New York Yankee Stadium was full on Tuesday night. It was the Bronx’s first post-season game since Game 5 of ALCS 2019. It was Gerrett Cole’s first home start after the season ended as a Yankee. Two players hit their first post-season career. The New York Yankees won the first game in an ALDS game with the Cleveland Guardians (NYY 4, CLE 1).
Cole came down around an early problem to give the Yankees 6 1/3 innings of one-running ball while hitting an eight against the team with the lowest normal seasonal strike rate in baseball. Anthony Rizzo put the game on the ground with a run from his home to the second set in right field in the sixth inning. New York is now two wins away from advancing to the ALCS.
Here are the takeaways from the first game between the Yankees and the Guardians.
Cole navigates the early danger stage
The Guardians sure got Cole working in early roles. They got a man to second base in the first and second innings, but Cole survived hits, then a neat defense helped him navigate the loaded bases, and jam in the third round. Notably, Josh Donaldson moved to his left to smash into the ground, throwing the house to take out the force.
Then at home, Cole settled and retired 12 of the last 14 players he faced, and Cleveland didn’t have another runner’s lead until second base while on the hill. His only drawback was Stephen Kwan’s solo Homer – he was Kwan’s first post-season Homer and only his seventh Homer in 2022 – and in three starts this season, Cole held the Guardians for three runs in 19 rounds.
It should be noted that although he needed 39 throws to pass the first inning, Cole was able to take the ball in the seventh inning. This is important because the Yankees don’t have many major painkillers due to injury (Zach Britton, Scott Evros, Chad Green, Michael King, etc) and they will need to piece things together in the late innings this post-season. The more they get from the start, the better.
“It was very special to me. It was very special,” Cole said with a smile when asked about the applause he received after the first match. I admit to the crowd but I appreciate it.”
The fifth season is full of events
There was some funny action on the right field at the bottom of the fifth inning. Or not,. The ball hit the top of the wall and is back in play, however, Donaldson was flagged after rounding first base on his jog which was likely to be on his turf. Replays confirmed that the ball had indeed hit the top of the wall. It wasn’t a home run.
The next hitter, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, poked one along the line into the right field and missed Wild Card Series Champion Oscar Gonzalez to play the jump, allowing the ball to pass through his legs. Kiner-Falefa made it to third base with a foul and was pushed out by Jose Trevino with a sacrificial kick. Right field took Homer away from Donaldson and gave Keener Valiva three bases.
“That’s what he’s done all year. He made that mistake (in the first half), and he recovered really well,” Yankees coach Aaron Boone said of Keener Valiva after the first game. It has been prepared. Well, it was good that he got more chances and kind of got it back. “
Trevino, who made his first All-Star Game this summer, has been incredibly approachable during the regular season. He had a two-stroke in a row and hit 355 with two runners in the scoring center. The sack fly wasn’t a success, but it came in two strokes and gave the Yankees the lead in the postseason. Trevino has truly been a godsend for New York this year.
Rizzo gives Yankees insurance
The Yankees scored his first career postseason debut for Harrison Bader, and also his first home run as a Yankee. He came from the Cardinals on the trade deadline and was on the list with a foot injury. It wasn’t activated until mid-September, and went 10 for 46 (.217) in 14 games. Bader picked the perfect time for the first Yankees homer.
Badr tied the score 1-1 and gave Trevino a 2-1 lead for the Yankees. On the sixth, Rizzo made two lockouts with Homer on the second floor on the right field. With Andrew Benentende injured and Matt Carpenter currently relegated to a difficult task, Rizzo is the only reliable source of left power in the New York squad. Yankees need it to decorate their short porch.
Before Rizzo’s explosion, 62-year-old home man Aaron Judge reminded everyone he’s much more than a home run hitter. He worked a lead rally against Cal Quantrell, stole second, and then took third when the throw went into the middle of the field. Judge earned 16 bases for 19 this year’s theft bases plus 62 homers. He is a talented and outstanding player.
Once Rizzo gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead, manager Aaron Boone was able to move through the final three innings with Jonathan Loisiga right, Andy Peralta left, and Clay Holmes. The first match was Peralta’s first appearance since September 18. He missed the last few weeks of the regular season with a back injury. It was also Holmes’ first appearance since September 26. He missed the end of the regular season due to a shoulder problem. Clearly, the Yankees were comfortable with throwing him (and Peralta) into the fire.
Game 2, of course. Historically, teams that win the first game of a top-five series have won the series 71 percent of the time. The ALDS schedule is a little unusual this year, with a day off between Matches 1 and 2 And the Matches 2 and 3. Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night, although forecasts say the weather could be an issue. Whenever you play Game 2, it will be Nestor Cortes (12-4, 2.44 ERA) against Shane Pepper (13-8, 2.88 ERA).