Yankees: J.A. Happ starts ALDS Game 1; Masahiro Tanaka gets Game 2
It has been announced that J.A. Happ will start Game 1 of the ALDS for the Yankees, and Masahiro Tanaka will get the nod in Game 2 at Fenway Park.
Manager Aaron Boone has announced that the Yankees will start J.A. Happ in Game 1 of the ALDS, and Masahiro Tanaka will get Game 2 against the Red Sox in Boston.
The left-handed Happ has been absolutely dominant for the Yanks ever since they have acquired him from the Blue Jays for infielder Brandon Drury and outfield prospect Billy McKinney. In 11 regular season starts, he went 7-0, posting a 2.69 ERA with 63 strikeouts while giving up just 51 hits and 19 earned runs.
In Happ’s four starts that he had against the Red Sox this year, he posted a 1.99 ERA with 29 strikeouts giving up 17 hits and five earned runs. He also limited the potent Red Sox lineup to a pedestrian .200 batting average.
Happ threw five shutout innings last Friday at Fenway Park before giving up a grand slam in the sixth inning. Regardless, he usually doesn’t make many mistakes. In the end, the Yanks won the game 11-6.
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Should we trust Happ? Absolutely! He’s been vital to the Bombers second-half success and is a consistent source of quality innings that takes pressure off the often overused bullpen.
He’s the perfect choice to start Game 1 of the ALDS. This is also a sign that the Yanks need to prioritize re-signing Happ this offseason. They can’t afford to lose him — and with the luxury tax threshold being reset, GM Brian Cashman will have plenty of money to keep him in pinstripes.
Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka has had his shares of up’s and down’s in 2018. However, in his last five starts, Masa’s been improved, posting a 2.79 ERA with 31 strikeouts while giving up just 10 hits and nine earned runs.
In four starts against the Red Sox this season, he’s posted a 7.58 ERA with 16 earned runs and six home runs allowed, which isn’t reassuring. However, if he keeps the ball low in the zone and jumps ahead of the count, we could get “Tanaka Time,” which we all know and love.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale will be on the hill for Game 1, and while he’s been dominant against the Yankees, posting a 0.69 ERA while going 2-0 with one earned run and one home run allowed, the Postseason has been a different story for him.
Sale posted an 8.38 ERA in the 2017 ALDS against the Astros — going 0-2 in 9.2 innings while giving up nine earned runs and four home runs. For whatever the reason, his velocity tends to diminish in the Postseason.
Another left-hander, David Price will start Game 2. As we know, Price is often time the Yanks’ punching bag. He is excellent against other teams, but when it comes to the Bombers, it’s a whole other story. Against New York this season, Price went 0-3 posting with a 10.34 ERA while allowing 18 earned runs and nine home runs.
With the above evidence, I’m cautiously optimistic about the Yankees winning the ALDS, but I’m going to be taking this one out at a time. This is going to be a historical American League Divison Series to watch unfold.