Surely by now you know of Playing Pepper, that preseason look around the majors where we harass numerous bloggers until they give me answers to various questions so I’ll shut up. Occasionally, I’ve done a postseason version of this and it seemed like a great time to dust that off this year. We’ll start with the AL Wild Card Game participants. We’ll look at the Yankees first, then the Astros this afternoon.
Instead of a scattershot approach, I honed in on one blogger this time around. For the Yankees, that was Bernadette Pasley, who writes the blog Lady At The Bat. I asked her six questions about the Yankees and their postseason and she was gracious enough to get some answers to me. Be sure to check out her blog as you keep track of the postseason!
C70: If you had to sum up this season in a word or phrase, what would it be?
LATB: Surprising! I predicted that the Yankees would NOT make the playoffs at all.
C70: What worries you the most about the Astros, beyond the flukes of a one game battle?
LATB: Dallas Keuchel. He has pitched 16 shutout innings against the Yankees this year and, even though he doesn’t pitch as well on the road, he HAS beaten the Yankees at Yankee Stadium this season.
C70: Assuming you get past the Wild Card Game, what has to happen for the Yankees to have a deep October run?
LATB: It’s very important for the starting pitching to go deep into games, something they actually did NOT do during the regular season. Other than the 8th and 9th inning duo of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller respectively, and maybe Justin Wilson/Adam Warren in the 7th, there isn’t a soul in the bullpen who is trustworthy. Also, with CC Sabathia off the roster, Warren might have to start, which will only further weaken the pen. Then again, CC hasn’t been great this year, so I doubt his absence will make that much of a difference.
C70: Is there a player that will be the key to the postseason?
LATB: First baseman Greg Bird might be that guy. Since his MLB debut in August he has proven to be a nice substitute for Mark Teixeira. Defensively he is just okay, but his bat could really make a difference.
C70: How high is confidence running among the New York faithful?
LATB: I think most people think the Yankees have a small chance to win the game. They would feel more confident, I would imagine, if Masahiro Tanaka had been more consistent during the regular season.
C70: What’s the minimum that counts as a successful postseason for the Yankees?
LATB: Winning the Wild Card Game and not getting swept in the ALDS would make for a successful Yankees postseason.