Yankees watching Guardians-Rays wild card matchup: ‘Now it begins for real’

3 months ago 21

It’s been a fewer years since the Yankees made a tally successful the playoffs, having been knocked retired successful the wild-card crippled successful Boston past twelvemonth aft they hardly made the postseason and limped into the crippled against the Red Sox, with Gerrit Cole pitching with a hamstring injury.

This time, they participate arsenic the No. 2 seed successful the American League, having withstood a atrocious agelong that saw their pb successful the AL East driblet from 15 ¹/₂ games to 3 ¹/₂.

And they’ll look either a blistery Guardians squad that ended up moving distant with the AL Central oregon a Rays squad that has typically fixed the Yankees trouble.

“Tampa [Bay] we cognize truly well, and they cognize america well,” Aaron Boone said aft Wednesday’s regular-season finale astatine Texas. “Cleveland has been 1 of the truly bully stories, with their young roster coming of age. They dominated the Central down the stretch. They transportation well, person an elite closer, bully starting pitching, they’re adept astatine putting the shot successful play and athletic. Hope those teams bushed up each different a small bit.”

That starts Friday erstwhile the Rays sojourn Cleveland for the commencement of the best-of-three wild-card series.

New York Yankees manager   Aaron Boone looks connected  Aaron Boone and the Yankees await their ALDS opponent.Corey Sipkin

“Now it begins for real,’’ Boone said.

The Yankees dominated the Guardians this season, winning 5 of six meetings — including each 3 games successful The Bronx successful April. The teams met again successful Cleveland successful July.

And there’s the earthy inclination to play immoderate squad from the AL Central successful the playoffs, arsenic the Yankees are among the teams that person fared good against that part victor — whether it’s from Cleveland or, especially, Minnesota.

But the Guardians person been among the champion teams successful the athletics implicit the 2nd fractional (46-26) and went 24-10 to adjacent retired the season.

With the youngest roster successful the majors, the Guardians mightiness not beryllium affected by the past of nonaccomplishment successful the postseason.

Triston McKenzie was fantastic successful Cleveland’s lone triumph implicit the Yankees, who person mostly handled erstwhile Cy Young grant victor Shane Bieber well.

Steven Kwan #38 of the Cleveland Guardians hits an RBI azygous  Steve Kwan and the Guardians person been 1 of baseball’s hottest second-half teams.Getty Images

And the Guardians’ lineup, led by Jose Ramirez, has immoderate newcomers successful Steven Kwan and Josh Naylor. They’ve besides gotten contributions from ex-Mets Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario.

Cleveland besides features thing astir teams don’t these days: a ascendant person successful Emmanuel Clase, who finished the play with a microscopic WHIP of .729. He’s 1 of 3 members of the Cleveland bullpen to person a WHIP nether 1.000.

Despite their strengths, it’s hard to envision a script successful which the Guardians bushed the Yankees successful a best-of-five bid — though not impossible.

Yandy Diaz #2 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks onYandy Diaz and the Rays are each excessively acquainted foes for the Yankees.Getty Images

Given the Rays’ past against the Yankees, a Yankees nonaccomplishment to Tampa Bay is surely plausible.

The Yankees went 11-8 versus Tampa Bay this season.

Wander Franco is backmost from a hamate bony fracture successful his close wrist that kept him retired for 2 months. He’s deed good since his return, but has homered conscionable erstwhile since the injury.

Tampa Bay’s different violative threats are known good to the Yankees, from Randy Arozarena to Yandy Diaz.

And Tyler Glasnow coming backmost from Tommy John surgery lone makes the Rays’ pitching unit stronger, arsenic he’ll beryllium teamed with Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen.