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
Want to buy me a coffee?
If you like the blog, feel free to buy me a Starbucks tall dark roast (no room). It may not seem like much but it'll help keep the blog going - thanks in advance!