Category Archives: Postseason

Lockdown over! Season starts April 7. Changes to playoff system, NL gets DH>

Finally!

The baseball season, and all 162 games of it, will start on April 7. Games cancelled from March 31 to April 7 will be rescheduled.

The NL will have the DH. So we won’t see pitchers hit (in case you are wondering, the last Yankees’ pitcher to hit a HR was Lindy McDaniel in 1972).

The one and done wild card game is out. There will be six playoff teams in each league. The top two division winners get a bye while the other four teams play an opening round best of 3. Then the LDS best of five before the LCS best of 7 followed by the WS best of 7.

Spring training games start March 17. Which means basically 2 1/2 weeks of spring training before the season starts. I haven’t seen anything yet about an expansion to opening day rosters. For hitters, not much of a problem, but for pitchers, how are they going to be stretched out? If you don’t expand rosters, and even if you DO, bullpens will be used extensively in the first few weeks because the starters haven’t been stretched out. I do hope that there will be expanded rosters in the first few weeks to help with the problem of pitchers not being stretched out enough.

Not only that, but the GMs have to really work OT now. There are still a lot of free agents out there like Correa, Story, Rodon and Freeman just to name a few. There is very little time to sign them before the season begins. Brian Cashman has to work his butt off to sign some people. Remember as of now the Yanks really don’t have a SS, and expect Luke Voit to be traded to a NL team that needs a DH. But what then? Do the Yanks get Rizzo for 1B? Freeman? Trade for Olson? LeMahieu at 1B?

Trades and signings will now be fast and furious. There isn’t much time before the season starts.

But at least there IS a season, and a full one at that.

Braves win WS

The Atlanta Braves, who only won 88 games in the regular season—the fewest of any of the postseason participants—got hot at the right time and won the World Series, beating Houston in six games. Jorge Soler was named WS MVP.

For the Braves, it’s their 4th title in franchise history, after 1914 (in Boston), 1957 (Milwaukee) and 1995 (Atlanta).

Now for the postseason, free agency, and awards time. And also, hopefully a labor agreement.

Braves win NL pennant, to face Houston in WS

107 wins? Nope. 106? Nope. 95? Nope. Instead of say the Giants, Dodgers or Brewers going to the WS, the NL Pennant was won by the 88-win Atlanta Braves last night with their 4-2 win over the Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS. For the Braves, it is their first trip to the WS since the Yankees swept them in 1999.

They’ll face the Houston Astros, with Houston having the home-field advantage. I’ll be rooting to the Braves, who will be the underdog. There is no way I forgive Houston for the cheating of a few years ago.

For the Dodgers, no repeat. No team has repeated as WS champ since the Yankees three-peated in 1998, 1999 and 2000 (and came oh so close to winning four in a row in 2001).

Houston wins AL Pennant. Also, Yankees prospects in the Arizona Fall League.

Houston has won the AL pennant, beating the Red Sox in 6 games. They face the winner of the Dodgers/Braves series in the World Series. Right now the Braves are up three games to two, with games 6 and if necessary 7, both in Atlanta.

I have family outside of LA, so go Dodgers. No matter who wins in the NL, I’ll be rooting for the NL team in the World Series. No forgiveness to Houston for the cheating scandal of a few years back, although I do respect Dusty Baker, who was not involved in that.

For Houston, it is their third pennant in the last five years. They won the WS in 2017, and lost it in 2019.



Meanwhile, Yankee prospects playing in the Arizona Fall League are P Clay Aguilar, P Harold Cortijo, P Zach Greene, P Tanner Myatt, C Austin Wells, Infielder Andres Chaparro, and Outfielder Elijah Dunham. Wells is the organization’s #6 ranked prospect, Dunham #24. They all are playing for the Surprise Sagueros. Through 5 games, Wells is 9 for 18, 3 doubles, a triple, a HR, and 5 RBI. Wells hitting isn’t a problem, but the question is whether his defense will keep him at catcher.

Jon Heyman predicts that the Yanks will sign both free agents SS Corey Seager and P Robbie Ray this offseason. We’ll see.

LCS’s set; managers gone

Since the Yanks are out and I’ve been busy (and very tired), I haven’t watched too intently. I tune in now and then to see what’s going on.

Well, the LCS’s are set. After Boston eliminated the Yanks in the wild card game, they beat Tampa Bay 3 games to 1. Houston beat the Chicago White Sox 3 games to 1. So the ALCS is Boston, who Yankee fans love to hate, vs. Houston, who still isn’t forgiven for the cheating scandal. Ugh.

The NLCS features the Dodgers, who won the wild card game over the Cardinals and who then advanced by squeaking past the Giants in 5, and the Braves, who beat the Brewers 3 games to 1. Dodgers/Braves.

A couple of managers got canned. Openings now available with the Mets, Padres and surprisingly, Cardinals.

Yanks season over. Lose wild card game 6-2 to Boston.

Until he dominates in the postseason, until he wins a big postseason game for the Yankees, Gerrit Cole is going to have to carry last night’s performance like a millstone around his neck.

Ask A-Rod. A-Rod’s postseason failures haunted him until the Yanks finally broke through in 2009, led by a lot of A-Rod heroics.

Unfortunately, it comes with the territory. $36MM a year and $324MM over a 9-yr. deal come with high expectations and demands. It comes with the territory.

Getting knocked out in the third inning of a postseason game isn’t one of them. Neither is having a 7.00 ERA at Fenway this year while being 2.94 everywhere else.

Cole, and manager Aaron Boone, denied anything was physically wrong with Cole, but you have to wonder. After leaving a game because of left hamstring tightness about a month ago, Cole hadn’t been the same since. Last night, the Yankees’ ace, who led the AL with 16 wins, gave up a 2-run HR (Xander Bogaerts) in the first inning, a solo shot (Kyle Schwarber) in the third, and only got six outs. When he departed, the Yanks were down 3-0.

He had to be near perfect, because the Yankees’ offense, so disappointing all season, disappointed again, save for Giancarlo Stanton. The Yanks got only six hits, three by Stanton. All three of Stanton’s hits seemed like they would leave the park. One did. Two were singles banged off the Green Monster, the third a HR that snuck around the Pesky Pole in RF. But other than Stanton, not much.

Anthony Rizzo hit a solo HR in the top of the sixth for the Yanks that made it 3-1, then came a huge mistake. Aaron Judge singled and Stanton hit a rocket. It seemed like the Yanks were coming back, but Judge was thrown out at the plate on an awful send by 3B coach Phil Nevin. It wasn’t close. The Yanks got something like 23 runners thrown out at home this season. That is unacceptable and that play at the plate took all the starch out of a possible Yankees comeback. Getting so many runners thrown out at home, whether it be bad coaching or bad base-running, has to change in 2022.

After that misplay in the top of the sixth, Boston scored once in the sixth and twice in the seventh (all 3 RBI Alex Verdugo) to go up 6-1. Stanton’s HR in the ninth made it 6-2, but the Yanks are going home for the winter.

In what could be the last game of his career, Brett Gardner was 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts.

Changes need to be made. Lots of them. If not, the Yanks won’t get further than this (and they barely made the postseason, squeaking in by one game over Toronto with a 1-0 win on the last day of the season) and may become worse, what with teams like Toronto and Seattle catching up. Those changes may be many, and yes, could involve some favorites. And those changes could involve everyone from the top down (except some high-salaried and some other players who can’t be moved).

I’ll be writing more about some changes I think need to be done later.

Rizzo solo HR
Stanton 3 hits, solo HR.


Cole (L) 2+IP, 3 R, 4 H, 2 W, 3 K. Gave up 2 HR.
Holmes 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Severino 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Loaisiga 1 IP, 2 R, 0 H, 3 W, 2 K.
Green 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.

Yankees pitchers walked 7. You can’t do that, especially in a postseason game. The Yanks struck out 11x.

The Yanks made a few moves before the game. 3rd catcher (Brantly), more speed (Allen). To bring them up, starters who they knew they wouldn’t/couldn’t use, like Kluber, Montgomery and Taillon were left off the roster, only to be reinstated for the ALDS had the Yanks won. They were going for speed and defense, figuring a close game. In the end, it wasn’t necessary.

Game 162. Yanks squeak out 1-0 win, gain 2nd wild card seed. Play Boston Tuesday Night.

The Yankees squeaked out a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay in the last game of the regular season, and in so doing, became the second wild card team. They will play Boston Tuesday night in Boston in the sudden-death wild-card game.

A possible three or four-way tie for the wild card slots didn’t develop. Boston and the Yankees each won to finish with 92 wins, each tied for second in the AL East. Boston got the first wild-card spot based on beating the Yanks 10 out of 19 times this season. Toronto won its game but finished with 91 wins. Seattle lost and finished at 90.

The winner of Tuesday’s wild card game plays Tampa Bay in one ALDS. The other ALDS is the Chicago White Sox vs. the Houston Astros.

In the NL, the Dodgers have to play a one-game sudden-death wild card game despite winning 106 games. They’ll host St. Louis with the winner facing the 107-win Giants in one NLDS. The other NLDS has Atlanta vs. Milwaukee.

Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees only had one hit in the game. (They sure didn’t make it easy on us or themselves). Rougned Odor led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, and Tyler Wade PR for him. Gleyber Torres flied out, Wade moving to second. Anthony Rizzo singled Wade to third and moved to second on the throw. Aaron Judge’s infield single won the game and put the Yanks in the playoffs.

It’ll be Gerrit Cole for the Yanks vs. Nathan Eovaldi (an ex-Yankee) for Boston.

Gio Urshela made a fabulous catch of a foul popup before running into Tampa Bay’s dugout on Sunday. Luckily he wasn’t seriously hurt.

Before the game, D.J. LeMahieu had to be put on the IL. If the Yanks make it to the ALCS, he’s available but it doesn’t look good. Luis Gil was brought up.

Judge GW RBI.

Taillon 3 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 2 K. 4.30
Peralta 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K. 1 WP. 3.35 (SF/NYY)
Holmes 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.60 (Pit/NYY)
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 3.12
Loaisiga 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.17
Chapman (W, 6-4) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 3.36

Game 161. The “Lowe”-down. It’s a mess. Yanks 12-2 loss causes Sunday scramble.

How to be nice. I turned the game off in the middle of it, it was embarrassing. Later I read that Gleyber Torres had to have a talking-to by Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner for lack of hustle—which is unacceptable, but even more so in the last weekend of a pennant race scramble.

Jordan Montgomery had nothing, while Tampa Bay’s Brandon Lowe hit 3 home runs and drove in 7 runs. Tampa Bay got 19 hits to the Yankees’ 4, and crushed the Yankees, 12-2. The Yanks struck out 13x.

Boston’s win put Boston in the driver’s seat to host the wild card game. A 4-way tie for the two wild card spots is still possible. A 3-way tie is also possible. A Game 163, and even a Game 164 is still possible.

Wild Card Standings.

Boston 91-70 —- Top wild card seed for now.
YANKEES 91-70 2nd wild card seed for now.
Seattle and Toronto. 90-71 -1

If all teams win, or all teams lose Sunday, the Yanks head to Fenway for the wild card game.

If the Yanks win, they are in. Simple as that. If they win and Boston loses to Washington, the Yankees host whomever in the wild card game. If Boston wins, they host whomever in the wild card game.

If the Yanks lose on Sunday, then they are still in as long as Seattle (vs. Angels) and Toronto (vs. Baltimore) both lose. The Yanks must win and Boston lose for the Yanks to host the wild card game.

And not to go any further, there are still the possibilities of a three or four-way tie, as mentioned above. There will be a lot of scoreboard watching since all games start at approximately the same time.

Jameson Taillon will start for the Yanks today. With that ankle, I’m not sure that is a good idea. You don’t know how it will respond or how long he can go. I think I would rather start Luis Severino (who has been great since returning off the IL), see how long he can go (he isn’t stretched out) then go to the bullpen.

Obviously the Yanks are saving Gerrit Cole (who hasn’t been that good lately) for Game 163 or the wild card game.

The Yanks, before yesterday’s game, brought up Andrew Velazquez and sent down Albert Abreu. D.J. LeMahieu has a sports hernia which requires surgery after the season. He will try to play through it. He couldn’t go Friday or Saturday.

Montgomery gave up a 3-run HR in the first inning to Lowe. Anthony Rizzo homered (22) in the bottom of the first to cut the Rays’ lead to 3-1.

Tampa Bay got four runs in the third, knocking Montgomery out, and the game was basically over at that point. Lowe hit another 3-run HR. Mike Zunino followed with a solo shot. 7-1.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, Joey Gallo singled and Gio Urshela tripled and it was 7-2.

A single, a couple of SB (with a 7-2 lead, kind of rubbing it in) and another single made it 8-2 Rays in the sixth. Anyone notice runners are stealing more bases off the Yanks in the past week?

In the seventh, Lowe led off the inning with his third HR of the game. 9-2. Then a single, another single, and a 3-run HR by Austin Meadows. 12-2. Ugh.

As for the Yanks, forget the scoreboard watching. Just go out and win today and then see if you stay home or pack for Boston. Lose and things have to get sorted out. Just win, baby.

Depending on how things work out, this could be 38 year old Brett Gardner’s last home game. We hope not.

Yankees’ broadcaster Ken Singleton made it official. Today will be his last game. He is retiring.

Rizzo solo HR (22; Cubs/NYY)

Montgomery (L, 6-7) 2 2/3 IP, 7 R, 6 H, 3 W, 3 K. gave up 3 HR. 3.83. Bad time for a bad game.
Luetge 3 IP, 1 R, 4 , 0 W, 4 K. 2.74
King 1/3 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR. 3.55
Rodriguez 3 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 1 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. 4.66 (Tex/NYY).





Game 160. Yanks lose, 4-3. M’s loss means Yanks magic # to get in is 1. Guarantee Game 163 if nec.

The Yanks lost to Tampa Bay Friday night, 4-3, but did get help as the Angels beat the Mariners 2-1. The Yanks control their own destiny as far as getting into the playoffs. They do NOT control their own destiny as to where the wild card game would be. There are just two games left in the season, with a Game 163 a real possibility.

WILD CARD STANDINGS:

YANKEES 91-69 — top wild card as of now.
Boston 90-70 -1
Seattle and Toronto 89-71 -2, and 1 game behind Boston.

If the Yankees win both Saturday and Sunday, they host the wild card game. That is the easiest way. They can also host it if they win one game and Boston loses one game. They just may not know who they host. If the Yanks and Boston tie with 92 wins, Boston hosts the Yankees. The most Seattle and Toronto can get is 91 wins. Of course if Boston finishes with 92, the Yanks 91 and the other two at 90, Boston hosts the Yankees.

But what if there is a three or four way tie at 91 wins? We won’t go there. Of course (and doubtful, since Boston and Toronto are playing cellar-dwellers) is that the Yanks end with 91 and the others all tie at 90.

One thing we know. The Yanks have at least guaranteed themselves a game 163 tiebreaker if necessary.

Got all that? Easy solution. Just win.

Nestor Cortes is not flashy or dominant, nor does he go deep into games, but he does keep you in them. Nestor did so last night, but the Yankees bats didn’t help him out. Cortes gave up a HR to Nelson Cruz in the first inning and Tampa Bay was up 1-0. It was HR #449 of Cruz’ career.

Gleyber Torres led off the bottom of the first with a double, and scored on a Giancarlo Stanton single as the Yankees tied the game. They wouldn’t score again until the ninth.

A nubber and a blooper helped Tampa Bay score a run in the second and the Rays were up 2-1. It stayed that way until the ninth.

A couple of walks by Domingo German (pitching for the first time in quite a while—just off the IL) led to two Rays’ runs and a 4-1 lead in the ninth.

The Yanks almost came back. With one out, Stanton doubled and went to third on defensive indifference. Joey Gallo did what he had to do. With the Rays putting on the shift and conceding the whole left side, Gallo bunted there to bring in Stanton and bring the tying run to the plate. Gio Urshela singled and was PR for by Tyler Wade. Brett Gardner singled to make it 4-3. But then PH Gary Sanchez and Rougned Odor both struck out to end the game.

Stanton 2 hits, RBI
Urshela 2 hits
Gardner 2 hits, RBI

Cortes (L, 2-3) 4 2/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 0 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR. 2.90
Holmes 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 3.65 (Pit/NYY)
Peralta 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K. 1 HBP 3.44 (SF/NYY)
Loaisiga 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.21
German 1 1/3 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 2 W, 3 K. 4.58
Abreu 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 5.15

Game 159. Yanks inch closer to WC berth with 6-2 win over Toronto. Smash 5 HR.

The Yankees are thisclose to a playoff berth after beating Toronto 6-2 Thursday night. That, coupled with Boston losing to lowly Baltimore again, gave the Yanks a little cushion in the wild card standings.

WILD CARD STANDINGS

YANKEES 91-68 — Top wild card as of now, game would be at home.
Boston AND Seattle 89-70 -2 (if tied, Game 163 in Boston)
Toronto 88-71 -3; 1 game behind Boston and Seattle.

Hey, as Blondie sang, Dreaming is Free. We can dream the Yankees get the top seed, and that there is a tie for the other wild card game and that that game wears out whoever the Yanks have to play. Nothing wrong with dreaming, right?

The AL has their division winners. The wild cards are unknown. The winner of the wild card game takes on Tampa Bay in an ALDS. The other ALDS is Chicago vs. Houston. The NL has the Cardinals taking on either the Giants or the Dodgers in the wild card game, winner faces Giants or Dodgers. Atlanta faces Milwaukee in the other NLDS.

I ain’t going into wild card tie scenarios, especially if the AL comes down to three or four-way ties.

Just win, Yanks.

The Yanks hit five home runs in their 6-2 win. Aaron Judge got the Yanks on the board right away in the first inning with a 455 ft. HR, his 38th of the season. 1-0 Yanks, and Judge wasn’t finished.

Thorn-in-the-Yankees-side Bo Bichette started a Blue Jays rally and scored in the second inning to tie the game. Judge made a diving catch for the third out to save another run. Toronto went up 2-1 in the fifth, when Vlad Guerrero’s RBI double just missed being a 2-run HR.

In the top of the sixth, the Yanks dropped the hammer. With one out, Anthony Rizzo and Judge homered back-to-back to put the Yanks up 3-2. For Rizzo, HR #21 (Cubs/NYY) and #250 of his career. For Judge, #39, this one a 441 ft. HR. Giancarlo Stanton then walked, and Gleyber Torres joined the HR party with #9, a 425-ft. blast, to give the Yanks a 5-2 cushion.

Brett Gardner made it 6-2 in the top of the ninth with his 10th HR of the season.

Before the game, Luke Voit to the IL, Albert Abreu brought up. X-Rays on Joey Gallo were negative and he entered the game late as a defensive replacement.

D.J. LeMahieu had to leave the game with a hip injury.

Rizzo solo HR (21; Cubs/NYY) #250 of his career
Judge 2 solo HR; 2 RBI (39) and a fine diving catch to save a run
Torres 2-run HR (9)
Gardner solo HR (10)


Kluber 4 2/3 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 1 W, 2 K. 3.83
King (W, 2-4) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 3.14
Severino (H, 1) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 0.00
Green (H, 18) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K. 3.16
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3.42

King and Severino could really be weapons out of the bullpen.