A week ago, the Yanks were riding high on the wave of a 10-game win streak, but that was snapped Sunday and the club sputtered against the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo, dropping three of four mid-week. That stumble means their final playoff position remains up in the air. They currently sit in the fifth seed and would face off against the fourth-seeded Chicago White Sox in the first round. To move up to fourth and gain home field advantage for that matchup, they’d need to overcome a two-game deficit over these final three games. And if they can’t get back to their winning ways, it’s possible they could fall all the way to the seventh seed in the American League, as the Blue Jays sit just two games off the pace for second place in the division.
They’ll face a Miami team that is desperate to clinch a playoff berth. The Don Mattingly-skippered Marlins are currently sitting in the sixth seed, but the National League postseason bubble is heavily congested: the ninth-place Philadelphia Phillies are just a game behind Miami, who’ve dropped four of their last five.
The Yankees will give the ball to J.A. Happ, who’s enjoyed a strong season after a shaky first couple of outings. The 37-year-old lefty sports a 3.25 ERA (4.36 FIP) and 1.06 WHIP with 39 strikeouts and 13 walks in 44.1 innings. His last start — an eight-inning shutout effort against the Red Sox Saturday in which he struck out nine and walked none — may have been his season’s best. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last six outings.
The Marlins will turn to hard-throwing right-hander Sandy Alcántara, who’s posted a 3.12 ERA (4.17 FIP) with 30 strikeouts and 13 walks in 34.2 innings. The 25-year-old relies primarily on his sinker (which he throws 42% of the time) and slider (25.4%). The sinker has averaged 96.2 mph this season and he ranks in the 91st percentile in overall fastball velocity, per Baseball Savant.
Here’s the lineup the Yankees will send up against him:
And here’s the lineup Mattingly has filled out for Miami:
Game 58 of 60 • 3 games to go. Magic number is 2. Just win, baby. • The starting 9 behind starting pitcher Sandy Alcantara pic.twitter.com/KgEpEctTmP— Swings and Mishes (@SwingsAndMishes) September 25, 2020
In roster news, the Yankees announced Friday afternoon that lefty reliever Tyler Lyons had been sent to the Alternate Site in Scranton. Righty Miguel Yajure was recalled.
Game time: 7:05 p.m. ET
Location: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx, NY
TV broadcast: YES
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM
Online Stream: MLB.tv