I’m not sure anybody could have predicted what happened last night at Yankee Stadium. The story lines are too many to count, but I’ll do my best to recap the headlines quickly. Luis Severino showing up eight minutes before the game and starting the game with essentially no warm up and consequently getting rocked and run from the game with just three innings pitched. Brock Holt hitting the first cycle EVER in MLB history in the playoffs for the Red Sox. Oh, and yeah, the worst home playoff loss in New York Yankee history.
When you look back on the box score, it is still staggering here the morning after. 16-1. Before first pitch yesterday all the talk was all about how the Yankees had stolen home-field advantage away from the Red Sox and with their ace in Luis Severino on the mound, were poised to put this series away. Now, all we can talk about is 16-1, and how could this possibly have happened.
The Yankees will do their best to move on from last night’s disaster today as they try and tie the series back up and send it back to Boston for a deciding game five. Boston will look to put an end to the series right here and now and would love nothing more than to clinch the series on the Yankees home field.
Starting today for the Yankees is veteran CC Sabathia (9-7 3.65 ERA), and for the Red Sox, it is Rick Porcello (17-7 4.28). The Yankees are -121 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM PST from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
With the Yankees reeling, they will turn to the one guy that has always seemed to be there when they need him, CC Sabathia. Sabathia had another solid season for the Yankees this year as he came in right at his career ERA of 3.70 with a 3.65 ERA in 29 starts. He won just nine games this season but did a good job of eating up innings and giving his team a chance to win games. The days of CC being a dominant force in the rotation are long over, but his ability to rally the troops and inspire his team is as strong as ever. And after a beating like last night’s, that is what really matters.
CC had a rough end to the season as he lost four straight starts in September before winning his last two starts to close out the season. There was a lot of media speculation as to whether or not CC should even be pitching in this series, but here he is, on the mound in the biggest game of the year for New York. Sabathia has been significantly better this season at home, his home ERA is a full run lower than his road number, so I can see why they are giving the seventeen-year vet the nod. But just know, they are going to keep a very close eye on him in this one, and if he starts to struggle, they won’t hesitate to pull him out.
Rick Porcello very quietly had a strong season for the Boston Red Sox this year. His seventeen wins were top ten in the American League, and he struck out 190 batters. Porcello wasn’t able to regain his Cy Young Award level of performance from a couple years back, but one thing he has done is win a bunch of games for the Red Sox. Boston won five out of his last six starts of the season and on the year, they won twenty-two times with Porcello on the mound.
Porcello has had some great results against the Yankees this year, including one start where he threw a complete game one-hitter on August 3rd. And another seven innings of shutout work against New York in April where he allowed just two hits. So, we know that Porcello is comfortable facing this powerful Yankees lineup.
I could go over a million different stats of starting pitchers and players in this series, but none of that matters tonight. Tonight, it is all about heart for the New York Yankees. Will they take the beating they took yesterday and let it fire them up? Or will they let is defeat them? You can only react one of two ways to the type of slaughter they took yesterday.
And I think they let it defeat them tonight and come out flat and discouraged. Mental mistakes are what caused what happened yesterday. A mentally strong team is never going to get beaten by fifteen runs at home in the playoffs. A mentally strong team isn’t going to let their starting pitcher forget what time the game starts. A mentally strong team doesn’t quit like they did last night.
This Yankees team has all the talent in the world. You can’t even argue the other side of that statement. But the one place they needed to be strong last night was their heads and their hearts, and they came up laughably short. I think today’s game will be a replay of last nights. No, I don’t think the score will get out of hand like last night’s game, but I do think it will be effort plays and mental mistakes that will cause the Yankees to lose at home and end their season.
I don’t have an overly strong opinion on just how this game will play out, but I do feel that in the end, the Boston Red Sox will pick up the win and advance to the American League Championship Series. Give me the Boston Red Sox as road underdogs tonight in game four from Yankee Stadium in New York City at +111!