If the Yanks can battle their way to a win, they’ll be able to hand the ball to ace Gerrit Cole (albeit on short rest) in a decisive Game Five on Friday. But first, they’ll need help from lefty starter Jordan Montgomery and the host of relievers they’ll likely deploy Thursday night.
Montgomery, who last pitched two weeks ago, has had an uneven season, pitching to a 5.11 ERA over 10 starts totaling 44 innings. But he also carried a 3.87 FIP in those contests and boasted strong strikeout-to-walk numbers (47 K/9 BB). He’ll have his work cut out for him against a Tampa offense that has largely feasted on Yankees pitchers not named Cole. They hit better against lefties than righties during the regular season (.795 OPS vs. .738 OPS, respectively) and they’ve simply torched southpaws in a limited postseason sample thus far, to the tune of a .326 average and 1.038 OPS. Hey, at least Chapman and Britton are well rested.
The Yankees lineup, which will once again feature Kyle Higashioka behind the plate in place of Gary Sánchez, will square off against 28-year-old rookie Ryan Thompson, though for how long remains to be seen, as the Rays intend on using the side-arming righty as an opener. Thompson doesn’t have great numbers: a 4.44 ERA (4.33 FIP) and 1.41 WHIP in 26.1 innings this season.
Here’s the lineup Aaron Boone will roll out:
And here’s who the Rays will feature:
How to Watch
Time: 7:10 p.m. EST
Location: Petco Park, San Diego, California
Radio: ESPN Radio, WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280 (local listings)