Yankees vs. Rays rating: New York slams Tampa in ALDS Recreation 1 as Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Decide go deep
The New York Yankees continued their attack on American League pitching in Game 1 of the American League Division Series Monday night. The Yankees won four home races in their blowout win against the Tampa Bay Rays (NY 9, TB 3) and are now 1-0 in the best-of-five series. You have scored 31 runs in three postseason games. Game 2 is Tuesday evening.
Thanks to an extremely patient approach, the Yankees worn down Rays starter Blake Snell, forcing him to throw 84 pitches in five innings. You swung and missed just five times against one of the best swing-and-miss pitchers in the game. The Yankees received homers from Clint Frazier (# 8), Kyle Higashioka (# 9), and all-stars Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton’s long ball was a grand slam that put the game out of reach in the ninth inning.
Gerrit Cole was not at his best in Game 1 but was solid, holding the Rays to three runs in six innings. The Yankees ace struck eight. The Yankees pass the ball to rookie Righty Deivi Garcia in Game 2. Tampa counters with Tyler Glasnow.
Here are four takeaways from New York’s Game 1 win.
Welcome to Slam Diego
They say you can’t hit home runs against good pitching in the postseason, but gosh, no one told the Yankees. After completing seven home runs in their Wild Card Series in two games against Cleveland, the Yankees hit four more home runs in Game 1 against the Rays on Monday.
The thing-hitters: Clint Frazier (# 8), Kyle Higashioka (# 9), the two-time all-star Aaron judge, and former MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton’s Grand Slam in the ninth inning sealed the victory. This marked the first time in Yankees history that Players # 8 and # 9 went deep in a postseason game.
The Yankees are the first team to have completed at least three home races in their first three postseason games, and they are the second team to beat three homers in three postseason games and join the Rays in 2008. This is not the team I would have expected to tie you. Baseball!
As for Judge, his 10 post-season homers tie up Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig for most of the 30 postseason games in franchise history. His final four post-season homers faced three different Cy Young winners (Snell, Justin Verlander, David Price) and this year’s alleged Cy Young winner (Shane Bieber).
The Yankees have hit 31 runs in three postseason games this year, a new MLB record. They scored at least nine runs in each game, beating Cleveland (lowest ERA in the AL during the regular season) and the Rays (second lowest). Impressive.
Choi continues to dominate Cole
Hitter vs. Pitcher statistics are a strange thing. They are often small samples that are spread over several years, which makes them not particularly meaningful, although I am absolutely convinced that a pitcher can “own” a batsman and vice versa.
Case in point: Ji-Man Choi versus Gerrit Cole. Choi brought Cole down again in Game 1. His homer in two runs in the fourth inning gave the Rays a 3-2 lead. That came immediately after the Yankees stranded the laden bases.
Choi is now 10 for 19 with four homers in his career (including postseason games) against Cole. He did four home runs in 2020 and three are against Cole. This is certified property. Some people just toss your speed.
The Yankees and Cole learned their lesson after the fourth inning homer. When Choi came up with runners on the corners and two outs in fifth, he was intentionally attracted after Cole fell behind at 2-0. I am not blaming them. Cole then knocked out Manuel Margot to end the inning.
Overall, Cole was not razor-sharp and held the Rays on three runs (two homers) in six innings. He turned down eight. Nice job, of course, but not his best. Cole has had 33 strikes in 21 2/3 innings in three postseason starts against the Rays in the past two years.
No days off came into play
There will be no in-series rest days during the LDS and LCS this year, which affected Game 1. The Rays pushed a clearly working Snell into the fifth inning, including the fact that he faced left pounder Giancarlo Stanton with men on the base. That certainly seemed to be a decision that should spare the bullpen in view of the schedule.
The Yankees, on the other hand, removed Cole after six innings and 97 pitches. He was able to start a potential game 5 in a short break and the Yankees seemed to save balls. Chad Green also threw the seventh inning. The Yankees have shown a willingness to use Zack Britton for multiple innings in the postseason over the past several years. Ordinarily, the seventh inning of a one-off postseason game would have been a Britton spot. Instead it was green.
The rays expanding Snell to save the bullpen, the Yankees counting down Cole’s pitch to save him for a possible game 5, and the Yankees not using Britton for multiple innings are the kind of decisions that we are not used to in the off-season. I think they were influenced by the potential for five games in five days.
New York has the edge of the series
The Yankees now have a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five series, and historically the team that wins Game 1 in a best-of-five has won the series 74 percent of the time. The team that wins Game 1 wins the series without going to Game 5 more than 60 percent of the time. That doesn’t mean the series is over, of course, but the Yankees have put themselves in a good position. You have four ways to win two games. Tampa must win three of the next four.