As Drew mentioned, it was announced last night that Saturday’s scheduled doubleheader between the Yankees and Orioles was postponed due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Irene. One of the games will be made up in a split-doubleheader Sunday while the other will be made as a night game on September 8.
Of course, the Yankees tried earlier this week to schedule a doubleheader for Friday, but the Orioles refused. And Yankees manager Joe Girardi told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com that they are still peeved about the situation.
“I don’t understand why we didn’t play a split doubleheader today,” an agitated Girardi said. “They changed things all over the country. They did it in Philadelphia, in Boston, in Florida, football’s been canceled. I mean, how long’s this forecast been out? Everyone knew it was going to rain like cats and dogs on Saturday. And now to take away our only off day? It makes zero sense. Someone’s got to step up.”
“We didn’t agree to play Sept. 8,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We’re going to fight it. It just doesn’t make sense.”
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun lays out the scenario for the Baltimore side, writing among other things that the Orioles didn’t want to lose a home night gate against the Yankees. He also posits that the Orioles were coming off an 11-day, 10-game roadtrip and were still reeling as an organization following the death of Mike Flanagan.
I’m not really sure what the Yankees could accomplish by fighting this thing. It’s possible they could schedule a last-minute doubleheader for Monday or consider skipping the September 8 game altogether, but when the Yankees are basically a lock to make the playoffs, it’s tough to get too worked up about it.
The Red Sox have some tough decisions to make in advance of the World Series next week; namely, what to do with some of their hottest-hitting players once the series shifts to a National League park — and National League rules. During a press conference on Saturday, manager Alex Cora said he’d be open to the idea of starting All-Star right fielder Mookie Betts at second base when the club’s regular DH, J.D. Martinez, is forced to play the outfield during away games.
The Red Sox carry home field advantage through the Fall Classic, so Games 1 and 2 will be played at Fenway Park — as well as Games 6 and 7, should those become necessary. Depending on the outcome of NLCS Game 7 later tonight, World Series Games 3 through 5 will be played at Dodger Stadium or Miller Park. That’s when Betts might take over the keystone from Ian Kinsler and Brock Holt, both of whom have shared second base duties over the course of the 2018 postseason.
The idea isn’t without merit. Betts and Martinez comprise two of the team’s top talents at the plate and, should the Red Sox need to stave off elimination in Games 4 and 5, sitting either of them doesn’t make sense. The 26-year-old Betts led the team with a staggering .346/.438/.640 batting line, 32 home runs, 30 stolen bases, and career-best 10.4 fWAR over 614 PA, while Martinez posted some career totals of his own, slashing .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs, a 1.031 OPS, and 5.9 fWAR in 649 PA. This wouldn’t be the first time Betts has taken reps at second, either, as he’s logged 15 games at the position over the course of his five-year career, most recently during a 4-1 win over the Yankees in August.
Whether or not Betts is considered a lock for all three games is another question, one to which Cora didn’t give a definite answer. “I don’t know, man,” the skipper told reporters Saturday. “[Betts] already played second during the regular season, so there’s always a chance, I guess.” He later added that while Betts would be taking ground balls at second, it’s part of the routine he’s maintained all year — so nothing should be read into it until a clear decision has been announced.