New York Yankees walk off to Fenway and the Wild Card, what you need to know

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
Sep 29, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) delivers against the Cleveland Indians in the fourth inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees entered yesterday’s last game of the season at Yankee Stadium with the hope of salvaging a game from the Tampa Bay Rays and holding onto a berth in the wild card one game winner takes all game. They did that and in a dramatic walk-off fashion. It was an extraordinary game that, in a way, was a microcosm of the entire season played out in a few hours.

It’s no secret that the Yankees have had a roller-coaster season. They have had periods of great pitching and periods of dismal pitching. They have had prolonged droughts of no hitting at all for what was supposed to be one of the most potent lineups in baseball. Yesterday was no different; the Yankee pitching was superb, but the guys from the Bronx just couldn’t hit the ball. It was so extreme that the Yankees had only two hits in the game in a scoreless contest until the bottom of the ninth inning.

At the bottom of the ninth, Odor led off and singled up the middle. He was pinch-run by Tyler Wade. Gleyber Torres flew out to right with Wade going to second. Anthony Rizzo singled with Wade going to third and Rizzo going to second on the throw. With Aaron Judge coming up, the Rays went to Kittredge. Judge hit a ground ball to second, but the speedy Tyler Wade flashed to home with a sliding Yankees one-run walk-off win. Judge and Wade showed their worth as they have all season long, but this time it was significant as the Yankees secured a wild card berth.

On Tuesday, the Yankees will play their long-time rival Red Sox at Fenway Park. They are playing the wild card game at Fenway because they have identical 92-70 records, eight games behind the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays. When there is a tie, the team with the best record off the opposing team during the season gets the home-field advantage. The Yankees have put their rocky season behind them and are just happy to have one more chance to get to the divisional series.

Tuesday, October 5, 8:08 pm EDT – The Wild Card Game!

The Boston Red Sox will send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound to hold down the Yankees. Eovaldi is a former Yankee pitcher (2015-16, 23-11). After the 2016 season, Eovaldi would have Tommy John surgery and would not pitch during the 2017 season, after which he would become a free agent. On November 23, 2016, the Yankees released him.  He signed a two-year contract with the Rays although he didn’t pitch in 2017, he did have ten starts in 2018 with an ERA of 4.26. But on July 25th, he was traded to the Red Sox.

With the Red, Sox Eovaldi has been 20-15 with an ERA of 4.11. This season he is 11-9 with an ERA of 3.75. The Yankees and Eovaldi have met in the postseason once before. In 2018 in game three of the divisional series, he pitched seven innings in the 16-1 Yankee loss, the Yankees’ most lopsided loss in their postseason history. The New York Yankees are hoping for a better result when they meet up Tuesday night.

Eovaldi is coming off a September 29th win over the Baltimore Orioles when he gave up only four hits in a scoreless effort, striking out 7. Still, on the 24th, he lasted only 2.2 innings against the Yankees giving up seven earned runs in the Yankee win. Over the 2021 season, Eovaldi has a 2-4 record against the Yankees.

Eovaldi will face the New York Yankees ace, Gerrit Cole. Cole is the Yankees winningest pitcher with a 16-8 record, an ERA of 3.23, and an incredible 243 strikeouts. Cole came to the Yankees when, in December of 2019, GM Brian Cashman, Aaron Boone, and pitching great Andy Pettitte traveled to Califonia and lured him to the Yankees with a box of wine and $324 million. This after pitching 35-10 for the Houston Astros.

So far, with the Yankees, he is 23-11 with a 3.11 ERA in two seasons. Cole has pitched to the Red Sox four times this season, with the Yankees losing two of those games. Cole is coming off a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays when he gave up five runs in six innings of work.

On paper, the New York Yankees have an excellent chance of winning this game, but there is a concern. Although Cole has won a lot of games, his winning percentage was best earlier in the season. It got to the point that when Cole took the mound, the Yankees were nearly assured of a win. Unfortunately, that is no longer true. Cole had struggled at times during September when he lost as many games as he has won. His innings pitched is down, as is his strikeout rate. In addition, he seemed to have tired as the season progressed.

The Yankees hope he will be at his best tomorrow and go deep into the game. If he doesn’t, the Yankee bullpen is rested and ready. The Yankees have more options in the bullpen than the Red Sox. In a winner-take-all game, the Yankees will pull out all the stops to get into the divisional series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

For those that want to attend the game at Fenway, you had better act quickly, all the good seats are gone, and the standing room only starts at $210. It might be better to watch the 8:08 pm game on television. It will be nationally televised on ESPN. Every Yankee fan will be glued to their TVs in another nail-biter that Yankee fans have come to expect.

 

 

 

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