Astros: What the Yankees’ elimination means for postseason
The Houston Astros are undoubtedly focused on what will prove to be a tough series against the AL Central Champion Chicago White Sox.
Yet, how could Astros’ fans not be excited by postseason baseball though?
Further, as a fan, you can’t help but to speculate that the winner of the American League Wild Card Game between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees might be an opponent of the Astros down the line.
The AL Wild Card game wasn’t short of excitement to kick off the 2021 MLB Postseason. Ultimately, the Red Sox eliminated the Yankees on Tuesday night, with final score of 6-2. That makes the Yankees the first team eliminated this postseason.
The Red Sox offense was lead by Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber, who hit a two-run and a solo home run off Gerrit Cole. The Yankees high-powered offense could only muster two runs, both on solo home runs by Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton. Boston managed to tack on some insurance runs off the Yankees’ bullpen in the later innings.
After the Astros’ 2019 World Series loss to the Washington Nationals, Gerrit Cole opted to test free agency and subsequently signing a nine-year contract worth $324 million with the New York Yankees.
After some up and down performances and stirring up a little controversy with his response to the MLB cracking down on the use of foreign substances, he generally had a really solid regular season. However, the Yankees signed Cole for this exact game scenario.
Cole was far from that pitcher, and no where near effective. In an outing that tied for the shortest of Cole’s career, he surrendered two homer runs and three runs. In the third inning, Cole was pulled after failing to retire the three batters he faced.
On the other hand, Red Sox starting pitcher, Nathan Eovaldi, dominated the Yankees. It was just a couple weeks ago that the Yankees jumped all over Eovaldi, scoring seven runs on seven hits through 2.2 innings pitched. He obviously put that recent loss behind him.
Through 5.1 innings pitched, Eovaldi only gave four hits, one of which was a solo home run. Alex Cora pulled the right strings tonight, not letting the Yankees face Eovaldi for a third time through the order.
With Boston leading 3-1 in the top of the sixth inning, the Yankees had the opportunity to close the gap. Aaron Judge reached base on infield single that finished Eovaldi, and reliever Ryan Brasier allowed single off the Green Monster to Giancarlo Stanton. Waved home by third base coach Phil Nevin, Judge was easily thrown out at the plate on a Xander Bogaerts relay throw.
As now-retired NBA center, Rasheed Wallace, once said, “Ball don’t lie!” I think this is a broad statement that fits into all sports. Gerrit Cole’s dismal performance, Aaron Judge getting gunned down at the plate, and the Yankees offense striking out eleven times are all indicators from the baseball gods that the Yankees simply did not deserve to go any further than the 2021 American League Wild Card Game.
So, the Yankees are on the plane back to the Bronx. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will advance and head down to Tampa to face the Rays. The Red Sox are certainly the underdog to their 100 game-winning division foe. While the Rays don’t have a ton of postseason experience, they do have a seemingly bottomless well of talent.
On Tuesday, manager Kevin Cash confirmed that rookie, left-handed flamethrower, Shane McClanahan, will start Game 1, and Shane Baz, who made his MLB debut this year, will start Game 2. The Red Sox will probably need a little time to determine who they will send to the mound for Game 1.
As an Astros fan, I will certainly keep this American League Divisional Series between the Rays and Red Sox in the corner of my eye. Besides just being entertaining postseason baseball, this series could determine the Astros next foe, provided they take care of business in their own American League Divisional Series against the Chicago White Sox, of course.