After an early 3-0 first inning deficit, the New York Yankees turned to Chad Green after Luis Severino exited the game recording just one out and leaving two runners on. All that Green had to do was make one tiny mistake and the Yankees would find themselves down 5-0 before ever coming to the plate. But, he didn't. He came out as the same poised, confident relief pitcher we've seen all season. His brilliance has been surprising to say the least, and he shut the door to stop the bleeding yet again. The pulse of the stadium was still existent, but if the Yankees didn't score early, it would soon fade along with the chances of the Bronx Bombers moving on to the ALDS.
A lead off walk to Brett Gardner in the bottom of the 1st inning gave the Yankees some early hope of scratching across a run and cutting into the Twins' lead. After an Aaron Judge single jolting the crowd to its' feet, Didi Gregorius stepped up to the plate with two on and one out. With one swing of the bat "Sir Didi" was responsible for the first postseason runs recorded for the Yankees since October 18th, 2012. As the ball soared over the right field wall to tie the game at 3, just as you thought this team was going to fall flat on their faces, they reminded you why they belonged in the postseason.
Aaron Judge, the main attraction of the night, rose to the occasion. It no longer mattered how great he was during the regular season, it was time for him to shine when it mattered most, and shine he did. Judge went 2-4 with a big two run home run over the left field wall giving the Yankees some breathing room. He also was responsible for 3 of the 8 runs that catapulted New York over Minnesota. Even with the blasts of Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, and Didi Gregorius, there was one other hero that stole the show. David Robertson.
One could argue that Robertson gave the Yankees the gutsiest postseason relief performance in franchise history, other than Mariano Rivera in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. Comparing both lines, Mo and Robertson were eerily similar:
MARIANO RIVERA - 2003 ALCS Game 7
3.0 IP / 2 H / 0 ER / 0 BB / 3 SO
DAVID ROBERTSON - 2017 AL Wild Card Game
3.1 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 5 SO
Granted, Rivera pitched the Yankees into the World Series that night, but in a way, this game was equally as important for this franchise. This win validated the New York Yankees. This win validated all of the brilliant moves Brian Cashman has made in the last two years. This win brought optimism back to the Bronx. The Cleveland Indians won't be an easy team to beat, but if anyone can do it, it will be the young, talented, and naive 2017 New York Yankees.
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