Gary Sanchez
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees have found a winning formula for the postseason. An early Aaron Judge home run and gutsy starts from their starter.

  • New York Yankees: 6 (2-1)
  • Boston Red Sox: 2 (1-1)
  • ALDS, Final, Box Score
  • Fenway Park, Boston, MA

Danny Small

The two postseason victories for the New York Yankees have come in similar fashion. The Wild Card Game against the Oakland Athletics and Game 2 of the ALDS began with first-inning home runs from Aaron Judge. After the imposing Judge gave the Yankees the early leads, their starter battled long enough to hand the ball off to the shutdown bullpen.

On Wednesday, Luis Severino pushed himself through four innings. On Saturday, Tanaka turned in five innings of one-run ball without breaking much of a sweat. Masahiro Tanaka cruised, for the most part, only allowing three hits and one walk. The lone damage came on a Xander Bogaerts home run in the fourth inning. Tanaka could be the most underrated big game pitcher in all of baseball.

But much like the Wild Card Game, the Bronx Bombers added to their early lead as the game went on. Gary Sanchez followed Judge’s moonball with two towering home runs of his own — the second of which drove in three runs and opened up a 6-1 lead.


David Price continued his postseason ineptitude after being chased in the second inning. He allowed three runs and two home runs in just 1.2 innings of work. He was upstaged by Tanaka in a gigantic way.

Dellin Betances allowed one run in two innings of work, but Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman locked down the final two innings. The Yanks finished the night with a clean victory and a reason to feel good about themselves as they travel back to the Bronx.

This game was strikingly similar to the Wild Card Game because both games followed a similar formula. Jump out to an early lead, ride your starter twice through the lineup, and hand the ball off to the bullpen. The two wins in the postseason are almost exactly the way Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone drew it up.

They put together a lineup full of sluggers who can leave the yard at any time and a bullpen that can lockdown any lead it’s given. The Yankees received a lot of flack for not going out and getting a dominant ace, but so far, the formula is working.

The starkest difference between this tussle with the Red Sox and the beating sustained by the A’s was simply the feel during the game. The Sox always seemed to be looming. There was always the chance that they could put together a big inning and jump back into the game. The Yankees bullpen is phenomenal, but that doesn’t mean the Sox lineup isn’t dangerous.

Conversely, following Aaron Judge’s two-run home run off Oakland’s opener, Liam Hendriks, the game was over. No one in Yankee Stadium believed the A’s were coming back in that game. It was over as soon as Hendriks left the ball over the plate for Judge to tattoo.

New York Yankees

The Red Sox have had their struggles in recent postseasons, but they are certainly not the Oakland Athletics — possibly the most overrated franchise in baseball. Win a big postseason game one time and then you can sit with the cool kids, OK Oakland?

The Yankees and the Red Sox will travel to the Bronx for a pivotal Game 3. The Yankees boast a seven-game postseason winning streak at home and they are in the driver’s seat in this series with two games at home to Boston’s one remaining game at Fenway.

Then again, that home game isn’t until Game 5. The Yankees would love to take care of business at home and avoid traveling back to Beantown altogether. The Yankees’ ace, Luis Severino takes the mound in Game 3 with CC Sabathia prepping for Game 4. Red Sox starter Rick Porcello was originally penciled in to start Game 3, but he came on in relief in Game 1. If he is ready to go, he’ll take the ball in Game 3 and Nate Eovaldi will take the hill in Game 4.

New York Yankees

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