Yankees: Predicting the postseason starting rotation and bullpen for the ALDS

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 09: Adam Ottavino #0 of the New York Yankees celebrates the double play to end the sixth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium on May 09, 2019 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Middle Relief 

Tyler Lyons

Last season Stephen Tarpley earned a spot on the postseason roster after he had a strong September where he proved he could be very effective as a left-handed specialist. This postseason I see the same thing happening with Lyons after he impressed Boone and the rest of the coaching staff down the stretch.

Lyons likely won’t ever be brought in to face a righty or pitch in the later innings but he might be needed early in a game to get out a tough lefty. For that reason alone I think we’ll see him on the roster.

Adam Ottavino

Ottavino has had an excellent first season in pinstripes and he should play a huge role this October. Based on how he’s been used throughout the season I think we’ll see him be the first high leverage guy used out of the pen when one of the starters runs into some trouble. Similar to how Joe Girardi used David Robertson during the Yankees postseason run in 2017.

That means we could see him as early as the fourth or fifth inning in some games to get out of a big jam. Ottavino led the Yankees in games pitched with 73 appearances but Aaron Boone did a great job of resting him and his other top relievers during September so he should pitch a ton this postseason.

Tommy Kahnle

The same can be said for Tommy Kahnle who had a huge bounce-back campaign after an injury-plagued 2018. Kahnle finished just behind Ottavno for the team lead in games pitched with 72 but led the bullpen with a WHIP of 1.06 which speaks to how good his control has been this year. He also struck out 88 in 61.1 IP.

Kahnle’s fastball changeup mix helped him dominate hitters for most of the season, but he finished the year with a combined ERA of 6.11 in August and September and he allowed a team-high nine home runs. That’s a bit concerning, but it won’t stop Aaron Boone from calling his number late in games to be a part of the bridge to Aroldis Chapman.