We all knew this would be a historic day for MLB before it even started as a record 8 playoff games would be played and the day included an extra inning win for the Braves, a come from behind win for the Marlins as well as elimination days for the Twins and Jays but the Yankees sweep of the Indians may have provided us with the best game of the day complete with comebacks by both teams with the Yankees prevailing in a 10-9 win.
On this night two rain delays muddied the waters so to speak but the Yankees rebounded from deficits three times as the Indians proved to be a tough opponent with their backs against the wall. But during the game the Yankees got heroic performances from many players.
Gio Urshela cracked a grand slam to give the Yankees a lead early in the contest but more importantly made a tremendous defensive play helping his team keep the game at 9-8 Indians going into the top of the ninth inning. In that frame, it was solid at bat after solid at bat starting with a leadoff walk by Giancarlo Stanton followed by an Urshela hit which set it up for a game tying sac fly off the bat of Gary Sanchez followed by a game winning hit from DJ LeMahieu giving the Bronx Bombers a 10-9 lead,
This was a game that provided an instant classic for Yankee fans in this strange truncated season and sets the stage for meeting with the Rays in the ALDS which starts Monday in San Diego. . This could be a real interesting series as the Rays have dominated the Yankees this year plus there is obviously bad blood between these 2 teams after a game earlier this year in which the Rays claimed Aroldis Chapman tried to throw ay Tampa hitters creating some heat between these 2 teams.
This series will also pit great starting pitcher matchups as Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow compare very favorably to Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka. The Yankee bullpen has the names but the Rays pen might have better parts in their pen despite the fact they get very little media attention. They have had 10 different pitchers save games for them which illustrates the depth of their bullpen.
Offensively, the Yankees have more power but the RBI bats of the Rays are a challenge to any pitching staff and I must say the Yankee bullpen was not exactly lights out during the season or in their 2 game sweep vs the Indians,
It will be a great matchup in the ALDS as the Yankees despite the fact the Rays dominated them all year and own the best record in the league–all that could be nullified with winning this series. And for the Rays they could finally send the Yankees to the woodshed knowing they reside in Tampa during spring training and hate the fact that Yankee fans migrate to Tampa to root against the Rays.
In many ways, this series could kick off an AL East rivalry that some day may be bigger than the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry a decade from now. And these teams will tangle because the Rays manhandled the Jays while the Yanks swept a tough Indians team with a historic and dramatic win.
Welcome to 2020 MLB playoff baseball–it has been quite a ride already but the post-season roller coaster is just warming up. Enjoy baseball fans.