An In-Depth Look at Didi's Grand Slam

An In-Depth Look at Didi's Grand Slam

On Saturday, the Yankees took Game Two of the ALDS against the Twins behind the bat of Didi Gregorius. With bases loaded in the bottom of the third, Didi sent one high and deep down the right field line and into the upper deck. The grand slam felt like it ended the game right then, even though there were 6 innings left to play.

Let's take an in depth look into his at bat to see how it happened…

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ALDS Game Two: Battle of the Righties: Masahiro Tanaka! vs. Randy Dobnak?

ALDS Game Two: Battle of the Righties: Masahiro Tanaka! vs. Randy Dobnak?

As we all come back down from last night’s incredible win and start to look towards tonight’s earlier game- first pitch at 5:07 PM, gates open at 2:30 PM- the first thing we tend to notice is the starting pitching battle.

We all know who the Yankees are starting on the mound tonight in Masahiro Tanaka. While this season has not been one of his recent best, he does have a fantastic track record in the postseason.

On the other side of the inning though, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the Twins Starting Pitcher: Randy Dobnak.

Here we are going to look quickly at what we should be expecting out of the pitching match-up for Game Two of the ALDS.

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The Playoff Roster

The Playoff Roster

I’ve danced around talking about the playoff roster for a little over a month now, but the time has finally come to discuss the likely playoff roster. At first pass, I think as many as 22 of the 25 roster spots are locked up. In order to predict the most likely roster composition, we’ll need to look at the most likely ratio of position players to pitchers; evaluate possible injury complications; identify the players locked into spots; and then identify the bubble spots and likely candidates to fill those spots. Let’s get at it:

(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara - USA TODAY Sports)

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The Likely non Debate Over the DH in the Playoffs:

The Likely non Debate Over the DH in the Playoffs:

Before I get into the analysis and data, I believe that DJ LeMahieu will be the Yankees starting first baseman through their 2019 postseason run.

With LeMahieu at 1B, this opens up four potential hitters to be named the starting designated hitter through the ALDS, ALCS, and during home games in the World Series. These hitters are Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Ford, Clint Frazier and Luke Voit for whom will be the top choices for the DH spot. 

Personally, I think that Edwin Encarnacion will be the Yankees’ DH for the playoffs. Quite simply, I think this because I think that the Yankees will go with the veteran Edwin Encarnacion and Luke Voit’s recent slump at the plate.

Let’s look at some objective analysis as to why this may be the case:

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The (Very) Early Returns on Luis Severino

The (Very) Early Returns on Luis Severino

The Yankees’ rotation has been scrutinized, analyzed, and generally evaluated as thin and weak when compared to other World Series rosters such as the Astros and the Dodgers. Certainly, the rotation had its struggles throughout the 2019 season, and the lack of depth in the rotation has been clear at various times throughout the year. Despite the performance of the starting rotation for much of the season, the Yankees have been publicly optimistic about the pitching staff’s potential for success in October. Some of that is the natural optimism all good teams espouse to the media, but some of that optimism is the realization of the return of a lost asset: Luis Severino. Of all of the injuries the Yankees have faced this season, it can be argued that the most important injury this season was to Luis Severino. Severino came into 2019 as the formidable ace of the staff, and the Yankees have been without him for the entire regular season prior to the final weeks of September. Few teams are capable of winning consistently despite the loss of the ace of the pitching staff, yet the Yankees have prevailed, and look to be that much stronger now that Sevy has returned.

Despite the optimism surrounding Sevy’s return, there were significant questions about what Severino would look like when he finally entered an MLB game this year. For one, his injuries were all sustained in his pitching shoulder and pitching lat. Additionally, Severino had multiple setbacks during his rehabilitation program. As good as Severino has been the last two years, it was fair to wonder what he would look like. We are working with an admittedly minuscule sample size, but the early performance has been outstanding.

Severino has thrown 9 innings in two starts since his return, striking out 13 batters while allowing just 5 hits, 2 walks, and no runs. As electrifying as the results have been, the caveat is that both starts came against weak offenses currently employed by the Angels and the Royals. What do the underlying metrics tell us about how real Severino’s performance is since his return? I am willing to throw some of my usual caution and skepticism to the wind regarding the sample size, and I think the metrics tell us that this version of Luis Severino is every bit as dominant as the eye test would lead us to believe.

(Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac - Getty Images)

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Off-Day Musings and Analysis

Off-Day Musings and Analysis

The Yankees are officially in the home stretch now with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.  Barring some form of horrific, historic collapse, the Yankees will go to the playoffs and win the AL East.  While the remaining games have importance, and getting home field advantage throughout the playoffs would certainly be a preferable outcome to the end of the season, I am personally more concerned about finishing the season with as many healthy players as possible.  It will be a delicate balance, but Aaron Boone has a tough job ahead of him to ensure that guys get the right amount of playing time to be sharp for the playoffs while keeping the Yankees’ foot to the accelerator enough to win some ball games.

As we look to the last couple of weeks of the regular season, here are a few storylines I’ve thought about a bit:

(Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin)

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