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Yankees GGB – The Great, The Good, and The Bad

The Yankees swept the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS and are poised to face the winner of the Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays series. The full recap for the clinching Game Three is here, but the least we could do here at Double G Sports is have a GBU for the Division Series.

Fortunately for the Yankees they swept the Twins and because they did so, deserve to be upgraded to Great, Good and Bad. For all their hard work, there was nothing that was ugly about that series.

The Great

Gleyber Torres is unconscious

If that was a three game World Series (bear with me), Gleyber Torres would have been named MVP. In the final game of the series, Torres went a casual 3-for-4 with two doubles and a solo home run. He became the youngest Yankee since Derek Jeter to hit a home run in the ALDS. He was clutch all series long both offensively and defensively, and at the end he got the championship belt from Aaron Judge.

Gleyber’s poise during the entire series was impressive. He looked overwhelmed at times last season against the Red Sox, but he looks to be the most confident player on the team. Torres is special because his defense has been just as good as his offense, and he’s putting it all together at the age of 22.

His sliding throw to D.J. Lemahieu from the middle of right field saved a run and there are very few players who could have made a play that difficult look so easy. Torres is a special player and will be a force for the Yankees for more than a decade.

Didi’s got his groove back

Didi Gregorius was batting under .200 in the month of September and it was debated many times whether or not he should even be in the lineup come playoff time. While he started off slow, Gregorius heated up at just the right times.

Didi was able to crank a grand slam in Game Two to put the game out of reach at home. Game Three came and Didi did more of the same; Have clutch hits in big moments. Didi had two separate RBI singles to right field to help the Yankees on their way to a 5-1 victory.

Didi flashed some great leather too. He made a nice double play in Game Two and in the final inning of the series saved at least a run from scoring with a diving catch at shortstop. Didi is here to stay, at least for the rest of the playoffs.

The bullpen was electric

It wasn’t easy, especially in Game Three, but the Yankees’ bullpen was able to string together each game seamlessly. Although Aaron Boone’s decision making (we’ll get to that) was puzzling, it all worked out and the Big Five were excellent, even if Aroldis Chapman struggled in Game Three.

The only runs given up by the Big Five was one by Tommy Kahnle after the game was already out of reach in Game Two and a solo home run off of Zack Britton.

Other than that, each reliever looked great and worked out of trouble when they needed to. They were definitely bailed out a bit in Game Three by three fantastic plays by the Yankees defense, highlighted by a leaping grab from Aaron Judge.

The Yankees have the best bullpen in baseball and it showed. It’s a luxury to be able to use almost every guy in the bullpen in big situations without a second thought. The Yankees are lucky to have everyone they have, even if they’re missing Dellin Betances.

The Good

Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez (even if it doesn’t show in the box score)

Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez were two of the better players in the ALDS, even if their contributions don’t stand out as much as some others on the team. Judge, up until Game Three, was on base 70% of the time and was working counts all series long.

He also made an incredible leaping catch (mentioned before) to prevent the Twins from any rally they were trying to mount in Game Three. Sanchez wasn’t so lucky in the walk category, but had a fantastic series, getting into multiple eight, nine pitch at-bats and working the Twins down to the bone.

Sanchez also called a masterful game for each and every pitcher that came in. Pitchers get most of the credit for getting out of jams, but Sanchez’s sequences in big spots were just as important. His ability to guide Luis Severino through some command trouble should be commended.

The starting pitching

The starting pitching didn’t go much length, but when on the mound they provided a solid foundation that was continued by the bullpen. James Paxton was alright in his first postseason start, going 4 2/3 innings but giving up three runs.

Masahiro Tanaka was excellent as always, going five strong and giving up only one run. He could have easily gone six but Aaron Boone wants to stick to his plan of using his bullpen extensively for the postseason, so it’s understood that Tanaka won’t have many eight inning games.

Luis Severino struggled mightily with his command but got outs when he needed to. His ability to get out of a bases loaded, no out jam was something very few pitchers have. A lazy pop-up in the infield and two strike outs gave Sevy the confidence to go four strong of shutout ball.

It wasn’t perfect but the Yankees don’t need to be perfect with their starting pitching. As long as the starters can put the Yankees in a good position to win, that’s all that matters. Do we wish for more? Sure, but it’s worked out so far for everyone.

The Bad

Aaron Boone’s use of Adam Ottavino

The most maddening thing of the entire series was Aaron Boone’s reluctance to use Adam Ottavino for more than one batter. It was like Ottavino was a lefty specialist, only being used for Nelson Cruz.

Boone’s reluctance meant the rest of the bullpen had to be taxed more to get the additional outs. It worked out in Game Two because the Yankees took a big lead into the late innings and they were able to use J.A. Happ.

It didn’t work out as well in Game Three because Ottavino walked Nelson Cruz and although Boone was able to get nine outs between Chapman and Britton, it certainly wasn’t ideal to burn one of the Yankees’ best relievers for five pitches.

Giancarlo Stanton has not earned his pinstripes

It’s obviously a joke the whole “earning your pinstripes” shtick, but Giancarlo Stanton has proved nothing to reverse the notion that he’s not a playoff performer.

It took him until Game Three to get his first hit of the series, a blooper off the end of his bat that fell in center field. Stanton still strikes out a lot and although there has to be some leeway considering he just got back from a long trip on the I.L., he needs to be better.

There really isn’t much negative to say about the Yankees and their dominant performance against the Twins. Their ALDS sweep is just another stepping stone to a bigger goal.

It’s honestly baffling that the Yankees have beaten the Twins in 13 straight playoff games. They’ve completely owned them in October and regardless of who is on either team, it’s just complete domination.

The Twins now walk away with a Big Four sports record. They have lost 16 straight playoff games, tied for the most with the 1970’s Chicago Blackhawks. Most of them were to the Yankees and although this streak will end eventually, it’s nice to be on the right side of history.

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