Miller: Yankees, finally healthy, look “pretty dangerous”

It's difficult to out-slug teams in the postseason, MLB columnist Scott Miller says, but Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees will be a tough out

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
September 30, 2020 - 9:56 am
Aaron Judge Yankees

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The New York Yankees opened the 2020 postseason in Yankees fashion Tuesday, swatting four home runs to beat the Cleveland Indians 12-3. 

Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton and Brett Gardner all went deep, while ace Gerrit Cole allowed two runs and struck out 13 over seven innings.

It was a dominant all-around performance from start to finish.

“The Bronx Bombers have their lineup intact after an injury-filled year, and it looks like they’re hitting their groove pretty well right now,” Bleacher Report MLB columnist Scott Miller said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “The Yankees, I don’t think their pitching is deep enough to go all the way on pitching alone. They’re going to have to out-slug some teams, and that’s hard to do in October. You don’t get a steady diet of the other guys’ No. 4 and 5 starters. You’re getting quality pitching on most nights, and you’re getting some pretty good arms – both starters and relievers. 

“So it’s tough to just slug your way to victory this time of year,” Miller continued. “But if [Tuesday] was any glimpse of what could be – the Yankees, we know what their lineup can do – if [Game 1] was any glimpse moving forward, then the Yankees, after a rough-sledding season, they’re going to be pretty dangerous.”

The Yankees (33-27) were ravaged by injuries this season. They started 16-6 but lost 15 of their next 20 games to fall to 21-21. At that point, the playoffs were in doubt. 

Then they reeled off nine straight wins.

“They’ve had so many injuries,” Miller said. “For the longest time, it seemed like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton were both on the injured list. They had other injuries; they lost James Paxton out of their rotation for the season. There were some dicey moments where you wondered, a) might the Yankees not even make the playoffs, and b) if they do, are they really that good? 

“Well, with Judge back in the lineup, they’re facing the best pitcher in baseball this year,” Miller continued. “Shane Bieber has been unbelievable, and he didn’t even break a sweat yet and he was trailing 2-0 when Aaron Judge put a charge in that ball – second batter of the game – to put it over the fence and give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.”

The Yankees pounded 15 hits on the day, as Gardner and Torres combined to go 7-for-9 with six RBIs and five runs scored.

“The bottom of the lineup – Brett Gardner was hitting, Gleyber Torres was hitting,” Miller said. “If that continues, if those guys start getting on base for when it rolls around again and you get D.J. LeMahieu, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, if those guys start coming up with guys on base, that is not a recipe for success for their rivals.”