Twenty-one hours later: On with the show, this is it.
Since the original Game 5 was rained out and the Yankees got an extra day, the team has decided to eschew Jameson Taillon for Nestor Cortes on short rest. The lefty wasn’t quite at his best on Friday, allowing two runs in five innings with three walks and three strikeouts. Still, we know what his ceiling is and how he can take over a game, and in one as pivotal as Game 5, it absolutely makes sense for him to be the move. Should you advance, Game 1 of a best-of-seven is the game that matters the least, so the risk of a weaker starter — like Taillon — is somewhat hedged.
Since Cortes does not have much experience on three days’ rest though, expect a relatively quick hook after a few innings. Pretty much all hands are available today — including Gerrit Cole — as the Yankees face off with the Guardians in the win-or-go-home showdown at Yankee Stadium. The night off at least helped the Yankees’ bullpen catch a breather. New York has home-field advantage and the Bronx should be electric, but anything can happen in a single game.
Instead of countering with their own better pitcher on short rest in Shane Bieber, Terry Francona’s Guardians will send out Aaron Civale. He hasn’t pitched in the playoffs yet and has been inactive since October 5th. He had three different IL stints this season, and his 4.92 ERA is the latest example of his rollercoaster career, showing flashes of brilliance and struggling to be effective in turn. Civale has always had a high HR rate though, so the Yankees should be looking to take him deep early.
Yesterday, Francona said that Civale will pitch until he can’t go anymore. Nonetheless, Tito will likely have a quick hook if the right-hander falls apart — especially because the Guardians’ four best relievers are all rested — but keep in mind that Civale might get a chance to work through the lineup twice. Will Bieber be a bullpen option? That remains to be seen; Francona said that he’ll be out there, but appears reluctant to use him.
This is it, friends. Get hype.
How to watch
Location: Yankee Stadium — The Bronx, NY
First pitch: 4:07 pm ET
TV broadcast: TBS
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9, WADO 1380