We’re so close to another Yankee playoff run, one that will hopefully end with a parade down the Canyon of Heroes. Just before that, though, the Yankees have one more series to finish out the year, traveling to Texas to take on the Rangers.
These two teams faced off three weeks ago in the Bronx and the Yankees took two out of three. This weekend, expect the Yankees to continue their bullpen auditions while balancing the last tuneup starts of the three big rotation pieces.
Friday: James Paxton vs. Joe Palumbo
Paxton is lined up to take the ball for ALDS Game 1 in the Bronx next Friday, making his postseason debut along the way. He’s been one of the best pitchers in baseball in the second half, with his 21.8% K-BB% rate smack dab between Stephen Strasburg and Lance Lynn, two guys that will get downballot Cy Young votes. Paxton’s showing us the dominant form we all hoped he’d bring this year, and in his last start before the playoffs, expect to see him test out the approach he’ll use against the Twins.
Palumbo is a September callup who has been kicked around a bit in his 13.2 MLB innings, but he rode a sub-3.00 ERA in Double- and Triple-A in 2019. He was the team’s #9 prospect headed into the season.
Saturday: Luis Severino vs. TBD
Luis Severino is showing no signs of rust in his first two appearances this year, throwing nine shutout innings with a 13:2 K:BB ratio. Those starts came against the Angels and Blue Jays, both teams that have better offenses than the Rangers, so while we may not learn much new about Sevy, we can expect him to have very few reins on him. He threw 80 pitches against Toronto, and should be able to throw 90-100 on Saturday, which is right about what the team will allow him to throw in the playoffs.
The Rangers have yet to set their starter for Saturday. They have used the opener about a dozen times this season, so we’ll see if they do that again or roll with a callup.
Sunday: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Lance Lynn
The last tuneup start for the Yankees this weekend will be for the guy having the worst season of the three, but the one with the best postseason track record. Tanaka’s been burned by the home run - as to be expected at this point - with 12 HR allowed in 74 second-half innings. That number could go up in the Texas heat.
On the other side will be Lance Lynn, who is putting the finishing touches on a fantastic 2019 season. The right-hander has been worth nearly 7 rWAR, and has struck out more than four batters than he’s walked. He’s not quite the Lynn that Yankee fans might remember from his brief time in pinstripes. This should be a strong matchup to close out the regular season slate.