Yankees look to back rookie starter with more homers

MLB

The New York Yankees haven’t been shy about flexing their muscles in the postseason.

After recording 31 runs and a major league-record 11 homers in their first three postseason contests, the Yankees aim to push the top-seeded Tampa Bay Rays to the brink of elimination on Tuesday in Game 2 of the best-of-five American League Division Series at San Diego.

Giancarlo Stanton has gone deep in all three postseason contests, including belting New York’s second grand slam in as many games to provide the exclamation point on a 9-3 victory in the series opener on Monday.

Gio Urshela had a grand slam in the Yankees’ 10-9 win over the Cleveland Indians in the wild-card round on Wednesday. He has five hits, five RBIs and three runs in the three postseason games.

Kyle Higashioka also went deep on Monday, giving him four homers and nine RBIs while batting a crisp .360 (9-for-25) in his past seven games overall.

AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu had a pair of singles in the opener to improve to 11-for-23 (.478) with five RBIs and four runs during his five-game hitting streak.

“I think they have a lot of faith and a lot of trust in each other,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of his power-packed lineup. “They know they are up there to make it very difficult on a pitcher. … If you can make it heavy for the opponent, eventually one of our guys more often than not will get you.”

A repeat of the offensive support certainly would be welcomed by New York rookie right-hander Deivi Garcia, who at 21 years and 140 days old will become the youngest pitcher to make a postseason start in franchise history.

“Super excited,” Garcia said of his reaction upon hearing the news. “When they finally told me that I was going to get the ball for Game 2, what can I say? Just so excited about it. At the same time, very thankful for the opportunity and I will try to go out there and do the best I can.”

Garcia posted a 3-2 record with a 4.98 ERA in 34 1/3 innings pitched during the regular season. He did not face the Rays this season among his six appearances, all starts.

When Gerrit Cole was asked if he had any advice for Garcia, the Yankees ace was pretty succinct: “Just be yourself. Be yourself.”

Tampa Bay will counter with 6-foot-8 right-hander Tyler Glasnow, who posted a 1-1 record with a 3.77 ERA with 22 strikeouts in three starts (14 1/3 innings) against New York this season. He went 5-1 with a 4.08 ERA in 11 starts overall this year.

Glasnow owns a 1-2 mark with a 3.70 ERA in five career starts versus the Yankees.

“We have a lot of confidence in this club for good reason,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of his team, which won eight of the 10 meetings versus the Yankees in the regular season.

“We have the right guy on the mound (Tuesday) with Tyler. … The guys are going to be ready to go, there’s no doubt. They’ll get irritated and they are irritated right now, but they’ll bounce right back when we get on the bus.”

Randy Arozarena is 7-for-12 (.583) with two doubles, one triple and one homer in the postseason and is 13-for-27 (.481) with three homers, five RBIs and 11 runs in his past seven games overall.

–Field Level Media

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