The 2020 American League Wild Card Series between the Yankees and the Indians draws near. Information about the game continues to leak out ahead of first pitch. Just a short while ago the Yankees announced their lineup for the evening, and it is an interesting one.
The top of the lineup looks fine, with the first seven Yankees stepping to the plate against Shane Bieber appear like the regular starters. I don’t necessarily love Aaron Hicks breaking up Aaron Judge and Luke Voit, but whatever, can’t complain too much about that. Things get weird, though, with the seven and eight batters. Aaron Boone opted to start Brett Gardner over Clint Frazier, which raises some eyebrows.
Gardner finished the season with a dead-cat bounce, while Frazier slumped down the stretch, but momentum doesn’t really matter going into the playoffs. Gardner has homered off Bieber before, but again, past results don’t predict future outcomes.
It’s certainly not advisable to sit the 149 wRC+ outfielder in the same game that Kyle Higashioka gets the start. That’s just giving Bieber a soft landing spot in the lineup. Maybe it works—hopefully it does. I’m just not sure it’s putting the team in the best position to succeed.
What do you think of the lineup? Would you construct it any differently? Let us know in the comment section below!