Judge, Stanton power Yanks past A's in wild-card game

Ross Houston
October 7, 2018

Grooving a pitch to Aaron Judge is not the best strategy. Giancarlo Stanton capped the mauling with a monstrous drive in his postseason debut. By the late innings, the sellout crowd was chanting "We want Boston!". His 2.70 ERA and 4.42 strikeouts-per-walk put this year among his best and reversed his downward trend of recent seasons. Rookie manager Aaron Boone said he made the decision after a staff meeting Saturday, slept on it and finalized it the next day.

Boone honored those words, and he honored Betances' turnaround.

They progress to a five-game division series against their great rivals the Boston Red Sox, starting Friday at Fenway Park, while the season is over for Hendriks and the A's. He chugged into third with his first big league triple and let loose with a holler. NY became the first team since the 2001 A's to reach triple digits in wins and fail to finish first.

Boston won 5-4 the next day on Ortiz's RBI single in the 14th inning, won Game 6 in NY 4-2 behind Curt Schilling and his bloody sock, then blew out the Yankees 10-3 in the finale. He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth by fanning Marcus Semien but was lifted after allowing singles to Jonathan Lucroy and Nick Martini to open the fifth. Chad Green, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman combined for five-hit relief as NY rallied for an 8-4 victory.

Severino struggled in the second half, and he lasted just one-third of an inning in last year's Wild Card game, but his skipper is confident the righty is ready for the rebound tonight.

Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees heads to the dugout after he scored in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium on July 26, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

"I was too excited", Severino said.

The move was emblematic of what October baseball has become about: relievers, relievers and more relievers. "Anytime you get to put baseball on the forefront in Australia it's a good thing", Hendriks said. They won 108 games for a reason, and had a winning record against the Yankees this season, albeit not a big one, and most importantly, Boston have the best hitting team in the majors.

Now the real postseason can begin. Oakland is going with a similar lineup they've been rolling out lately.

"Taking it the same way, warming up the same as I do, trying to keep it as much as a relief appearance as I can", he said. "This is a tough ballpark to play in". The A's have lost eight consecutive winner-take-all postseason games since beating Willie Mays and the New York Mets in Game 7 of the 1973 World Series, and dropped all four of their postseason matchups against the Yankees. Davis hit a two-run home run off Zach Britton in the eighth, and Aroldis Chapman finished the five-hitter.

"He's hit so many big home runs for us in big games", Melvin said.

Severino was 14-2 at the All-Star break this year but slumped badly in the second half, and Boone's decision to start the 24-year-old right-hander against the A's instead of J.A. Happ or Masahiro Tanaka was intensely debated - the type of argument Boone used to enjoy as a television analyst who broadcast last year's wild-card game. You do have to give them credit.

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