Yankees’ set to start Clint Frazier over Brett Gardner in game 1, but why?

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Clint Frazier
Sep 1, 2020; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Clint Frazier (77) catches the ball during the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees will face off against the Tampa Bay Rays in game one of the ALDS on Monday evening. The matchup will feature Gerrit Cole and Blake Snell, the team’s top starting pitchers. This should be one for the ages, as both teams have displayed hostility during the regular season, notably from a 100 mph fastball that closer Aroldis Chapman through at the head of Michael Brosseau. This sparked significant animosity between the two teams, and it has spilled over into media pressers and public forums.

The New York Yankees are still deciding on several big factors:

However, the Yankees are still making final decisions on their lineup and how they will operate against a strong Tampa team. One big decision lies in left field, as they decide between Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner.

Gardner, who started off his postseason with stellar performances against the Cleveland Indians, would theoretically be getting the start on any given day. He is currently hitting .375 with one homer and three RBIs. He also has two walks over 10 plate appearances. He was a significant reason for the Yankees’ domination of the Indians, but it is seeming that management will go with Frazier in game one against the Rays.

As George A. King of the New York Post suggests, starting Frazier in left field makes sense only because Blake Snell is pitching. Matching him up against a lefty pitcher gives the Bombers an advantage, as Gardner has struggled against similar arms. Against lefties this year, Frazier hit .250 and Gardner .211.
King also mentioned that Gardner has hit .286 in his career against Snell, while Frazier is 1-for-8 and .125.

Modern-day baseball is a game of numbers, and manager Aaron Boone has remained steady in that mindset. Looking at their past performances, it actually seems as if Frazier has less success than Gardner against Blake, but simply batting against lefties the advantage is clear. The sample size against Snell is too small for both players to make any sure-fire justifications.

Who do you think the Yankee should start in left field in game one? Comment below!