MLB

Yankees rout Indians in MLB playoffs opener, Astros cruise

By Sports Desk September 29, 2020

The New York Yankees crushed the Cleveland Indians 12-3 in the opening game of their American League (AL) Wild Card Series.

Aaron Judge set the tone with a two-run homer on Shane Bieber's fourth pitch as the Yankees drew first blood against the Indians in the best-of-three matchup in the MLB playoffs on Tuesday.

It was Judge's first home run since returning from the injured list on September 16, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the first inning in Cleveland, where Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Gleyber Torres also homered.

The 12 runs scored by the Yankees are tied for the most ever by a road team in a postseason opener, per Stats Perform. The 2002 St Louis Cardinals also had 12 runs away to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

According to Stats Perform, the Yankees are the first team in playoff history to have their seventh and eighth hitters (Torres and Gardner) both have three-plus RBIs in the same game.

 

Valdez stars as Astros shine

The Houston Astros topped the Minnesota Twins 4-1 in their AL Wild Card opener. Framber Valdez became the first reliever to toss five shut-out innings in a playoff game since Madison Bumgarner in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, per Stats Perform.

Blake Snell impressed as AL East champions the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 in game one. Snell tied a Rays postseason record after allowing one hit, two walks while striking out nine batters.

Lucas Giolito enjoyed a memorable playoff debut for the Chicago White Sox, who downed AL West champions the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on the road. Giolito retired the first 18 batters he faced. He became the fifth pitcher in MLB history to be perfect through six innings of a postseason encounter, according to Stats Perform. Giolito struck out eight and walked one.

Gerrit Cole helped fuel the Yankees by striking out 13, the most by a pitcher in his Yankees postseason debut. He walked none against the Indians.

 

Bieber struggles, Twins make unwanted history

According to Stats Perform, Indians ace Bieber joined Hal Newhouser (1945) and Clayton Kershaw (2013 and 2014) as the only pitchers to have a sub-2.00 ERA during the regular season and then allow seven-plus earned runs in a game that postseason since earned runs became an official stat in 1913. Bieber gave up season highs in runs (seven) and hits (nine) over 4.6 innings.

Minnesota suffered their 17th consecutive loss in the playoffs. The Twins have not won a postseason game since 2004 – a record losing streak not only in MLB but in any of the four major North American professional sports, surpassing the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks (16).

 

Tuesday's results

Houston Astros 4-1 Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox 4-1 Oakland Athletics
Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 Toronto Blue Jays
New York Yankees 12-3 Cleveland Indians

 

Brewers at Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers will host the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 1 of the NL Wild Card game on Wednesday. The Dodgers will start with Walker Buehler, while the Brewers send Brent Suter to the mound midweek.

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    Boone had an operation to receive a pacemaker at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Florida on Wednesday.

    The 47-year-old underwent open-heart surgery in 2009.

    "I feel great. I can't believe how good I feel," Boone said on Friday.

    "It makes me really glad that I got this done because, certainly in the last couple of months, I have not felt anywhere close to how I felt this morning. Really excited about it; excited to get back."

    On a return, Boone added: "I can say a couple days in now, me and my new buddy are doing quite well."

    "If not tomorrow [Saturday], I'm hoping for Sunday," he continued.

    Boone has been Yankees manager since 2018, leading the storied franchise to the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in 2019, while they lost in the AL Division Series (ALDS) last year.

    The former third baseman was an All-Star with the Yankees in 2003.

    "Now that I've got [the pacemaker] it's made me realise that I wasn't feeling good, just energy level, just not myself. I felt like I had to reach for it every day in a way," Boone said.

    "And yesterday [Thursday] and even more so today, I just feel kind of ready to go and ready to kind of tackle things. [My cardiologist] said, 'this will be a pretty straightforward simple procedure, nothing like you've been through in the past. And it'll work right away, you'll notice it.' And he was right. I feel great."

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said: "I don't know the exact time of his procedure [Wednesday] afternoon, but in the 7:10pm range, I get a FaceTime. And it's Aaron Boone. I pick up and the energy, how good he looked, the personality was so vibrant. And I'm like, 'Wow.'

    "For him to have to go under, have this procedure, and within an hour or so he's back up and running as if nothing really happened at all, it was incredible. I know he's chomping at the bit to get back into that dugout, back into the Yankee uniform. But the greatest thing is that he just feels amazing. The newer version of him, I'm happy for him and happy for his family and happy for us."

    The star-studded Yankees will open their 2021 season against American League (AL) East rivals the Toronto Blue Jays on April 1.

  • Yankees manager Boone has surgery to receive pacemaker Yankees manager Boone has surgery to receive pacemaker

    New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone has taken a medical leave of absence following surgery to receive a pacemaker, the MLB franchise announced.

    Boone, who underwent open-heart surgery in 2009, is recovering at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Florida after Wednesday's operation.

    The Yankees said the procedure was "expected", while general manager Brian Cashman added Boone could return to the team within two to three days.

    "As many of you know, I underwent open-heart surgery in 2009, and I wanted everyone to understand where I'm at regarding the procedure that's taking place today," Boone said. "Over the last six-eight weeks I've had mild symptoms of light-headedness, low energy and shortness of breath.

    "As a result, I underwent a series of tests and examinations in New York prior to the beginning of Spring Training, including multiple visits with a team of heart specialists. While the heart check-up came back normal, there were indications of a low heart rate which, after further consultations with doctors in Tampa, necessitates a pacemaker.

    "My faith is strong, and my spirits are high. I'm in a great frame of mind because I know I'm in good hands with the doctors and medical staff here at St. Joseph's Hospital. They are confident that today's surgery will allow me to resume all of my usual professional and personal activities and afford me a positive long-term health prognosis without having to change anything about my way of life.

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    "Any issue involving the heart has the potential to be serious. Staying on top of your health is always the first and most important thing you can do for yourself and your family."

    Boone has been Yankees manager since 2018, leading the storied franchise to the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in 2019, while they lost in the AL Division Series (ALDS) last year.

    The 47-year-old was an All-Star with the Yankees in 2003.

    "It's a necessary step,'' Cashman said of Boone's surgery. "It's something that's not avoidable and needs to be taken care of, but he has no fear and I know he's just in great hands and it's just a temporary timeout. He looks forward to getting back to doing what he does best and doing what he loves, which is baseball.'

    "When you hear 'pacemaker,' it kind of sets off a lot of alarms of concern... No one's going to do more research than the person that's going to be going through this, and I felt so comforted by the way he communicated with me on it that he put me at ease."

    Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner added: "The thoughts of the entire organisation are with Aaron and his family as he undergoes this procedure and takes the time he needs to properly heal.

    "Aaron leads our players, coaches and staff with a rare combination of work ethic, intelligence and a genuine concern for others. Our only priority at this time is Aaron's health and well-being, and we will support him in every way throughout his recovery."

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    Springer, who joined the Blue Jays on a six-year, $150million contract via free agency – the largest deal in franchise history, debuted in Tuesday's 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

    A three-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger, Springer managed his first Spring Training hit against the Phillies.

    The arrival of MLB World Series champion Springer from the Houston Astros caused a splash, his wealth of postseason experience complimenting a young group of stars in Toronto – Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.

    In Toronto, Bichette is the first shortstop in MLB history to have a .300-plus batting average and a .500-plus slugging percentage in each of his first two seasons (minimum 125 plate appearances in both seasons), per Stats Perform.

    Blue Jays team-mate Biggio became the first player in league history to have at least 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 100 walks through his first 159 career games (that is how many games he has played so far).

    As for Guerrero, he is the only MLB player currently 21 or younger who has at least 100 career RBIs.

    Based on age at the time of games, the Blue Jays had the most hits (234), runs (148), home runs (38), RBIs (137), XBH (93) and BB (103) in 2020.

    "A lot of people will say that they're young, but I think they're advanced for their age," Springer said post-game.

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    "It's beyond impressive to be in the big leagues that young and to do the things all these guys can do."

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    Batting leadoff at TD Ballpark on Tuesday, 2017 World Series MVP Springer hit a single as a designated hitter.

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    He has 39 lead-off home runs in his career – fourth most all-time behind Rickey Henderson (73), Ian Kinsler (48) and Brady Anderson (44).

    Springer has recorded seven career World Series home runs – most from the lead-off spot all-time – and he is 19-for-56 (.339) in the World Series in his career. No other current Blue Jays player has a World Series hit in their career.

    The 31-year-old's 174 home runs since debuting in MLB via Houston are third most by an Astro in a player's first seven career seasons, behind only Jeff Bagwell (187) and Lance Berkman (180).

    Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo added: "I like when he leads off like we did today. I like that. But we'll see."

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