The Wild Card Game is terrible, but it’s less awful when your team wins the game, right? After weeks of anticipation, the Yankees crushed the Athletics 7-2 to keep their postseason hopes alive. Now they will face the division rival Boston Red Sox in the ALDS.
There was much debate about who would start last night’s game, and they finally gave the ball to Luis Severino. The ace was dominant against Oakland, and even looked like his old self. Definitely a great sign moving forward. However, he won’t be able to start Game One for the Bombers. Instead, they’ve announced that J.A. Happ will get the nod. Aaron Boone also explained that he tapped Masahiro Tanaka for Game Two. That presumably leaves Luis Severino for Game Three, and CC Sabathia for Game Four. That rotation lets Happ go again in case of a Game Five.
As for the Red Sox, they will have Chris Sale start tomorrow night’s game, and David Price will take Game Two. Rick Porcello will start Game Three on Monday. Nathan Eovaldi was told to be ready to come out of the bullpen Friday, and be prepared to start Game Four.
It probably would have been better to have Severino face the Red Sox twice (if we could guarantee that ace Sevy would show up), but it was obviously more important to win the do-or-die game. Otherwise, this is the best rotation they have to offer. Happ has been great with the Yankees, though there is some concern that this will be his third time facing Boston since September 18th.
Tanaka will be pitching on extra, extra rest considering that his last outing was September 26th, and that should do him good. He was absolutely filthy in the postseason last year, so hopefully he can channel that as he squares off against Price.
Finally, if the series goes to Game Four, we’ll see CC Sabathia. Obviously far removed from the ace that he once was, he put together an overall really good season. His last appearance was September 27th, giving him ample time to rest his bulky knee. The big guy seemed to be running out of gas as the season winded down, but they should be able to pull him at the first sign of trouble given the deep bullpen.
All things considered, Boston’s rotation isn’t as scary as I thought. Especially given the state of Sale’s arm, and Price’s history against the Bombers. Throw in Porcello and Eovaldi and this is a winnable series. Fingers crossed that they jump all over Sale tomorrow night.
What do you think of the pitching matchups?