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PSA Plays MLB The Show: Takeaways from week two

The Yankees hit the first snag in our sim season

After kicking off the site’s official MLB The Show sim of the 2020 Yankees season last week, we have four more games to update you all on today. Ryan C. has already covered the more striking statistical and narrative threads in our young “season”, but it’s all about wins, and the Yankees struggled with that part in series against the Rays and Blue Jays.

March 30 - Yankees 12, Rays 1

Three Yankees had three-hit games, while DJ LeMahieu knocked in four as the Bombers’ prodigious offense flexed their muscles at Tropicana Field. Perhaps more impressive than the offensive explosion was the performance of starter Masahiro Tanaka. In the first start of his contract season, Tanaka allowed just four hits and two walks while striking out eight in a complete game, one-run showing.

A perennial strength of the Yankees as a club is their bullpen, but if the starters at the nominal lower end of the rotation can turn in work like that, it makes a dangerous bullpen even more potent.

March 31 - Rays 3, Yankees 2

The Yankees drop the second game of their series with Tampa in what probably would have been a sleepy game to sit through in real life. Jordan Montgomery throws six innings, allows two runs with a 5:0 K:BB ratio, and in a seemingly direct rebuke of my above endorsement of the bullpen, Zack Britton takes the loss after running into trouble with free passes.

Despite only managing two runs as a team, Miguel Andujar chipped in with three hits—one of them a double. He’s been the team’s best hitter in the early goings of the year, so far validating the faith a lot of fans had in his “true” sophomore season.

April 1 - Rays 3, Yankees 2

No, the duplicated score isn’t an April Fools’ joke. The Yankees lose the rubber match in a game that perfectly summarizes how I feel about the Rays as a whole: interesting on paper, but boy, I just can’t get interested in practice.

On paper, this game strikes you as a pitchers’ duel, with Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton squaring off. Cole was a mix of dominant and touchable—ten strikeouts against just one walk is great, but eight hits and three earned runs in six innings isn’t what we expect from the best pitcher in the game. Morton suppressed hits a little better, but a 5:3 K:BB ratio in six innings doesn’t scream dominance either.

April 2 - Blue Jays 5, Yankees 3

The team’s home opener is spoiled by northern visitors, as the Yankees come up short for the third straight day. The Jays truly baffle me in the season’s first week, batting Rowdy Tellez leadoff and Bo Bichette fifth, while Tanner Roark stymies the Bombers with seven strong innings.

As we’ve seen before, the Yankees’ starters punishes opposing hitters, as Luis Severino sits down ten Jays in just five innings of work. He also gives up a pair of long balls, and Adam Ottavino follows with a disappointing relief appearance of his own. Ottavino’s ERA sits at an unsightly 7.20 through the first week, perhaps a hangover from a poor playoff showing in October.

The Yankees finish the first full week of the season at 4-3, but there’s plenty to like about the performances outside of the final record. The ability to generate strikeouts is always a good thing, and while the offense isn’t as strong as we were all hoping, the talent is there and it’s only a matter of time before they heat up.

Spoiler: In the rest of the series with Toronto, they do.