Three days removed from the Yankees' heartbreaking loss to the Houston Astros, MLB Network's Mark DeRosa joined Mike Francesa to discuss New York's complex strategy throughout the ALCS.
DeRosa explained what he would've done differently in the Yankees lineup, but the two had an heated exchange about how they would've approached Game 3 when the Yankees had a chance to take advantage of Astros' starter Gerrit Cole's rough first inning.
New York's first two batters — DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge — reached base safely prompting a crucial at-bat from Brett Gardner. The Yankees outfielder flew out to centerfield for the team's first out as Cole escaped the inning three batters later with no damage.
The situation is where Francesa and DeRosa disagreed with each other, with DeRosa saying Gardner should've bunted during the at-bat.
"I just thought it was funky ...," DeRosa said on 'Mike's On.' "You've got first and second against Gerrit Cole. You've got Brett Gardner up, probably your best bunter on the team ..."
Before DeRosa could finish his thought, the WFAN host immediately objected, "No! You can't bunt there!"
"Yes you can," claimed the 16-year MLB veteran.
"You know the hardest out he's ever going to get is the first one," Francesa said. "You can't hand it to him. Mark, shame on you. If you did that and you were the manager, if you bunted the (number) three hitter because you can't bun the three hitter there! He's in the three slot. The bottom line is that you cannot give the guy his first out of the game. That's the hardest one he's ever going to get."
Cole finished second in the league with 20 wins and his 2.50 ERA was third best among starting pitchers. He was a dominant force leading the way for the Astros into the postseason. Cole pitched seven innings and struck out seven batters in the 4-1 win over New York
"I'll give it to him," DeRosa said. "Sorry, I'm facing the best pitcher in the world. I've got to get the lead ... I wouldn't have hit Brett Gardner third."