ARLINGTON — DJ LeMahieu is ready to let it rip in the playoffs. After missing 21 games with painful inflammation in his right big/second toe area, LeMahieu went 4-for-16 with two walks in the last five games. LeMahieu thinks it was enough for him to know he can be impactful in the playoffs.
Aaron Boone isn’t sure yet.
“This time in between will be important as well,” the Yankees manager said of the five days between Wednesday’s season finale and the first game of the ALDS. “I do feel like he’s still guarded against it a little bit. Even yesterday. A tribute to how good a hitter he is and throws out a couple of hits and a walk. And I feel like it is still there, to where he’s picking his spots and I do see him favor it a little bit, but we’ll see.
“He’s going to be able to get some more strategic treatments leading up to the playoffs and hopefully that’s another level of getting him in a position.”
LeMahieu said the foot felt a little better than when he went on the injured list at the beginning of September.
LeMahieu went 0-for-4 in the Yankees 4-2 loss to the Rangers at Globe Life Field Wednesday.
Gleyber Torres was out of the lineup and still sick for the third straight day, missing the final four games of the season. The young infielder has been dealing with flu-like symptoms since the team arrived in Texas on Sunday night.
“A little better. He’s still under the weather. So he actually took the COVID test and was negative,” Boone said. “But he’s still dealing with it. He hasn’t had a fever which is good, but a sore throat and just body aches and that kind of thing. So hopefully he’s starting to feel a little bit better but not good enough to be in there today.”
Torres had been on a hot streak when the bug bit him.
Over his last 18 games, Torres is slashing .378/.427/.662 with 11 extra-base hits, including five homers and 23 RBI.
Boone had been waiting for at least two weeks to give Aaron Judge a day off as he pursued the American League single-season home run record. After the Yankees slugger hit No. 62, breaking Roger Maris’ 61-year old record on Tuesday night, he talked Judge into sitting Wednesday.
The only reason he would have started him again would have been if Judge had a realistic chance at the Triple Crown.
“That was probably the one temptation but in the end, I just felt like it was right that he was off,” Boone said.
There has been only one Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera, over the last 50 years.
His .311 batting average trails Minnesota’s Luis Arraez (.316) in the AL batting race. Arraez sat out three of the last six games with a left hamstring injury, but was planning to play Wednesday. Judge could have only passed him if the Twins infielder was to go hitless in three at-bats and Judge went 3-for-3.
Judge started 55 straight games and had a 33-game on-base streak to finish his season. He was slashing .337/.496/.707 with 30 extra-base hits including 19 homers and 44 runs scored during that 55-game span.
While everyone was watching Judge’s every at-bat, every swing and every move over the last month as he chased history, Gerrit Cole’s own record went under the radar Tuesday night. He recorded 257 strikeouts this season, beating Ron Guidry’s 248 for the Yankees single-season record.
Both honors were celebrated by the Yankees Tuesday night.
“For those two records to fall in probably five, seven minutes [apart]. It’s crazy. It’s unbelievable really,” Boone said. “I feel honored to be a part of it. And witness that, to see what Judge has done all year.
“Gerrit, 44 years and you know that season by Gator is one of those talked about you hear about Bob Gibson’s season. Ron Guidry, [1978 season] strikeouts against the Angels. And then for Gator to call in,” Boone continued. “We had him on speakerphone with the whole team, congratulating Gerrit was really a cool moment for the team and for Gerrit after the game. So just one of those nights that you feel privileged to be a part of and I thought the guys handled it really well.”
The Yankees have to wait to find out who they will face in the American League Division Series beginning on Tuesday. They are very familiar with the Tampa Bay Rays, who they went 11-8 against with a +6 run differential. They went 5-1 against the Cleveland Guardians with a +24 run differential.
“Obviously, Tampa we know really well. And they know us well. So, we’ll obviously be watching the series closely,” Boone said. “Cleveland has been one of the really good stories this year as far as to see their young roster, come of age and really just dominate the [American League Central] down stretch to win that division.
“They always pitch well, they’ve got an elite closer at the back end. Good starting pitching. A team that’s really adept at putting the ball in play and they’re athletic,” Boone continued. “They do a lot of different things. So hopefully, hopefully it goes three games and they beat each other up a little bit. You know at this point in the season, whoever you play, it’s going to be a challenge and you got to play well to win so we’ll await that hopefully, the downtime serves us well, we can strike that balance between staying sharp and getting guys rested. And hopefully that serves as well going into that series.”
Source: Berkshire mont
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