Yankees star Aaron Judge knows 2020 is all about the playoffs.
It was easy for Yankees fans to feel lethargic during the 2020 season, even though it lasted just 60 energy-depleting games.
A 16-6 start was followed by a 5-15 stretch during which the ceiling caved in, weighed down the floor with debris, and caused the floor to collapse, too. And what came next? A ceremonial and official righting of the ship? Nope. 10-game winning streak followed by 2-6, naturally.
It’s easy to ignore the ups and downs of a 162-game slate, but it’s far tougher to put the regular season in your rear view when you only have two months of data.
Well, unless you’re Aaron Judge and the actual Yankees, that is.
New York turned the corner spectacularly in their Wild Card Series against the Cleveland Indians, bludgeoning ace-like pitchers from Shane Bieber to Carlos Carrasco to James Karinchak, and playing like a fully-formed unit for the first time all year.
In case you thought that was a lucky transformation or a happy accident, Judge laid bare on Sunday night that that was the team’s mindset all along.
It’s like…we knew it, but now we know it know it…you know?
It just seemed to simplistic to be real. After so many mailed-in important games that counted for seeding, and a precipitous fall to .500 that nearly knocked the vaunted Yankees out of the postseason altogether, they really planned to not only win when they got to October, but show fight?
Sure, a fully healthy offense could outperform the patchwork unit we watched in late August, but you can’t teach the will to battle back, something they hadn’t displayed much of in the 60-game slate.
But they did all that and more against a Cleveland starting staff and ‘pen that’s very much upper echelon. So apparently Judge and the boys knew what they were doing all along.
We’re due for another great test this week that’ll prove once and for all just how meaningless the regular season was.
You want to keep advancing, Yankees? Just beat the team you went 2-8 against in the regular season three times. Then we’ll know how legitimate this endeavor is.