With most of us staying at home to keep ourselves safe from the coronavirus, here are some of the best Yankees playoff games to spend your time watching.
Sports fans worldwide are struggling to find ways to keep themselves entertained nowadays, as the spread of the coronavirus has brought all professional and collegiate sports to a screeching halt. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of watching live sports, as we crave the chance to watch our favorite athletes and see whether they will succeed in leading their teams to victory in hard-fought games. While we don’t know when we can reasonably expect to see our favorite stars back on the field, MLB has done fans worldwide a favor, making many recent playoff games available to be watched in their full duration on YouTube or MLB.tv. Reliving recent October victories can help make the time in quarantine pass quicker, and while the Yankees have failed to bring home a World Series title in recent years, they have still left us with some incredible games and moments. With that in mind, here are some classic Yankees postseason victories from the team’s past three playoff runs that fans can turn to in order to get through the slow drag of quarantine.
The game everyone remembers: AL Wild Card Game
The Yankees’ 2017 playoff run is one that fans will remember for a long team, as the new-brand Yankees fueled by young studs like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Luis Severino powered their way to a deep playoff run, even though many expected them to miss the playoffs at the start of the season. Their never-say-die mentality eventually led them to come back from down 2-0 to beat the Indians in the ALDS and then take the eventual World Series champion* Astros to seven games in the ALCS. This mentality was one they especially needed in the Wild Card Game, as the usually dominant Severino surrendered three runs and only recorded only one out before he found himself sitting on the bench as the bullpen took over to try to limit the damage he had caused. You know what happens next- Didi Gregorius’ three-run bomb in the bottom of the first inning tied the game and the Yankees rode their bats and bullpen all the way to a victory and punched their ticket to the ALDS.
The “forgotten” game you should also rewatch: ALDS Game 4
The 2017 playoffs provided Yankees fans with plenty of unforgettable games, but one huge victory that many fans may not remember so vividly came in ALDS Game Four. After Masahiro Tanaka’s masterful start and Aaron Judge’s robbery of Francisco Lindor’s near-home run stymied the Indians’ offense the night before, Severino took the bump for the team’s second elimination game in as many days, as he looked to rebound from his atrocious Wild Card outing. He delivered in a big way, pitching seven innings and only giving up three runs, courtesy of Carlos Santana and Roberto Perez home runs. The Yankees’ offense did their job as well, getting to Indians starter Trevor Bauer for four runs in the second inning, with the big blow being Judge’s two-run double that extended the team’s lead to 4-0. Tommy Kahnle struck out five batters in two perfect innings to record the save as the Yankees forced a decisive Game 5 back in Cleveland. One truly remarkable stat about this game? Every fastball thrown by a Yankee pitcher (Severino, Dellin Betances, and Kahnle) that night registered at 96 MPH or harder.
The game everyone remembers: AL Wild Card Game
The Yankees’ playoff run in 2018 was the most underwhelming of these three seasons, as the team could only muster a victory in the Wild Card Game before the Red Sox trounced them in the ALDS en route to winning the World Series. With that being said, that year’s AL Wild Card Game provided plenty of excitement for Yankees fans as they prepared to face their rivals awaiting them in the next round. Judge, who had returned just weeks prior after missing two months with a fractured wrist, set the tone for the game immediately, as he crushed Athletics opener Liam Hendriks’ ninth pitch of the game into left field for a two-run bomb before Hendriks could even record an out.
Severino, still facing doubters who questioned his postseason reliability after the Minnesota debacle the year prior, carried a shutout into the 5th inning before giving way to Betances, who worked his way out of a jam and then pitched a shutout 6th as well. Luke Voit’s two-run triple in the bottom of the 6th blew the game open, giving the Yankees a 5-0 lead that the bullpen closed out.
The “forgotten” game you should also rewatch: ALDS Game 2
Though the ALDS as a whole was incredibly disappointing, Game 2 was a huge victory for the Yankees, essentially a “must-win”, as they knotted up the series at 1 apiece heading back to the Bronx. After the team dropped Game 1 the night before, “playoff Tanaka” showed up in Game 2, holding a stellar Boston offense to just one run in five innings pitched. Judge homered off of David Price in the top of the 1st to get the scoring started for the Bombers, but it was Sanchez who would shoulder the offensive load the rest of the game. “The Kraken” blasted a solo homer in the 2nd inning that extended the lead to 2-0 before he put the game away with a 3-run blast off of Eduardo Rodriguez in the 7th inning that put the Yankees up 6-1. Betances, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman finished the job out of the bullpen, combining to allow just one run over four innings as the Yankees grabbed the momentum going back to the Bronx.
The game everyone remembers: ALDS Game 3
After a stressful come from behind series victory in the 2017 ALDS and a disappointing series loss in the 2018 ALDS, the 2019 ALDS provided a breath of fresh air for the Yankees, as the team swept the Twins in three games, winning each game rather soundly. DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres’ bats propelled the team to a Game 1 victory before Gregorius’ grand slam blew open Game 2 as Tanaka was his usual reliable self on the mound. Severino toed the slab for Game 3 after pitching in only three games in the regular season, as he missed most of the year with injuries. Making his first playoff appearance since a disastrous outing in ALDS Game 3 in 2018, he worked his way out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the 2nd inning without giving up any runs, then escaped from a two-on, two-out jam unscathed in the 3rd. Torres continued his hot streak at the plate, as his solo homer in the 2nd gave the team a 1-0 lead. Brett Gardner’s RBI single in the 3rd gave the Yankees a bit more breathing room. Cameron Maybin’s solo home run and Gregorius’ RBI single in the 9th gave the team a 5-1 lead as they handed the ball to Chapman to close it out. He worked his way into some trouble in the bottom of the 9th, but a miraculous diving snag by Twins-killer Gregorius with two runners on brought Minnesota to their final out. Chapman then froze Nelson Cruz with a 99 MPH fastball to end the game and the series, as the Yankees completed their first postseason series sweep in nine years.
The “forgotten” game you should also rewatch: ALCS Game 1
Everyone will remember the 2019 ALCS for the way it ended, with Jose Altuve breaking Yankees fans’ hearts with a walk-off homer in Game 6, but one huge victory that gets lost in all the craziness from that series came in Game 1. The Yankees were fortunate enough that they didn’t have to face Gerrit Cole or Justin Verlander that night to start off the series, as Houston’s two big aces had pitched Games 4 and 5 of the ALDS against Tampa Bay just days prior. This meant that Houston’s Game 1 starter would be Zack Greinke- a tremendous pitcher in his own right, but not on the level of Cy Young contenders Cole and Verlander at this point in his career.
Greinke and Tanaka traded zeroes for the first three innings before the red-hot Torres drove in LeMahieu with a double to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the 4th. Two innings later, he took Greinke deep to the Crawford Boxes in left field, extending the lead to 2-0. He still wasn’t done, though, as his two-run double the next inning game the Bombers a 5-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. He even tacked on an RBI groundout in the 9th for good measure, finishing the game with 5 RBIs as the Yankees took care of business with a 7-0 victory.