In their first appearance of the 2022 postseason, the Yankees came out and showed the world why they belong. For the Division Series, they are facing off against the Wild Card winning team, the Cleveland Guardians. While these two teams only faced off a total of six times throughout the regular season, the Yankees took five of those games.
Run differentials were a huge factor in those match-ups as the Yankees outscored the Guardians by 25 runs in the span of those six games. The offense was consistently alive against Guardians’ pitching and the Yankee pitching staff did a phenomenal job keeping opposing runs out of the score column.
Why does this matter? Well, it is imperative for teams to work off of the momentum that they gained in the regular season. This type of performance in April and July can have far-reaching effects on how the team prepares for the playoff games.
As mentioned in articles prior to this one, the entire Yankee roster feeds off of momentum, and in this series, it is no different.
The Start of Something Special
One might have guessed that these two teams would be facing off in the division series this season. With the Guardians running away with their respective division, and the Yankees doing the same, it was inevitable that they would meet in the playoffs. Although the Guardians didn’t win an outright spot in the division series, they performed well in the Wild Card series against the Tampa Bay Rays to secure their ticket to the playoffs.
While the Yankees had not played a game in the better part of a week, they continued to ride the momentum they had when playing the Guardians. The team arrived at the ballpark and immediately seemed to have one goal, to win.
With the removal of Aroldis Chapman off the playoff roster due to essentially “not caring”, it quickly became clear that the Yankees mean business.
The first game of the series was a perfect statement that they are here to win. The Yankees’ offense came alive throughout the game striking for four runs, all while Gerrit Cole continued to show why he is widely considered to be one of the game’s most dominant pitchers.
Cole pitched to a line of 6.2 inning and only allowed one run. He also added eight strikeouts for good measure. It was made quite clear that he has the ability to dominate any team, anytime. He spotted his fastball well for the majority of the game and his breaking ball remained sharp throughout.
With such a dominant performance, he lowered his postseason ERA (earned run average) to a measly 2.83 after his performance on Tuesday night.
He can have overwhelming stuff.
As always, it is impossible to win a game with no runs, and that is where the offense has to do their part. The good news is that they most defiantly upheld their end as they collectively scored four runs throughout the game’s entirety.
Anthony Rizzo headlined the offense with a deep drive over the right field fence in the 6th inning, which would eventually put the game out of reach. The Yankees would eventually win the game 4-1 after closer, Clay Homes came in to seal the deal in the 9th inning.
Looking Ahead to the Rest of the Series
With their 4-1 victory in the first game, the Yankees are looking to continue their run toward the Championship Series. Consequently, for Game 2, Nestor Cortes will toe the rubber and attempt to shut down the Guardians’ offense for the second night in a row. Many are looking to see if Aaron Judge will continue his dominance at the plate that he exhibited in the regular season.
One thing is for sure, the victory in Game 1 was a great start for the Yankees. Team chemistry is key to having a successful team, and winning the first game in the series is most certainly a boost for the guys in the clubhouse.
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Featured image courtesy of Victor J Blue / New York Times
Video clips courtesy of MLB.com
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