It’s do-or-die time in the Bronx, as the Yankees take on the Astros facing a 2-0 deficit in this ALCS. They have the man they want on the mound, though, as once again Gerrit Cole will try to save their season. Cole has been the club’s MVP in the postseason, tallying 13 innings across two starts and allowing just three runs.
Cole will be opposed on the other side by Cristian Javier. The 25-year-old right-hander is representative of Houston’s pitching depth. Javier is being bumped up in the rotation thanks to Lance McCullers Jr’s. injury, but Javier in his own right had a great 2022 campaign. He totaled 148.2 innings with a stellar 152 ERA+, striking out 11.7 per nine. He relies on a 94-mph four-seamer, but his best pitch might be his slider, which opposing batters hit just .121 against this year.
Here’s the lineup Aaron Boone has filled out to face Javier, with first pitch at 5:07pm ET on TBS:
We have another shakeup for Game 3. Harrison Bader was bumped up to leadoff facing a left-hander in Game 2, but Anthony Rizzo will bat first with a right-handed pitcher on the mound again. Matt Carpenter is back in the fold as well, batting fifth, which means Giancarlo Stanton will head out to left field again.
The Carpenter/Stanton dynamic keeps both Oswald Peraza and Isiah Kiner-Falefa on the bench, with Oswaldo Cabrera handling shortstop duties. Josh Donaldson stays at third, while Jose Trevino is back behind the dish, after Kyle Higashioka got a start with Luis Severino on the mound.
Will this nine be the one to breakthrough against the Astros? The presence of Cole on the mound means the offense hopefully won’t need a huge game against Javier to win, but a sign of life from the lineup would be hugely encouraging at this point. They were listless against Houston pitching through the first two games, and the club’s chances of coming back in this series and advancing hinge on the offense at least getting back to competency.
What do you think of this lineup? Is this the right group to get the Yankees back on track? Let us know in the comments.