The New York Yankees didn’t make a lot of the bold decisions some fans were hoping for ahead of the ALDS, but they made some! Aroldis Chapman is gone and Aaron Judge is batting leadoff for Game 1 on Tuesday night.
For the Yankees’ first home playoff game in the Bronx since 2019, manager Aaron Boone didn’t disappoint (unless you want to really nitpick). Gerrit Cole is on the mound for the series opener against the Cleveland Guardians. Judge is the first batter Cal Quantrill will face.
The rest? Almost as tailor-made as you’d expect. The only swap was Boone putting Harrison Bader in the nine-hole, which, while some might not be thrilled with because of the outfielder’s penchant for getting hits with runners in scoring position, isn’t a bad idea if there’s a desire to get Judge more at-bats with runners on base in general.
Can’t say that Isiah Kiner-Falefa batting ninth would’ve done that. Same goes for Jose Trevino, who, despite being a fan-favorite, has cooled off since his All-Star first half.
Check out the lineup that may be a fixture for the remainder of the postseason should the offense see immediate results:
The Yankees have released their ALDS Game 1 lineup against the Cleveland Guardians
Sorry, folks. No DJ LeMahieu this series, who is reportedly still nursing a foot fracture that’s hindering his ability to drive the ball. No Oswald Peraza, who was left off the roster as well even though he proved he should at least have a bench spot over non-contributors such as Aaron Hicks, Marwin Gonzalez and Tim Locastro.
But we have to focus on what we’ve got, and Judge batting leadoff is what many fans have been asking for. A red-hot Gleyber Torres, despite missing the last few games of the regular season, is right in that three-hole. Oswaldo Cabrera and his ever-improving bat is hitting fifth and starting in left field.
The offense will have its work cut out for them against one of the best pitching staffs in the league, but they’ll be at an advantage with the Guardians having to throw their No. 3 starter for the first game of the series. Should the Yankees get off to a proper start on Tuesday night, more pressure will be on ace Shane Bieber to get the Guardians back in it on the road in Game 2.
In the end, if the Yankees’ offense can deliver, there won’t be much worry about the bullpen or the pitching in general, which actually hasn’t been the problem in the playoffs for the Bombers in recent years.
Hopefully Judge and Bader bookending the lineup is the key Boone’s looking for.