AL Wild Card Game Preview

Story posted October 5, 2021 in Sports, CommRadio by James Morrison

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will meet in the American League Wild Card game at Fenway Park after each team finished with a record of 92-70. 

This rivalry is one of the oldest and most notable in all of sports, and the two teams meeting in a winner-take-all game makes it that much more intriguing.

For the New York Yankees, they have come in winning their last six games against Boston.

Obviously, New York is going to have the momentum going into the game because of that, and they have Gerrit Cole starting on the mound for them. 

Cole has pitched 22 innings against the Red Sox this year and allowed 13 runs in those games.

The Yankees lineup will likely feature Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher Kyle Higashioka over Gary Sanchez. 

Backup infielder Rougned Odor is likely to get the start at third base with D.J. LeMahieu recently being placed on the 10-day injured list. 

The rest of the Yankees infield projects to look like trade-deadline pickup Anthony Rizzo at first base, another former Cub in Gleyber Torres at second base and defensive stalwart Gio Urshela at shortstop.

The outfield projects to look like trade-deadline addition Joey Gallo in left, veteran Brett Gardner in center and star player Aaron Judge in right. 

Giancarlo Stanton, who recently hit a game-changing home run against the Red Sox back in September, will likely be the designated hitter.

As for the Red Sox they will have Nate Eovaldi on the mound for the game. Eovaldi has pitched 31.1 innings against the Yankees and has allowed 15 runs in that span. 

The Red Sox will also likely be going with Kevin Plawecki behind the plate instead of normal starter Christian Vazquez because Plawecki is the personal catcher to Eovaldi. 

Christian Arroyo will also likely get the start at second base because starter Jose Iglesias is ineligible for the postseason. 

The rest of the infield will likely look like trade-deadline addition Kyle Schwarber at first base over rookie Bobby Dalbec, team leader Xander Bogaerts at shortstop and all star Rafael Devers at third base.

In the outfield it will most likely be the usual Alex Verdugo in left, Kike Hernandez in center and Hunter Renfroe in right. This has been one of the best outfields in the league purely based off of throwing runners out. 

The biggest question mark of the game in terms of injury is if J.D. Martinez will start at designated hitter for Boston after suffering an injury in the team’s last game. 

If Martinez is not able to go Schwarber will likely go to designated hitter and either Dalbec or Travis Shaw will slot in at first base. 

New York’s bullpen will likely be structured with Luis Severino and Domingo German as the long relievers with help from Michael King. Wandy Peralta is the primary lefty option out of the pen. 

The other relievers trying to get to Aroldis Chapman are Jonathan Loaisiga, Chad Green and Clay Holmes.

Boston’s bullpen has been in postseason form since halfway through the Nationals series and it will likely have a few starters in its bullpen such as Nick Pivetta and Eduardo Rodriguez.

The Red Sox will also be playing bullpen-by-committee by using Matt Barnes, Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck, Ryan Brasier, Hansel Robles, Hirokazu Sawamura, Martin Perez, Garrett Richards, Adam Ottavino and Austin Davis. 

First pitch is slated for 8 p.m. on ESPN.

 

James Morrison is a second year majoring in communications. To contact him, email jpm6920@psu.edu.