ALCS game 1 recap

If you haven’t seen my most recent posts, just a quick reminder:

For several reasons, the post-season isn’t the time to break down and over analyze everything.  It’s time to simply enjoy the show.  So below I have a couple of observations that, had I made them in the regular season, you could rest assured that I’d get online and fact check.  I’m not doing that this morning.  So if you know or think that what I’m saying is factually incorrect, by all means, do your own fact-checking and get back to me.

In no particular order…

It seems so obvious.

When I watch Jose Altuve bat it seems so obvious that he’s looking for the ball away.  He’s short and stands off the plate, so why not throw away, right?  But he strides in drastically, uses a long bat, and oh by the way…he can hit.  So more often than not that ball on the outer half gets drilled.

So I’m thinking, why would anyone throw him a ball on the outer half of the strike zone?

Well, the Yankees plan was to throw the ball away – but to throw it slow and just off the plate.  And it worked.

I counted four (and maybe missed a few more) sliders that Tanaka threw just off the plate that Altuve either swung and missed at or fouled off.  The result?  A pop-up and a K in two plate appearances.  Altuve’s third at-bat was against Ottavino, who with the slider he throws one would guess would employ the same strategy that Tanaka did but Altuve caught a break – he took a fastball right down the middle that was called a ball.  That changed the at-bat and helped Altuve eventually get a single up the middle.

It was a fun strategy to watch, but to be clear:  We can all go out on the mound and say “I’m going to throw a slider an inch or two off the plate” and the strategy wouldn’t look so good.  Tanaka did it.  Eerily well.  What a performance by “Massa”.

Defense?

I’m curious:  In the bottom of the eighth with the Yankees leading 5-0, Aaron Boone put Cameron Maybin into left field to replace Stanton for defensive purposes.  Is Maybin a defensive upgrade over Stanton? Of course.  But Aaron Hicks in center and Gardner in left is a big defensive upgrade over that.  I don’t watch post game nonsense (the in-game nonsense with Buck and Smoltz is enough for me) but was Boone asked why Hicks wasn’t used in that spot?  If he isn’t used there I’m wondering why he would be on the roster…

I have a dead horse I need to beat…

Needless to say, the Yankees lineup goes from scary to the stuff of pitchers’ nightmares with Gleyber batting third.  Can we all agree that Didi and/or Gardner batting third over the past three months was silly?  Thanks in advance.

Bravo Aaron Boone

I was so glad to see Jonathan Loaisiga pitch the ninth – that spot is exactly why he’s on the roster.  When the win probability is 99% (either winning or losing) you use your number 12 pitcher so you can use your best when you need them.  As sure as you’re reading this, Joe Girardi would have used Chapman in that spot and risked a 25 pitch inning that may have affected game 2 and beyond for him.

On another note, I don’t want to sound condescending, I think Loaisiga can pitch.  I love the way he throws and was glad for him that he now has an ALCS appearance on his resume.

Did I miss something?  Let me know.

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