The New York Yankees secured a place in the 2020 MLB playoffs on Sunday night at the Stadium in the Bronx. They didn’t do it on their own, they had the help of the Seattle Mariners, losing to the San Diego Padres. With that loss, the Yankees were guaranteed to be in the playoffs. As it stands now, they will face the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in the Wild Card round. Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess.
In an already crazy season, the playoffs will be no different. 16 of the 30 MLB teams will make the postseason. Eight teams in each league will take part in wild-card games. Not a single playoff, but a three-game round. MLB plans to play the entire postseason in a “bubble” that has already started a week ahead of the first game. The New York Yankees are already in that bubble that has them quarantined in their Buffalo hotel. The only way they leave that hotel is to travel to Sahlen Stadium, where the Blue Jays are playing their home games.
When they return to New York for the final three games of the season, they will still be in that bubble and will not come out of it until they win a 28th World Champions or are eliminated earlier. But, the players could be in that bubble for up to six weeks. This adds to the difficulties General Manager Brian Cashman and Manager Aaron Boone have in setting up the 28 man roster, and the 14 man taxi squad. These taxi squad players will also have to be in the bubble at the alternate site in Scranton, without knowing whether they will ever get to play. According to Cashman, several of the players at the alternate site have already opted out, although he did not name them.
“We’ve even had offers for players to be in the alternate site in this taxi squad bubble moving forward and they’ve opted not to be a part of it because it could be six more weeks away from their family if you’re fortunate enough to advance the whole way and with no guarantee of either getting on (the big-league roster) or winning a prize at the end or getting voted a (playoffs) share.
“Some of them said, ‘You know what? I’m not doing it.’ So when you have those conversations, they’re disappointing, but you get it at the same time and just move on.”
Not knowing who those players are, it would seem logical that players that have been in Scranton all season, but were never called up during all the Yankee injuries would be the ones likely to have opted out. Players like Brantly, Duffy, Granite, Lyons, Thole, and Zych. It wouldn’t be surprising if Gil, Kriske, Adad, Sawyer, and Mercer may have opted out as well.
“It’s like, ‘Who’s all in, because that’s what this is going to be about,” Cashman said. “Who’s all in? Cashman added: “And you can even argue this might be the toughest World Championship to ever win given the circumstances we’re dealing with. Not for the Yankees. I’m talking about the industry and then the level of playoffs that you have to navigate to be the last team standing. It’s going to be quite the accomplishment.”
Gerrit Cole: Gary Sanchez or Kyle Higashioka?
Other than setting up the rosters, the Yankees’ most challenging question may be who catches New York Yankee’s ace, Gerrit Cole. Cole, who will definitely start game one of the Wild Card Series, and will end up pitching in the most games if the Yankee make their way to the World Series. Also, in this crazy “bubble” set up between the wild card series and the World Series, there will be no days off. Considering the constant play, the Yankee back up catcher, Kyle Higashioka, will have to catch some of those games.
If Deivi Garcia pitches any of the games, you may also see Erik Kratz in the mix as the Yankees will want three catchers available. But the question of who will catch Cole is a bit deeper. Cole has pitched better and won his last two games with Higashioka as the backstop. Another consideration is that both Higashioka and Kratz have better batting averages and OPS’s then the deminished Sanchez. Also, Cole has an ERA of just 0.90, with Higashioka catching him. I guess that “Higgy” will catch Cole throughout the postseason. Manager Boone had this to say:
“Especially if we’re fortunate enough to get through the best-of-three scenario, then you’re talking about a potential five games in a row [in the American League Division Series], followed by a potential seven games in a row [in the AL Championship Series] with no off days,” Boone said Monday. “So I think it even adds to that. Your backup catcher needs to play a role in that scenario.”
Gerrit Cole speakly very diplomaticaly had this to say:
“I think I can work with pretty much anybody,” said Cole, who has tallied a 3.91 ERA in eight starts throwing to Sanchez. “I think there are some things that have worked out in the last few starts that may lead the manager to lean one way or the other. But ultimately it’s not my call, and I’ll be ready whoever’s back there. I think both backstops that have caught me this year have done a great job, and whoever catches me going forward will continue to do great work.”
Domingo German will not pitch in the postseason
Last year Domingo Germán made the team’s rotation amid countless injuries and turned out to be the New York Yankees best 2019 pitcher, amazing a record of 18-4 in 24 starts with an ERA of 4.03. However, German was involved in a domestic violence incident and was suspended for 81 games, after an investigation. The result was he missed the last games of the year and could not pitch in the postseason.
If this season had been a normal New York Yankees 162 game season, German would have been back with the Yankees at the end of July. But the season was shortened to only 60 games due to the coronavirus, meaning that German would miss almost the whole season. After a bunch of on again, off again tweets, German made it clear he was going back to the Yankees. On Sunday at Yankee Stadium, German comes off suspension, and there has been much speculation as to if he would pitch in the postseason.
“No, no! Because, obviously, he hasn’t gotten to work out with us or throw with us,” Boone said. “So to be able to ramp him up and put him in this kind of situation, I don’t think it’s really fair to anyone. We look forward to Domingo being hopefully a really significant part of our team again heading into next year,” the manager concluded.