Analysis

Yankees: Should Brett Gardner Start The Wild Card Game?

The Yankees are just one week away from the Wild Card game and have a few decisions to make, one of them which is whether or not to start Brett Gardner.

The one game Wildcard has been looming in front of the Yankees and it’s fanbase for over a month now. Well, here we are, just one week away from our next annual stress test and while we all continue to contemplate who should be the starting pitcher on October 3, I think we could be overlooking another important question regarding left field.

Andrew McCutchen or Brett Gardner?

I heard that. You just answered McCutchen.

At the surface, I can not blame you. While he is batting just .225, he has a stellar OBP of over .400 due in part to his patience at the dish which has resulted in 20 walks in just 22 games played in pinstripes. Rest assured, getting on base will be the key ask of either McCutchen or Gardner when October 3 rolls around.

Quite frankly, I may have said McCutchen a week ago myself. After all, he even has the experience in win or go home situations, as he found himself in three consecutive one-game wildcards (2013-2015) with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

However on Monday night, after Hicks had to be removed due to a tight left hamstring, in came Brett Gardner. Gardy singled to center and then went first to home on a double to left by Giancarlo Stanton. It was something about that run from first to home that energized myself and his teammates.

Was that enough for me to erase the fact that he has been sub-par this season? I don’t think it was, perhaps it was his go-ahead home run in last years one-game Wild Card, or the 12-pitch at-bat in Game Five of last years ALDS that started to play in my mind.

For me, a one-game playoff is a game of emotion, grit, and energy. Brett Gardner sure fits that mold. I just can’t sit him.

Oh, and he just hit a triple as I hit publish.

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