Monday, October 5, 2020

ALDS Game 1 - New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays are familiar foes who both reside in the American League East Division, so this best-of-five game series should offer little in terms of surprise, right? Well you must remember that this is 2020, and in 2020 if there is a curve ball to be thrown you should expect it to either be in the dirt and 20 feet short of the plate, or up and in towards your chin. Hopefully this latest little thing is more like the former and not the latter as these two teams will enter the MLB Postseason bubble while playing inside Petco Park in San Diego, home of the San Diego Padres. The Yankees have not played inside Petco Park since the 2016 season, so sample sizes will be limited, but these two teams know each other well... and it's well known that they just don't like one another. 

Gerrit Cole has not been good against the Rays this season, let's go ahead and get this out of the way early, but many of those starts came early on in the season before Cole both found his groove, and found comfort on the mound pitching to Kyle Higashioka. No, I am not worried about his 0-1 record this season against Tampa, nor am I worried about his 4.96 ERA against them in 2020. What I am worried about is how Cole has pitched to a 1.32 ERA over 34 innings since being paired with Higgy on September 5th, hurling 47 strikeouts with just five walks. 

Blake Snell, future Yankee #2 starter, became the first pitcher in the (Devil) Rays postseason history to get through the first five innings of a game without allowing a single hit. In two starts against the Yankees here in 2020, Snell has gone 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA, striking out eight batters over eight innings pitched. Snell has handled the Yankees, but not dominated. The playoffs are a new season. 

The game will be played at 8:07 pm ET inside Petco Park in San Diego and can be seen nationally on TBS. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)