“Is this heaven?”
“No, it’s Iowa.”
Well, for tonight only, Dyersville, IA, might just be a little slice of heaven, as the New York Yankees take on the Chicago White Sox in Major League Baseball’s first-ever Field of Dreams Game. The two teams will be playing in the same cornfields from the 1989 movie (which was an adaptation of W.P. Kinsella’s 1982 novel Shoeless Joe), although this particular field — which is set up next to the original movie set — is a bit more polished than the one in the movie, which used the corn as an outfield “fence.”
In exactly the sort of pitching matchup that MLB was hoping for, Andrew Heaney (7-8, 5.45 ERA, 4.47 FIP) gets the nod for the Yankees, making his third start since coming over from the Angels at the deadline. With five starting pitchers currently on the shelf, to say that he has been exactly what the Yankees needed would be a lie; he’s given up 8 runs in 10 innings in pinstripes, and has surrendered five home runs in that time (I hope the league has some farmers on hand to save the crops that José Abreu and Eloy Jiménez hit). But hey, he did rebound from a sluggish start to strike out nine batters his last time out, so that’s something. Gulp.
Originally, the White Sox were going to send out dark horse Cy Young candidate Carlos Rodón (9-5, 2.38 ERA, 2.57 FIP), but he hit the IL yesterday with left arm soreness. The Yankees, however, did not catch a break, as an even better Cy Young candidate — old friend Lance Lynn (10-3, 2.04 ERA, 3.01 FIP) — had his start pushed back a day and will take the mound instead. The 34-year-old has been electric this season, striking out more than 10 batters per nine innings and has limited opponents to just 6.7 hits per nine (best in the league); moreover, he has allowed less than one home run per nine (0.8).
This is exactly the kind of matchup that the 2021 Yankees do not stack up well against. But then again, as weird as this season is, this is also the kind of matchup where I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees knocked him out in the first inning.
For such a high-profile matchup, the Yankees are sending out their A-team ... at least, what’s left of them. Thanks to a recent hot streak, Brett Gardner — he has a .310/.429/.310 slash line over the last two weeks — looks somewhat respectable. Rougned Odor at third base continues to scare me, because he honestly just can’t play the position (-1 OAA in only 24 attempts), Kyle Higashioka hasn’t hit since April (.161/.218/.312 with only 3 HR), and Tyler Wade is, well, Tyler Wade (even with a .563 batting average and 1.417 OPS since the trade deadline, he still has a below-average 88 OPS+ on the season). Anthony, Gleyber, Gary, and Gio: please hurry back.
I know not everyone has been looking forward to this game as much as I have — Field of Dreams is a very polarizing movie. Speaking for myself, the reason I’m excited for this game has nothing to do with the film at all, but rather the sheer novelty of playing the game of baseball in such a strange a location as the middle of a cornfield. Let’s hope that the game matches the weirdness of its location — so long as it ends in a Yankee win, of course!
How to watch
Location: Field of Dreams — Dyersville, IA
First pitch: 7:00 pm ET
TV broadcast: FOX
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Online stream: MLB.tv