Isiah Kiner-Falefa was in the New York Yankees’ ALCS Game 1 lineup because righty hitters are “better” against Justin Verlander. Or at least that’s what manager Aaron Boone told us. Josh Donaldson continued to bat fifth. The Yankees lost 4-2 and struck out 17 times.
Verlander is a Hall of Famer. How much worse could just a generally better hitter be against him?
After Wednesday night’s disaster, it was clear big changes needed to be made. The Yankees don’t have time on their side. If they want to put pressure on the Astros and make this a competitive series, they need to take a game in Houston.
Boone answered the call. He moved a number of pieces around and introduced a new one into the lineup as the team prepares to face left-hander Framber Valdez on Thursday.
Here you have it. Harrison Bader is leading off. Gleyber Torres was bumped to fifth. Donaldson is sixth (though we wish he’d be further down). Oswald Peraza is starting at shortstop. Oswaldo Cabrera is back and batting ninth to help bridge the gap to the top of the order.
Finally. It only took an entire playoff series for the fans to see what they knew would be the difference-making lineup.
Yankees drop stacked ALCS Game 2 lineup vs Astros and make big changes
Let’s shove that troll from Astros fans right back down their throat. Clowns. They needed multiple terrible decisions from Boone to secure Game 1. Congrats. You got one. Won’t be as easy next time around.
As for the Yanks, Game 2 isn’t a must-win, but losing and putting yourself in a position to win four of the next five games is a tall task against the AL’s best team. If they can find a rhythm against Valdez and head back to the Bronx with the series tied 1-1 and Gerrit Cole/Nestor Cortes on the mound for Games 3 and 4, they’ll be in a much better position to make a World Series berth a realistic achievement.
Jeff Francouer, who is on the broadcast team for this series, called it a couple of hours ago. He wanted to see Bader in the leadoff spot and Peraza get a chance. Bader’s been running into homers all postseason long and Peraza might actually be the team’s best defensive option at short (and maybe the best bat based on what we saw down the stretch of the regular season).
If it doesn’t work, we’ll at least know the Yankees and Boone tried to be bold here. That’s all we ask in a series against a team that’s had our number for years.