The New York Yankees have released their lineup for Tuesday night’s Game 1 of the Wild Card round against the Cleveland Indians.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 29, 2020
Well the answer is simpler than it may seem. Gardner is the right move in this game.
For one thing, Frazier is a righty who would be fighting an uphill battle against the right-handed AL Cy Young favorite, Shane Bieber. And despite the fact that Gardner has had an absolutely abysmal season, he started to get hot over the last couple weeks of the season. Frazier, on the other hand, has hit a cold streak that would give Santa freezer burn.
Brett Gardner's last 13 games: .394/.524/.667, 2 HR, 6 RBI.
Meanwhile, Clint Frazier went just 1 for his last 20. https://t.co/22RxfZhBXA
— Seth Rothman (@SethDRothman) September 29, 2020
And while Frazier has made incredible strides defensively in 2020, Gardner is still the superior defender. With Gerrit Cole on the mound, there are bound to be a lot of fly balls and strikeouts. Going with the Gold Glove-caliber defender who happens to be swinging a hot bat is a no brainer for the Yankees.
The other notable lineup move for Game 1 is going with Aaron Hicks in the three-hole. Hicks has hardly had his most productive season. That’s not to say he’s been bad, but he hasn’t been “heart of the order” good.
His presence in the three-hole is for one reason and one reason only. Breaking up the righty power bats. With Aaron Judge, Luke Voit and Giancarlo Stanton hitting in the middle of the order, it’s too easy to attack them in the same way. Hicks hasn’t provided much more than a good eye at the plate with some power potential from the left side.
Regardless, this may not be the Yankees fully operational death star lineup. But it’s well-tailored to Gerrit Cole’s needs and favorable matchups against 2020’s best pitcher.