FIRE ME UP!
The day we've all been waiting for. The 162 games are behind us, and the official playoff promo has been released. It's time for the postseason.
The visiting team will be the AL Central winners, the Cleveland Guardians. They've found lightning in the bottle the past few weeks, and they will come to town with vengeance after the fan fiasco a few months ago with Myles Straw.
Luckily, the Yankees are quite familiar with Cleveland in the postseason, holding a 12-10 record. The most recent matchup came in 2020, where the Yankees closed out the Wild Card winning 10-9 in Game 2.
That was then, this is now. Nothing is a guaranteed. The Mets are the first team to win 100+ games and not advance to the ALDS. The Cardinals had the pitching and the storyline, and let the 6th seed Phillies upset them.
So how can the Yanks ensure victory? The Yankees had great success as a whole against the Cleveland, winning both series with a combined 5-1 record. We know what the offense is capable of, but how about the pitching?
The rotation is set as Cole, Nestor, and Sevy, as anticipated. Gerrit Cole went 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA and 15 K in 12.2 IP (2 ER, 2 HR) against the Guardians this year. Nestor Cortes went 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA and 14 K in 12.1 IP (3 ER, 2 HR) against Cleveland this year. It will be imperative for the Yankees starters to be dominant, especially after the bullpen uncertainties.
Although the Guardians advanced behind the dominant pitching, their offense hit a mere .171 against the Rays, going just 13-for-76, with two extra base hits (two homers). Jose Ramirez is clearly the player to keep an eye on, because once his bat gets going, it will be hard to stop.
As for New York's offense this year against them, they outscored the Guardians 38-14. It looks like the starters on the opposite end will be Cal Quantrill, Shane Bieber, and Triston McKenzie. Bieber and McKenzie threw absolute gems against the Rays, so it will be interesting to see how they do on short rest. What makes this Cleveland team so dominate is their bullpen, which ranks 5th in the MLB in ERA, yet they were just tapped into after a 15 inning Game 3 performance. Guys like James Karinchak, and Emmanuel Clase will not be too kind, so hopefully the offense strikes early.
I'm excited for this series, I am excited for Yankees playoff baseball. I am excited for this team to prove any doubter wrong. Let's spread some news, let's win some ball games. Let's Chase that 28...