If you can believe this, the Yankees are advancing to the American League Championship Series. After falling into an 0-2 hole against the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees managed to win three in a row to come all the way back and win the series. Last night was truly an accomplishment for this team, so let’s look back on everything that was good.
Didi’s first home run
The Yankees started things off with a bang in the first inning when Didi Gregorius managed to go deep off Corey Kluber. This gave New York an early lead that they would never relinquish, but maybe more importantly it gave Yankees fans a little breathing room. It’s hard to watch an elimination game over 3+ hours and not throw up, ok?
Didi’s second home run
Two innings later, and Didi was able to take Kluber deep again. This time, it was a two-run home run with Brett Gardner already on base. The Yankees now had a 3-0 lead and things were feeling pretty good at that point.
On a side note: can you believe that Brian Cashman managed to acquire Didi Gregorius for something named Shane Greene? It’s unbelievable how well that trade turned out for the Yankees in the end.
CC’s nine strikeout performance
OK, so this isn’t exactly one moment, but this is still performance. Faced with what could have been his final start as a member of the Yankees, CC Sabathia kept the Indians stifled for four innings. That doesn’t sound like much, but in that time, the big lefty managed to strike out nine hitters, matching both his season high and postseason high.
It was truly an impressive feat for a man likely facing the end of his career, and it was exactly what the Yankees needed. With the bullpen that this team has, CC didn’t need to go very long anyway.
Robertson gets out of the jam in the fifth
Things fell apart in the fifth inning, though. Four singles in a row led to the Indians scoring two runs and making it a one-run game. Joe Girardi called in David Robertson to work his magic and keep the team in the lead, and that’s exactly what the right-hander managed to do.
True to his nickname, Robertson was able to wiggle out of a two-on and one-out jam. Of all people, he got Francisco Lindor to ground into a double play to conserve the lead and end Cleveland’s last best shot at taking this game. It was truly the work of Houdini himself.
The Brett Gardner at-bat and everything that happened after
By the top of the ninth inning, the Yankees were in front by one run and fans were already squirming in their seats knowing the Bombers were winning, but not knowing if they could hold the lead. It had been hours since they last scored, and it was frightening.
Against Cleveland’s closer Cody Allen, the Yankees managed a small rally. Aaron Hicks singled and Todd Frazier walked. With two outs in the inning, Brett Gardner came up to the plate and did his thing. He worked a 12-pitch at-bat, which is a good thing to do, but also an agonizing thing to have to sit through when your team is just three outs away from clinching. The Yankees needed theses runs, but watching Gardner foul off five pitches in a row was sickening.
He finally delivered a groundball single to right that brought Hicks around to score an important insurance run. Somehow Jay Bruce managed to screw up the throw and the ball got free in the infield. Quick thinking by Frazier allowed him to scamper home for an additional run. In a sense, Yankees fans were able to unleash a huge sigh of relief at that point.
Despite the team’s three-run lead, it was no easy thing to watch Aroldis Chapman in the ninth. He had already gotten three outs in the eight, so the question was whether he could get through another three batters after sitting on the bench for half an hour.
Chapman managed to get through the inning, and the Yankees had won the ALDS. It was exciting to see this team win, but it was also nice to be able to breathe again for the first time in what felt like days.
Everything A-Rod on Fox Sports
If you were watching the postgame analysis in the Fox Sports studio, you were treated to the zany antics of Alex Rodriguez himself. Despite the fact that he’s no longer playing baseball, A-Rod was like a little kid when it came to the Yankees winning. He showed off his World Series ring from 2009, and somehow even managed to flip off the camera/David Ortiz. It was great television, especially after everything we had just gone through.
At one point, he even took out a little pinstriped cleaning cloth and actually sat there and polished his ring. He did this all in front of David Ortiz, and it was absolutely brutal and amazing to watch.
He also pulled out a thumbs down shirt and placed it on Ortiz’s body, which was hilarious. Can we get an A-Rod show on YES next year? Pretty please.