After last night’s exhilarating win, the Yankees are turning to young gun Deivi Garcia in Game 2. Deivi has been great for the Yankees in limited time this year, and we’ve written extensively about what makes him great.
Garcia combines a deceptive fastball with a high-spin curveball and wipeout slider. However, it is actually his changeup that will be the key pitch for him tonight. As a team, the Rays crush breaking balls. They were the best team in all of baseball against curveballs this year and top 10 against sliders.
Ordinarily that would sound like a tough matchup for a pitcher like Garcia, but Deivi actually used his changeup more than any other off-speed pitch this year. He threw it 17% of the time whereas he relied on his curve and slider closer to 10% of the time each.
Here’s a video of the changeup:
And you can see why this will be such an important pitch for Garcia tonight. The Rays are likely to stack their lineup with lefties to have the platoon advantage as much as possible. That means lots of left on right matchups from the likes of Ji-Man Choi, Brandon Lowe, Joey Wendle, Kevin Kiermaier, and possible Austin Meadows and Michael Perez. In those matchups, look for Deivi to use his changeup to complement his fastball since it stays away from lefty batters.
I’m excited for tonight’s game with the Yankees having a chance to go up 2-0 in this ALDS, and I’ll be watching closely to see how Deivi Garcia uses his changeup to neutralize the lefties in the Rays lineup.