Tuesday, October 2, 2018

My Thoughts Heading Into the 2018 Postseason

Yes, the American League and National League Wild Card Games are postseason games. Major League Baseball says so and so does Baseball Reference. It doesn’t matter if you say so or think so, so keep that in mind before leaving the smart-ass comments in the comments section, on Twitter, and in my email. Thanks in advance.

The New York Yankees postseason push begins tomorrow night in the Bronx when the team plays host to the Oakland Athletics in a one-game playoff. The loser goes home and the winner travels to Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox, the owners of the best record in the American League here in 2018. What are my thoughts heading into the postseason? I am confident. In fact, I am as confident as one can be who roots for a team that is about to have to play in a one-game do-or-die playoff game. Why?

The Yankees are built for a one-game playoff better than most, if not all, teams across Major League Baseball. The Yankees starters don’t have to give the team much length with such a deep, talented and now rested bullpen behind them. That’s why I never stressed much on whether it would be JA Happ, Masahiro Tanaka or Luis Severino starting in the game, because it didn’t matter. At the first sign of trouble the Yankees would/could bring in a battery of David Robertson, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman to potentially close out any game they need to. In a perfect world that is five or more shutout innings if every arm listed goes one inning. Green can go multiple innings, as can Robertson and Betances, while Britton and Chapman have as well in the past. That’s a whole lot of zeroes for the opposing team in my opinion.

The Yankees offense, albeit home run reliant sometimes, is explosive and it has been firing on all cylinders since the returns of Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius. With the aforementioned bullpen and pitching situation across a one-game playoff the Yankees may only need one run to win, or they may go out there and score 15 runs for all we know. No lead for Oakland will be safe, especially in the Bronx, and it will be the Athletics, not the Yankees, who feel like they are further behind than they truly are with every run that the Bronx Bombers score.

The Yankees have been here before, much of the core from last season is here with a few new veterans thrown into the mix, while the Athletics have not been. The A’s are a great team, but there is a different intensity playing in August and September than there is in October, and Oakland has yet to experience that as a whole. One mistake can win or lose your season for you.

Assuming the Yankees get past the Athletics in the Wild Card round of the playoffs the team would travel to Boston to take on the Red Sox. Boston won the season series 10-9 here in 2018, but the Yankees recently took 2-of-3 from the Red Sox in Fenway Park over the final weekend of the season. Sure, the Red Sox had nothing left to play for except to maybe keep the Yankees from hosting a Wild Card game or from winning 100 games on the season, but New York held their own for much of the season regardless, both at home and in Boston. Truth be told I think the Yankees could beat the Red Sox in a seven-game series, but the five-game series benefits New York much more than it would the Red Sox. Having a reliable arm like JA Happ or Masahiro Tanaka potentially pitching twice in the series with Luis Severino and CC Sabathia pitching once each in the potential series I can’t say that I don’t feel confident about being able to win every single night in the series. Especially with that offense and especially with that bullpen. Speaking of bullpen’s, Boston’s bullpen sucks, so that can only help.

If the Yankees go further than the ALDS I will have much more to say, so I won’t get too far ahead of myself now just in case. I feel confident in this team as I have all season long, and I will remain confident in this team no matter where the playoffs and the schedule may take them. I love this team, and I don’t think any team in the American League wants to face the New York Yankees right now… and that is a great feeling as a fan.

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