The New York Yankees will take on the Boston Red Sox away on Tuesday evening in the Wild Card. After scratching out a victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the final moments on Sunday afternoon, the Yankees secured their destiny, which will hopefully result in a more lengthy post-season experience.
Tied up 0-0 in the bottom of the ninth-inning, Aaron Judge hit an infield single off the pitcher’s mound, driving in Tyler Wade to finish off Tampa Bay after a deadlock. The pitching staff performed amazingly, allowing just five hits and no runs, striking out nine batters. The Yankees only had four hits on the evening, three of which came in the ninth to secure a victory.
However, the real work starts now, as the Yankees prepare to take on Boston at Fenway in a do or die game.
On the mound, the Bombers will feature Gerrit Cole, their star pitcher and ace. This season, Cole hosts a 3.23 ERA, recording a 12.06 strikeout rate per nine and 43.1% ground ball rate, the highest since his 2017 season with a Pittsburgh Pirates. However, his last few outings have been a bit tumultuous, giving up 15 runs over his last three performances.
The Yankees need the best version of Cole against Boston, who pitched on Sept. 24 against them at Fenway, giving up three earned runs over 6.0 innings. While it wasnâ€™t a bad outing, weâ€™ve seen better from the Yankees’ star pitcher, who is currently in the race for a Cy Young Award.
Ultimately, it will boil down to the bullpen, who will likely have to finish off the last four innings or so. Boston has a potent offense, sweeping the Washington Nationals this week but losing two against the Baltimore Orioles in the prior series.
One player the Yankees will undoubtedly be missing is DJ LeMahieu, who was placed on the injured list with a sports hernia, ending his season prematurely. In his absence, the Yankees featured Gleyber Torres as their lead-off hitter, recording a hit and walk in the victory over Tampa Bay.
To supplement the loss of DJ, the Yankees started Rougned Odor at 3B, eventually bringing in Andrew Velazquez at shortstop after Gio Urshela was forced to leave the game due to injury.
â€œI feel really good, just a little sore,â€ said Urshela, who admitted he initially thought he was seriously hurt. â€œWhen I opened my eyes, I saw my glove and the ball was inside. I just tried to show it to Angel.â€
Gio Urshela flew into the Rays dugout to make this catch ??pic.twitter.com/XfwK8uUZNC
— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) October 3, 2021