Way back on the early morning of Oct. 2, 1978, in a position-by-position sneak peek of the Yankees-Red Sox American League East tiebreaker video game, we released the list below analysis:
Shortstop: Rick Burleson was an All-Star for the 2nd straight season and serves a crucial function as Boston’s leadoff guy. But Bucky Dent, regardless of an uninspiring .317 punching portion, is the gamer more than likely to strike a game-changing three-run crowning achievement over the Green Monster. Advantage: Yankees
Yes, for more than 40 years, this site has actually been the leader in postseason positional analysis. You can look it up. (Note: Please don’t look it up.)
And here we are once again, breaking down a winner-take-all tilt in between baseball’s most bitter competitors.
We have actually searched the lineups of the Red Sox and Yankees in advance of Tuesday’s AL Wild Card Game at Fenway Park and couldn’t discover Bucky “Bleeping” Dent anywhere. So we’ll need to place on our believing caps to evaluate how these 2 92-win clubs accumulate at each area. Obviously, the video game — particularly being simply one video game — is vibrant and unforeseeable. But the objective is to influence enjoyable argument and conversation and, ideally, come out as properly as we carried out in ’78 (once again, please, please don’t look it up).
Gerrit Cole’s go-to batterymate is Kyle Higashioka, and the catcher’s defense in addition to the convenience element in between the pitcher and catcher are essential. Higgy’s .181/.246/.389 slash (consisting of a .502 OPS in the last month) is not heartening, however he has actually deserved plus-5 protective runs conserved, ranking 13th in the Majors amongst those with a minimum of 500 innings captured.
Boston will likewise likely focus on the pitcher-catcher relationship by utilizing backup Kevin Plawecki, who works well with Nathan Eovaldi. The veteran Plawecki had a strong .349 on-base portion in a minimal function this year, however he deserved minus-3 protective runs conserved. Because neither of these gamers is an offending super star, we’ll put included weight on defense here.
Slight benefit: Yankees
J.D. Martinez’s status will identify whether it’s Kyle Schwarber or Bobby Dalbec here for Boston, as Schwarber might possibly change Martinez at DH. Both Schwarber and Dalbec increased Boston offensively in the 2nd half — Dalbec with a .270/.345/.615 slash, Schwarber with a .291/.435/.522 slash.
But in Anthony Rizzo, the Yankees have an October-evaluated veteran understood to install difficult at-bats. He was by no implies an overwhelming offending addition for the Yanks (.247/.337/.429), however the separator here is his dependability on the protective end, which might truly enter play in a video game like this. Rizzo’s 6 outs above typical connected for 2nd in MLB amongst certified very first basemen, whereas Dalbec’s minus-6 mark ranked last and Schwarber’s minus-4 was likewise near the bottom. (And for what it’s worth, Rizzo is 5-for-9 with 3 doubles in his profession versus Eovaldi.)
The Red Sox remain in the strange area of not having the ability to play among their most significant late-season drivers — José Iglesias — in the postseason due to the fact that they got him too late for him to certify. Manager Alex Cora stated he’s favoring Christian Arroyo here. Arroyo has actually had a strong season however it has actually regularly been disrupted by injury and by his stint on the COVID-19 list. He’s had simply 5 at-bats in the last 5 weeks.
Gleyber Torres’ battles have actually been well-documented. But he did start to turn things around simply prior to a shift from shortstop to 2nd base. He had an .841 OPS in the season’s last 3 weeks. Because of the Arroyo rust element, we’ll agree the embattled Torres here.
Slight benefit: Yankees
In a best world, the Yankees would have had the ability to leave Gio Urshela alone at 3rd base rather of moving him to short, however Torres’ has a hard time demanded a modified infield. Urshela had a down offending year, with an OPS+ (97) simply shy of league average.
Xander Bogaerts’ 5-for-32 funk in the middle of the last playoff push produced headings, however the bottom line is that he’s on the list of the very best shortstops in the sport, with a generally fantastic .295/.370/.493 slash line and 23 crowning achievement this season.
DJ LeMahieu’s tough 2021 routine season ended with a hernia injury, which additional changes the left-hand side of the Yankees’ infield. Rougned Odor might begin here, or Urshela might move back over with Andrew Velazquez at brief. Tyler Wade’s likewise in the mix. In any occasion, it’s a sub-optimal scenario for the Yankees.
Rafael Devers, on the other hand, constructed on his budding credibility as one of the video game’s young stars. He turned up clutch with the consent homer in the ninth inning Sunday to seal this Wild Card date, stressing a season in which his .890 OPS was 3rd in the Majors amongst certified 3rd basemen.
Alex Verdugo has actually been essentially a league-average bat in his 2nd season in Boston, however his .317/.389/.497 slash line versus right-handers is a crucial quality in this specific match. He has 3 extra-base hits in 14 profession at-bats versus Cole. An advantage of beginning Arroyo at 2nd and Kiké Hernández in center is it enables Verdugo to play in left, where his protective profile is much better than it remains in center.
Joey Gallo can definitely damage baseballs, and for that reason is constantly one swing far from breaking a video game open. But that includes a great deal of swing and miss out on, as the Yanks have actually seen considering that getting him midseason. He’s struck .161 with the Yanks.
Hernández is an exceptional and flexible protector. His 7 outs above average are connected for 8th amongst center fielders. He’s had a strong season at the plate (.250/.338/.451) and has a long and mainly efficient performance history in October.
At 38 years of ages, Brett Gardner has actually seen his offending production lessen, though he did have a reputable .266/.357/.449 slash line in the season’s last 2 months. He graded out as typical in center field this season.
Hunter Renfroe provided the Red Sox a really great return on their modest 1 year financial investment, with an .816 OPS, 31 crowning achievement and 33 doubles. And here’s our semi-regular tip that, from the neck up, he strangely looks like Mike Trout.
But naturally, he’s no Aaron Judge. Though he won’t be taking house AL MVP honors, Judge remained in the next tier with a .287/.373/.544 slash line, 39 homers and 98 RBIs. He can undoubtedly strike the ball a long, long method, yet it was his clutch infield single in Sunday’s walk-off win that punched the Yankees’ ticket.
That Giancarlo Stanton was healthy sufficient to accumulate 579 plate looks this season is most likely his crucial stat of all. We saw what that flourishing bat can, and sometimes — particularly down the stretch — it was awesome. Stanton’s .273/.354/.516 slash line and 35 homers assisted the Yanks get rid of some unanticipated issues in other places in the order.
Martinez had another outstanding season, slashing .286/.349/.518 with 28 homers. Concern emerged on the last day of the season, when he sprained his left ankle stumbling over 2nd base on his method to the outfield. Again, if he can’t go, anticipate to see Schwarber at DH. But Stanton’s .300/.355/.614 slash, 19 homers and 8 folds the last 2 months win us over here.
You pay Gerrit Cole approximately $36 million each year to proceed like this. He contended for the AL Cy Young Award, as one would anticipate, in 2021, with a 3.23 PERIOD, 133 PERIOD+ and an AL-best 5.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 30 starts. But the discussion entering this video game will likely focus on the 15 made runs he allowed his last 17 2/3 innings. Will Cole lock in for the one-and-done video game?
Eovaldi sure secured when the Red Sox required him most in the 2018 World Series. And he’s had a great 2021, with a 3.75 PERIOD, 126 PERIOD+ and AL-best marks in FIP (2.79) and strolls per 9 innings (1.7). If you were to offer the edge to Eovaldi in a house park where he had a 3.47 PERIOD in 19 starts, it’s not an insane take at all. But forgive us for going chalk here with Cole.
In his late-season return from injury, Luis Severino has actually offered the Yankees’ bullpen a much various appearance, providing Boone a multi-inning choice to serve along with Chad Green, Clay Holmes and the just recently returned Jonathan Loáisiga as the bridge to Aroldis Chapman. Thus, the Yankees’ bullpen remains in a far much better area now than it was simply a couple of weeks back.
Boston’s bullpen has more enigma today. Though the Red Sox did get a crucial ‘pen piece back on Sunday with the return of Garrett Whitlock, the prolonged absence of primary lefty Josh Taylor has been a hurdle. The closer role is currently unclear because of Matt Barnes’ 6.48 PERIOD in the 2nd half. Starter Nick Pivetta liquidated Game 162.
About the only thing we can anticipate with certainty is that we’ll be seeing that Bucky Dent emphasize advertisement nauseum. But in a much-less-certain effort to picture the result, we’ll take our possibilities with Cole and what seems the much better bullpen. Then once again, who understands what random member of the Yankees or Red Sox will make a curse for a middle name after this one?