MLB could use marquee Yankees team to move to ALCS
CLEVELAND – The Yankees are heading home after surviving a scare here and will have a full house at Yankee Stadium behind them for the decisive Game 5 against the serious Guardians on Monday night. Presumably, some of Major League Baseball’s good folks will be quietly putting down roots as well.
With the Dodgers and Braves out of the playoff picture, the Yankees’ chances of running the table improved without them even lifting a bat. For the same reason – the surprise extinction of powerhouses LA and defending champion Atlanta – some people in MLB probably wouldn’t mind seeing the Yankees go on, for at least another round, and better yet, two more. .
If they can beat Cleveland Monday night, the Yankees have a date with the hated Houston. Of the teams that despise the Astros, the Yankees are probably first on this list, which makes for a great storyline. An Astros-Guardians series wouldn’t bring nearly the same buzz.
Upstart Guardians is a great story, sure, especially for hardcore fans. But to attract the casual fan, the historical franchise is a virtual necessity. People either love the Yankees or love to hate them. Indifference is not an option.
A positive sign: The Yankees’ confidence never seemed to waver, even after Saturday night’s loss pushed them to the brink of elimination.
“If there’s a game going on, we feel like we’re in the driver’s seat,” said Harrison Bader, the Bronxville bomber who is a sudden star. “The level of expectation is high. I wouldn’t want it any other way. »
The mood has clearly improved in 24 hours. The Yankees barely made it out of here alive but should be feeling better after their 4-2 win Sunday night, thanks to Gerrit Cole’s $324 million golden arm and Bader’s surprising power bat, whose trade here looks better day by day. . It was also nice to see Clay Holmes, closer to the stars, looking healthy at night after he surprisingly rested to protect his health (and watched the Guardians execute an emotional comeback victory) , and throwing a scoreless inning in relief from Cole, who has thrown 110 throws over seven innings and continues to show he is a money thrower.
Bader builds a legend, thanks to his series of three circuits. So those who hated and ridiculed his St. Louis trade for middle starter Jordan Montgomery can address their apology letters to Brian Cashman, Yankee Stadium, 161st and River.
The Yankees achieved their goal of bringing this series back to the Bronx. While they will rely on No. 4 starter Jameson Taillon, and undoubtedly the ultimate example of manager Aaron Boone’s mix and match bullpen plan, which went a bit off the rails in Game 3 as Boone protected Holmes and his shoulder.
The Yankee Stadium crowd will be ready to give their $260 million team a boost, which has its hands full with the $60 million Guardians, who deserve a pat on the back for going this far. It’s a great Midwestern story with their fun and exceptional manager, a terrific pitch and the anonymous band that never gives up.
It’s not always said out loud. But as far as the country is concerned, enough is already enough. The Guardians, while earning our admiration for getting this far after trading a trio of stars (including Mr. Smiles himself, Francisco Lindor), can remain mostly anonymous for another year.
The nation wants to see the Yankees back in the World Series, where they belong but haven’t been since 2009, when CC Sabathia was their ace, all-time winner Derek Jeter was looking for a fifth ring and Alex Rodriguez didn’t. was a one-time drug loser. The Yankees won a lot of games during the 12-year interim, but not the good ones. Deciding the games will determine their fate.
“That’s what it’s all about,” said Giancarlo Stanton. “That’s why we have to show up.”
With the field slightly less imposing after the upsets, here is their best chance to grab that elusive 28th ring. The first step comes Monday night, when they face Aaron Civale and a roster of relievers, which is the Guardians’ strength. It’s no gimme, and certainly no time to look past the Guardians who have won 28 of 32 entries in this series and continue to shine.
The Yankees also have a chance to cut short that silly talk about how unfair the five-game series is, which was inspired by the upsets of the Braves and Dodgers. Like there’s no upset in a seven-game series.
The Yankees can also show that the layoff was no obstacle. It’s true that LA and especially Atlanta didn’t look alike after their five-game hiatus. So maybe there is something to that.
But it’s mostly for them. The Yankees had their toughest 99-win season. After looking like they could set a winning record, they wilted in dog days, suffering key injuries and underperformance before superstar Aaron Judge lifted everyone’s spirits by breaking the home run record of the American League.
The judge provided great historical memorabilia for the season – at least 62 of them. But for baseball’s sake and theirs, Judge & Co. better keep going.