Yankees: Full Wild Card Game Preview and Predictions

One game. That’s what a 100-win season for the Yankees will come down to this Wednesday as they look to advance past the Oakland A’s in their third Wild Card game in four seasons.

It’s no secret that the expectations on this Yankee team were about as immense as they could be, and when all is said and done they did put up the third best record in all of baseball. But no one could have expected that that would only be worth a Wild Card spot as Boston put together an incredible 108-54 campaign to take the AL East for the third straight season.

To be blunt, if the Yankees are eliminated by Oakland Wednesday, the 2018 season will certainly go down as a complete and utter failure. With that said, we’re going to take a look at how Aaron Boone’s club will stack up for the October 3 matchup.

Projected Starters:

C: Gary Sanchez – .186/.291/.406 18 HR 53 RBI

1B: Luke Voit – .333/.405/.689 14 HR 33 RBI *39 games with NYY

2B: Gleyber Torres – .271/.340/.480 24 HR 77 RBI

3B: Miguel Andujar – .297/.328/.527 27 HR 92 RBI

SS: Didi Gregorius – .268/.335/.494 27 HR 86 RBI

LF: Andrew McCutchen – .253/.421/.471 5 HR 10 RBI *25 games with NYY

CF: Aaron Hicks – .248/.366/.467 27 HR 79 RBI

RF: Aaron Judge – .278/.392/.528 27 HR 67 RBI

DH: Giancarlo Stanton – .266/.343/.509 38 HR 100 RBI

Analyzing the Offense

Projected Lineup

  1. Andrew McCutchen LF                       
  2. Aaron Judge RF                                 
  3. Aaron Hicks CF (S)                              
  4. Giancarlo Stanton DH                         
  5. Luke Voit 1B                                          
  6. Didi Gregorius SS (L)                           
  7. Miguel Andujar 3B                               
  8. Gary Sanchez C                                
  9. Gleyber Torres 2B       

This team can score runs, especially when healthy. Although Aaron Judge was sidelined for nearly two months and Gary Sanchez’s bat was absent for practically the entire season, the Yankees still somehow managed to break Seattle’s 1997 team record (264) for home runs in a season, surpassing it with 267.

With a healthy roster (knock on wood) heading into Wednesday’s contest, this Yankee lineup could and should outscore almost any opponent they face. With the waiver deadline acquisition of Andrew McCutchen and the emergence of Luke Voit, the only possible hole in the lineup could be that of Sanchez who’s brutal season has him projected to hit 8th in the lineup.

Who’s the Starting Pitcher?

At this point entering Tuesday, Aaron Boone has not yet announced who will be on the hill to start this year’s contest, but what we do know is that it will be either J.A Happ, Luis Severino, or Masahiro Tanaka. Regardless of who starts, they’ll be on a short leash as the Yankees will certainly be showcasing what is possibly the best bullpen in baseball as early as they need to.

The Bullpen

How effective the bullpen is will ultimately determine both team’s fate. Oakland and New York sit right next to each other with the second and third best bullpen ERA in the league respectively, and it’s no secret the outcome of this win-or-go-home shootout will rely heavily on which club’s core of relievers do the better job.

The Yankees possess an elite late-inning staff that consists of practically four closers in David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Zach Britton, and Aroldis Chapman. Not to mention Chad Green who posted another solid season could very well end up in the first inning of this game once again if any serious trouble emerges early.

The Verdict

On paper, the Yankees seem to have the upper hand. Despite winning just three more games, their offensive depth along with the elite bullpen they possess gives the Yankees the advantage. Factor in that they’ll be playing at home in the Bronx where they went an undefeated 6-0 last postseason and it should add a whole another level of confidence in this team come Wednesday night.

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