Yankees hold advantage following five-game Rays-Astros series
After scoring a total of 23 runs in three playoff games, there should be little worry that a brief layoff would stunt the potent Yankees lineup.
The Yankees got precisely what they wanted out of both ALDS series’. In regards to their own, they made quick work of the Twins, sweeping them 3-0 — and have been back home in New York resting since Oct. 8.
As for the Astros and Rays, that best-3-of-5 battle will conclude on Thursday night in Houston. With Gerrit Cole on the hill for the ‘Stros, they’re the presumptive favorites — considering he struck out 15 Rays in Game 2 (third-most in postseason history).
However, no matter which rival club is victorious, the Yanks now hold a slight advantage headed into Saturday night’s ALCS Game 1.
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With Justin Verlander pitching on short rest in Game 4 of the division series, which culminated in the worst playoff performance of his career (four runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings), should Houston beat Tampa, Zack Greinke likely gets the ball in Game 1 of the championship series.
Though Greinke would be on full rest, he allowed six runs on five hits in 3.2 innings of Game 2 — and has proven to be completely hit or miss. Therefore, the Astros’ rotation is all out of whack, with Verlander likely getting Game 2 on Sunday and Game 6 (if necessary), and Cole in Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 7 (also if needed).
Naturally, Astros manager AJ Hinch could again throw his shooters out there on short rest, but it’s a risk.
The Rays will send ALDS Game 1 loser Tyler Glasnow to the mound on Thursday — and should the fourth year right-hander flourish, Tampa would be set to use 2018 AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell in Game 1 of the ALCS, followed by Charlie Morton.
Although going the full five games in the first round of the playoffs doesn’t throw off Tampa’s starting staff quite as much as it does Houston’s, it does put an extra tax on their bullpen and would, in turn, give the Yankees home-field advantage in the ALCS.
During the 2019 regular-season, the Yanks took 12-of-19 matchups from the Rays, which included going 8-2 record in the Bronx.
Also, manager Aaron Boone announced that Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton are healthy following injury scares. And even Aaron Hicks and C.C. Sabathia could be added to the ALCS roster as reinforcements.