Yankees playoffs: The baby bombers are serving notice in the ALDS
Not Enough A-Bombs
Aaron has already hit as many postseason home runs (1) as A-Rod did in 13 postseason games from 2005-2007. And it’s one more than he hit in 21 games from 2010-2012. Postseason home runs drive a team’s success; hitting one in your first playoff game is both producing and promising.
Aaron also already proved he did not need veteran leadership to learn a crucial October lesson: Never let your struggles in one aspect of the game affect the others. Judge has added zero extra-base hits in the ALDS.
But he has continued to take his walks. That isn’t nearly as good as hitting deep drives down the lines, but it shows Judge is playing under control. And applying pressure to the other team. His walk in the sixth inning in Game 3 started a series of dominoes that, once fallen, resulted in the Yankees’ season-saving story.
Because Judge took his walk instead of flailing and failing, he wound up on third base. In a scoreless game. That put a lot of pressure on Indians SP Carlos Carrasco, and the rest of the Indians as well. It also extended the batting order, eventually bringing Starlin Castro to the plate.
That was all manager Terry Francona could handle. He switched pitchers probably earlier than he wanted and that led to disaster for the Indians in the seventh. Had Carrasco finished the inning, and Miller allowed to come in fresh to start the seventh, things might have gone differently.
An Argument to be Had
Some would argue that I make too much out of a walk in the sixth that led to no runs. But every play is tied to the next in a baseball game, and those bonds get much tighter in the playoffs. Another lesson the baby bombers seem already to know: There are no small plays in the postseason.
And Judge has not let his offensive struggles affect his defense, either. It was because he kept his composure that he was able to put himself in position to make the key defensive play to save the Yankees season. And Masahiro Tanaka.