There is something different about October baseball. It’s a supercharged version of the same game, but the stakes are higher and the competition more fierce. While the Yankees have been eliminated from postseason contention, the American and National League Division Series still feature a handful of players who spent time in pinstripes.
One would think former Yankees are well-prepared for the intensity of competing in the postseason, considering the fan and media attention that go along with playing in New York. Whether or not they were able to perform in October, the experience of playing on a big stage in the Bronx is valuable to these one-time Yankees. Let’s take a closer look at former Yankees who are currently competing in the American League Division Series and see what role they stand to play for their present teams. I checked up on several old friends who could make an impact in the 2021 ALDS.
Tampa Bay Rays reliever David Robertson
The Rays might not have any superstar Cy Young-worthy pitchers, but this organization knows how to squeeze every last ounce of potential out of veteran pitchers who have bounced around a little and been around the block. Tampa Bay has certainly done that with righty reliever David Robertson, who signed with the Rays after coming back from Tommy John rehab and playing in the Olympics. Before deciding on their postseason roster, it wasn’t a given that David Robertson would be included. The Rays had to pare down their bullpen and Robertson had mixed results in his outings over the last month.
It looks like the team made the right decision, as Robertson combined with fellow relievers J.T. Chargois and J.P. Feyereisen to pitch four shutout innings of relief against the Red Sox last night. The three of them helped the Rays close out the latter part of the game and secure a Game 1 win. Over the course of his nine seasons in the Bronx (2008-14, 2017-18), D-Rob helped the Yankees capture a number of important October wins. He was a key part of the Yankees’ World Series championship in 2009 (a team that also included his Rays manager Kevin Cash) and sports a 5-0 career record in the postseason.
Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Lance Lynn
Lance Lynn’s role in Chicago isn’t ambiguous; when the White Sox acquired Lynn last winter, they knew they were getting the guy they would want on the mound in Game 1 of the ALDS. In a way, Chicago built their whole starting rotation around Lynn. He has been the anchor of the White Sox starting rotation and this year, he posted a career-best season at age 34. Unfortunately, nagging knee troubles interfered with Lynn’s outings in the 2nd half of the season. He hasn’t been as sharp lately and certainly didn’t get the job done yesterday afternoon in his Game 1 start against the Astros. Lasting just 3.2 innings, Lynn threw 76 pitches and generated only six swing and misses. Depending on how the White Sox fare in the next few days, Lynn may or may not get a second chance to start and redeem himself in the series.
Boston Red Sox reliever Adam Ottavino
Leading up to the postseason, the Red Sox have used a committee approach to the bullpen, with Adam Ottavino pitching in a number of save situations. Along with Garrett Whitlock, Ottavino will be a prime option for the Red Sox to use in save situations that emerge in the ALDS. The former Yankee has struggled with command in the second half of the season, but was able to do his job last night, albeit it was not in a high-leverage situation. Nick Pivetta ate up 4.2 innings in relief in the Red Sox’s 5-0 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field, taking over the middle frames after starter Eduardo Rodriguez recorded only five outs. Pivetta threw 73 pitches and no other Boston reliever tossed more than six pitches, with Garrett Richards, Josh Taylor and Ottavino combining for five outs. Because Ottavino threw just a few pitches and Pivetta was able to give some distance, Ottavino and the rest of the bullpen will likely be available in Game 2, although it depends on how the game unfolds.