When the Mets beat the Dodgers 10 out of 11 in 1988, that sure didn’t stop Mike Scioscia from taking Doc Gooden deep in the ninth inning of Game 4, and it sure didn’t prevent Los Angeles from ultimately winning the NLCS in seven games.
So maybe the A’s regular-season dominance over the Yankees — not only this season, in which Oakland had gone 4-0 before Saturday afternoon’s matchup in The Bronx, but 28-15 since the start of 2013 — would have meant as little in a hypothetical postseason matchup as the Mets’ supremacy over L.A. 31 years ago.
Or as little as Aaron Boone had viewed it even immediately following Friday night’s 8-2 defeat, when he chuckled at the thought and said, “Oakland has beaten us up, but as far as moving forward, and who we’ll see [in the playoffs], I don’t worry about that at all.
“We’re a confident group whoever we play.”
So perhaps there was no reason for the manager or his team to fret when Aaron Judge stepped to the plate with two out and none on in the eighth with the Yankees down 3-2, the offense having been provided by a pair of Gary Sanchez solo homers.
“They’ve kind of owned us,” Judge said afterward. “We hadn’t beaten them at all. It was an important game for us.”
It became an important win for the Yankees after Judge tied it with an arching home run into the lower right field-stands and, three innings later, DJ LeMahieu led off the 11th with another shot in that general vicinity.
Four-to-three, New York.
“The way they beat us up,” said LeMahieu, who’d previously gone for 0-for-4 while striking out three times, “it was a pretty big win for us.”
But there of course was Boone to sprinkle water all over the concept of regular-season results influencing the course of a postseason matchup. There was the manager refusing to go along with the narrative.
“I mean, we want to win, but how important, I don’t know,” he said. “Win or lose, I don’t think it affects anything moving forward with [the A’s].
“You like to win a game that like where you use all your bullpen and high-leverage guys, so that’s one of those games that can bleed into tomorrow a little bit, but as far as psyche, win or lose I don’t think it would affect anything, frankly.”
Spoken like a disciple of Tommy Lasorda.
The Yankees pulled off a couple of snappy double plays, Didi Gregorius dazzled with his range and arm at shortstop and Judge went high with an outstretched glove just over the top of the wall to keep Matt Chapman’s two-out drive in the 10th in the ballpark, when it was headed toward the first or second row. And there were the four solo blows that boosted the home run count to a major league record of 74 in a month that has ended with the Yankees holding the majors’ best record at 89-48.
But this one was an adventure. Boone needed eight pitchers — which included a parade of relief pitchers after Domingo German exited after throwing 90 pitches in five innings, departing with the score 2-2. There was a stretch through the sixth and seventh when Jonathan Loaisiga and Adam Ottavino allowed seven of 12 base-runners to reach base while combing to throw 26 strikes on 53 pitches.
But the A’s only could push across one run, leaving the bases loaded in both innings. They left them loaded again in the eighth, when Zack Britton was forced out with right calf cramping, and Chad Green came on in an emergency situation that became an emergency when the first three batters he faced reached on walks, the first charged to Britton. Green, who threw 10 strikes on 20 pitches, got out of it by striking out Matt Olson.
In the ninth, Oakland only left two on base … the two runners who reached on two-out bases-on-balls issued by Aroldis Chapman, who threw 11 strikes and 12 balls in his first appearance since last Monday. It was left to Cory Gearrin, who not only wears Mike Mussina’s No. 35 but bears a strong facial resemblance to the Hall of Famer who will be honored at the Stadium on Sunday, to pitch the final two innings. He got the win. Judge got the save for keeping Chapman’s drive in the park.
“It’s about time I caught one at the wall,” said No. 99.
And it was about time the Yankees got on the board against the A’s. And even if it doesn’t mean a whit if they meet in October, it was sure better than the alternative.
Credit: Source link