After spotting the Twins three runs in the top of the first inning, the Yankees came back to beat Minnesota, 8-4, in the AL Wild Card on Tuesday, as Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner, and Aaron Judge all homered for New York.
Not a bad response in what was, for many Yankees, their first postseason experience.
“They seemed to handle it just fine,” MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think playing in New York, playing in that spotlight all season, playing in the big games at Fenway Park and against the Red Sox, prepares you for this kind of thing. This is not the first time they’ve played in a sold-out stadium. This is not the first time they played with something on the line. They’ve been fighting to win the division and to get the Wild Card for the last month or so. This was (the) first playoff (game for a lot of them), but they certainly showed the ability to not be overwhelmed by that. I was pretty impressed with the way they handled it.”
There’s also this: Tuesday marked New York’s first postseason win without Derek Jeter since 1995.
“This was sort of a passing of the torch for the Yankees as a franchise,” Feinsand said.
The bullpen, which allowed just one run in 8 and 2/3 innings, deserves a lot of credit, especially Chad Green and David Robertson, who combined for 5 and 1/3 innings. It’s possible that neither will be available against the Indians (102-60) in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday, but without them, the Yankees’ season could already be over.
“David Robertson really gave a heroic performance to save that bullpen and save that team,” Feinsand said. “Fifty-two pitches, a career high for him. This is not a 24-year-old kid going out there pumping 100-mile-an-hour fast balls. He’s a (32-year-old) veteran who’s been around for a while, and that was really, really a great performance by him.”
Games 1 and 2 of the ALDS are slated for Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. ET, respectively.