The New York Yankees took a page of the Tampa Bay Rays’ book in Game 2 of their matchup in the American League Division Series. The Bombers ended up losing the series 3-2, and one of the defeats was in that fateful second contest.
In that game, after announcing Deivi Garcia as the starter, the young righty ended up pitching only one frame, only to give up his place to the “bulk” reliever J.A. Happ. The Yankees’ lefty allowed four runs in 2.2 innings, with five hits and three walks. He struck out just two, and struggled with traffic on the bases throughout his outing.
At the press conference after the game, Happ refered all questions about the strategy to the New York Yankees’ manager, Aaron Boone. He said that while the plan was for Garcia to have a short outing, he pulled him out after the first frame because he didn’t like how he fared against Tampa’s batters.
It was clear that Happ didn’t agree with the strategy and he let everybody know that he prefered to take the ball from the start of the game, as is the traditional way.
The Yankees’ reasoning
Bryan Hoch, who covers the Yankees for MLB.com, recently decided to ask Boone once again about the approach used in Game 2. That contest ended in a close 7-5 defeat and, if not for Happ’s struggles, who knows if the Bombers could have had more of a shot.
“Asked Aaron Boone for more details on the Garcia/Happ decision. He said the organization talked about it after the Cleveland win. The idea was to give Happ a platoon advantage against a lefty heavy lineup. Boone pointed to Happ’s .577 OPS vs. lefties,” Hoch wrote in his Twitter account.
The idea itself was not bad. Indeed, if Tampa sees that the Yankees will send a righty to the hill, the logical thing is to put several lefties in the lineup. That would turn into a platoon advantage once the Bombers turn to their lefty “bulk” guy early in the game.
However, Happ’s execution (and attitude) just wasn’t there.