The Yankees advanced to the ALDS with a thrilling Wild Card victory in Cleveland last week. They’ll now face the Tampa Bay Rays, the team that went 8-2 against the Yanks this season en route to winning the AL East. 2018 AL Cy Young award winner Blake Snell awaits them in Game 1. The Yankees have seen Snell multiple times the past few seasons, so there’s plenty of history there. Let’s take a look at how they’ve fared.
DJ LeMahieu: 6-14 (.429), .984 OPS
Shocker, DJ has great numbers against Snell. The man literally invented hitting a baseball.
Aaron Judge: 1-16 (.063), .381 OPS
Judge and Snell are notoriously buddies. However, it seems that Snell has always gotten the best of his friend.
The switch-hitting Hicks will be hitting from the right side against the left-handed Snell. He does have the one homer, but not a ton of success against Snell. Look for Hicks to do what he does best and work some early walks.
Luke Voit: 1-9 (.111), 1 HR, .829 OPS
Voit only has one hit off of Snell, but the hit is a homer. He’s worked four walks as well. Therefore, the success OPS wise is much better than the batting average would suggest.
Giancarlo Stanton: 2-11 (.182), 1 HR, .727 OPS
Stanton has just two hits off Snell, both of which have gone for extra bases. That includes a home run at his first ever home game in the Bronx back in 2018.
The Yankees have gotten to Blake Snell before.
In Giancarlo Stanton's Bronx debut he sent Cy Snell's slider for a 458 foot, 117 MPH ride.
Stanton has gone deep in each of the Yankees’ first two postseason games. It would be huge if he could keep that up tonight.
Gio Urshela: 2-14 (.143), .286 OPS
Wednesday night’s hero has some pretty terrible numbers against Snell. Maybe the red-hot Gio can change his fate against Snell in Game 1.
Gleyber Torres: 2-13 (.154), 1 HR, .697 OPS
Baby Gleyby’s at-bats in Cleveland were much more productive than what we saw most of the regular season. He’s had limited success against Snell, but if he keeps the same approach as he did last series, Gleyber will be fine.
Brett Gardner: 6-21 (.286), 1 HR, .747 OPS
Here’s where things get interesting. We saw Gardner start both games in Cleveland against right-handed starting pitchers. Despite Snell being a lefty, Gardner’s numbers against him are actually pretty good. Does Boone roll with Gardy again in Game 1?
Clint Frazier: 1-10 (.100), .282 OPS
I thought that Frazier being a righty meant he was a lock to start over Gardner with a lefty on the mound. In the small sample size, however, Clint’s numbers are very bad against Snell. How much stock do they put into ten at-bats? I wouldn’t think too much, but who knows.
Kyle Higashioka: 1-4 (.250), .500 OPS
Higgy has just four at-bats against Snell, and with Gerrit Cole on the mound tonight, he’ll be in the Game 1 lineup. There’s another Yankees catcher that has seen Snell more though.
Gary Sanchez: 6-20 (.300), 5 HR, 1.581 OPS
With Stanton DHing and Higashioka catching Cole, Gary will likely start Game 1 on the bench. He also has the best numbers on the team against Snell by far. He’s taken him deep five times, and walked seven times. Is it worth messing with Cole and Higgy or benching Stanton to get his bat in the lineup? I don’t see it happening. But man, is it going to be hard seeing a guy with this stat line against Snell on the bench tonight.
So there you have it. The Yankees have varying levels of success against Snell. The bottom line is, they have to hit him. You need to win Cole’s starts, and I’m more confident in their ability to hit Snell than the Rays’ bullpen. We’ll see what happens tonight.