Aaron Boone Got Away With Using Bullpen, and Now Yankees Are All-In

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Aaron Boone Got Away With Using Bullpen, and Now Yankees Are All-In

What a great day for New York sports teams, especially the Yankees, who were in a do-or-die situation. They got seven strong innings from starter Gerrit Cole and two hitless innings from their beleaguered bullpen, and now we have a winner-take all Game 5 tonight in the Bronx.

With the Giants and Jets both winning and massively exceeding preseason expectations, this is a great morning to be a New York sports fan. Even the folks in Buffalo came up winners when the Bills picked off Patrick Mahomes’ final pass in their mega-matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Could New York’s collective luck be turning after 2 1/2 years of everything falling apart systemically?

Well, a lot of that depends on the Yankees tonight, as they send Jameson Taillon to the mound against the Guardians’ Aaron Civale, weather permitting. Rain is forecast for the 7:07 p.m. start, but it should be all clear by 9 p.m., which means it is a great bet that a bunch of people are going to be bleary-eyed at work on Tuesday morning.

Of course, that Game 4 win will mean little for the Yankees if they come up short tonight and the fans boo Aaron Judge again and Aaron Boone ends up getting fired, which has been predicted by Sports Illustrated.

Harrison Bader is the New Aaron Judge

But as we told you yesterday in setting up Game 4, there is a new go-to bat in the lineup. Trade deadline acquisition Harrison Bader, who grew up just a few miles from Yankee Stadium in Bronxville, N.Y., is now their leading hitter in the postseason. He put them ahead to stay last night with a two-run homer — his third dinger of the series — to end Cal Quantrill’s Progressive Field unbeaten streak at 44 games.

Keep that one in mind, trend bettors. Because every trend has an end point. Even Quantrill’s.

All that matters tonight is who emerges as the winner, and the Yankees have a lot riding on Taillon, who was the loser in Game 2 when he allowed three hits and was charged with two earned runs without recording an out when he came in to pitch the 10th inning with the score tied 2-2 in a game Cleveland won 4-2.

Ironic that this is the best pitcher Aaron Boone can put on the mound as a winner-take-all Game 5 starter for a team with a $250.8 million payroll. It would not be surprising for Boone to yank Taillon quickly if a quick hook is called for. It is all hands on deck, and New York has 12 pitchers on the postseason roster. All except Cole figure to be available, and Clay Holmes worked the eighth last night, while Wandy Peralta pitched his fourth straight game and needed only seven pitches to close out the ninth. And since absolutely anything is possible in a winner-take-all game, we would not rule out Cole pitching in relief in extra innings if this one goes past midnight. Unlikely, but we have seen an 18-inning game already this postseason, so you never know.

Taillon went 14-5 in the regular season and only faced the Indians once, holding them to one earned run on seven hits on April 22. Civale (5-6 with a 4.92 ERA in the regular season) faced the Yankees twice. He suffered a loss on July 2 in which he allowed four earned runs on five hits in six innings. That’s along with a loss on April in which he lasted just three innings and surrendered seven hits and six earned runs.

What Do The Oddsmakers Think?

The Yankees are favored by 1 1/2 runs and are -150 to -160 on the moneyline. That’s mostly because the stats listed above regarding Civale were run through computer simulators and looked at by traders at the big sportsbooks. They decided that Terry Francona is sending out a worse starter than Boone is.

The over/under on innings pitched by both starters is just 3 1/2, and the odds on Bader homering for a fourth time in this series are at +900. Judge, by comparison, is just +220 to hit a home run. Guardians slugger Jose Ramirez is the only player in this series batting above .300, and he is on the board at +475 to clear the fences at The House That Ruth Built. Josh Naylor is also +475, not including style points while rounding the bases.

The Guardians’ hitters have 64 strikeouts against 49 hits, while the Yankees’ hitters have struck out 41 times and have just 22 hits. That should give you an indication of just how anemic the Yankees have been at the plate in this series. It certainly does not justify the nickname “Bronx Bombers” at this juncture.

So it becomes a question of whether Civale has benefitted from the lack of work. He last pitched back on October 5 against Kansas City and got the W. That gave him four consecutive pitching victories and wins in seven of his most recent eight starts. Taillon got the win in six of his last seven regular-season starts, with 38 strikeouts and just eight walks, but 42 hits allowed.

Aside From Rain, What Is The Forecast?

Look, neither team has its ace available, and either Boone or Francona is going to be the subject of some serious second-guessing Tuesday. That’s while the other manager will be talking about what he plans to do against the Houston Astros and starter Justin Verlander when the American League championship series begins in Texas on Wednesday night.

The Astros are now the +150 favorites to win the World Series, the San Diego Padres are +300, the Philadelphia Phillies are +350, the Yankees are +550, and the Guardians are +1300.

As for tonight’s game, the weather should be a factor unless the forecast shifts and the rain that is scheduled to fall between 6 and 9:30 p.m. holds off. But if it falls, the outfield is going to be slippery when the game ultimately begins, and the temperature will drop to 55 degrees by 11 p.m. when this one could still be in the early innings.

Wet conditions generally have no discernable impact on whether it is a high- or low-scoring game. But they change the ability of outfielders to chase down balls while running full speed, and they can lead to outfield slips and slides that generally favor the hitters who get hit the ball into wet areas of the field. (The infield will be covered by a tarp while it is raining).

And given the anarchy conditions that New Yorkers have been dealing with lately, it is questionable whether the Guardians’ team bus can make it to Yankee Stadium without encountering some sort of unexpected trouble.

What Are The Best Bets?

As we did yesterday, we will suggest a parlay for New Yorkers who want to Yankees to win. And again, these parlays can be difficult to find because of restrictions at the different New York sportsbooks. But anyone already actively wagering in New York knows the importance of shopping around.

We were able to find this at PointsBet:

  • Leg one is Yankees ML (-160).
  • Leg two is under 7.5 runs (-120), because three of the four games in this series have gone under, and the Guardians scored just three runs combined in two games vs. Tampa in the wild-card round.
  • Leg three is Civale over 3 1/2 strikeouts (-135), because he has had at least five in his last three starts.
  • Leg four is Anthony Rizzo over 0.5 hits (-145), because he shares the team postseason lead with a .286 average.
  • Leg five is Bader over 0.5 hits (-125), because he also is hitting .286.

That gets you a line of +1500, and you need five likely things to happen (unless you feel a Yankees win is unlikely because they are snakebitten.)

Look, 15-1 would be a moneymaker that would help shake off that Tuesday morning grogginess if this thing goes into the early hours. As always, we counsel that you wager wisely. And if you are attending the game, bring an umbrella and use one of the small private parking lots off the Grand Concourse on 164th or 165th streets. The money you save by parking there can cover your wager, if you so choose. Good luck.

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