They have too much respect for the Guardians and the overall quality of play in what manager Aaron Boone called “the highest level in the land” for the Yankees to ever have assumed they could breeze through the American League Division Series. However, they had hoped that things would be simpler for them.
Even though Giancarlo Stanton’s early home run gave the Yankees hope that they may quickly build a commanding series lead, the rest of the Bombers’ offense stayed silent. The best-of-five ALDS is now tied at one win apiece after the Yankees dropped Game 2 on Friday at Yankee Stadium to the Guardians by a score of 4-2.
“We’ve had adversity throughout this whole long season on our way to winning the division,” said Aaron Judge, who struck out four times and is hitless in the ALDS (0-for-8, seven strikeouts, one walk). “This isn’t anything new to us. We’ve got the guys in this room to go out there and finish this job.”
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With the current 2-2-1 format for Division Series (excluding the 2020 series played at neutral sites), there have been 39 occasions of clubs splitting the first two games. For 26 of those 39 series, the team with games 3 and 4 at home went on to win the series.
“We never thought this was going to be easy,” said Boone. “We’ll get on that plane [to Cleveland] and go try to grab one tomorrow. Nothing changes for us. Nothing’s been easy for us this year, especially in the second half of the season.”
The only run the Yankees scored was on a home run by Stanton in the first inning, his tenth career homer in the playoffs. After being visibly irritated by home plate umpire Jeremie Rehak’s call of a strike on a 3-1 pitch that was low and away, Stanton proceeded to hit a two-run home run on the next pitch he saw from Shane Bieber.
Even though Judge’s spectacular regular season has not translated to the playoffs so yet, Cortes has predicted a “punch back” in Game 3 for the Yankees. A week ago, it would have been inconceivable for the 47,535 in attendance to boo Judge after he went hitless with seven strikeouts in Game 1 of the ALDS.
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