The Yankees should start Aroldis Chapman vs the Rays in Game 4 of the ALDS.
This is the opener the New York Yankees should’ve been considering all along. With the Bombers’ backs against the wall heading into Game 4 of the ALDS on Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Rays, manager Aaron Boone needs to bring out the big guns in this “all hands on deck” contest.
There’s no doubt Yankees fans are still confident in Jordan Montgomery’s long-term outlook with the franchise, but he is not a do-or-die postseason game starter. He just isn’t, and there’s not much else to expand upon.
That’s why the Yankees should turn to Aroldis Chapman on Thursday night given how well-rested he is and try to have him go two innings. If he manages to keep his pitch count low, hell, give him three!
He pitched two innings against the Cleveland Indians and got the job done. Why not have him blow away the Rays to start the game to completely throw them off and give the Yankees a better chance at a fast start? Montgomery’s stuff isn’t overwhelming. It’s going to be a battle for the young pitcher no matter which way you look at it.
Plus, this is the “cute” pitching strategy that fans would’ve much likely preferred over the Deivi Garcia-JA Happ fiasco. Everyone knew Happ couldn’t be relied upon — that’s just the way it’s been, and we’d be fooling ourselves if we expected him to hold down the fort against Tyler Glasnow.
Putting Chapman on the bump could give the Yankees breathing room and play into the mental warfare aspect of this rivalry.
What do you do after that? Good question. Well, Zack Britton is well-rested, so he’s 100% available. Adam Ottavino can put forth a couple of frames — he didn’t look bad the other night. Even Jonathan Holder’s slower stuff could play a role in screwing up the Rays’ timing after they start the game going up against 100 MPH fastballs.
Then in the middle innings Boone can go to Montgomery and/or Garcia for some length. Playing the game assuming you’re going to need a “closer” is the wrong approach. The Rays need to be put in their places early on if the Yankees want to survive and force a Game 5. New York, as we’ve seen over the last two nights, will have trouble winning a back-and-forth, punch-for-punch battle.
Maybe Boone does something like this, with Nos. 2-5 being interchangeable:
- Aroldis Chapman (1-2 innings)
- Jonathan Holder (1-2 innings)
- Adam Ottavino (1-2 innings)
- Deivi Garcia (1-2 innings)
- Jordan Montgomery (1-2 innings)
- Zack Britton (1 inning)
Start the game with a closer and end it with another. If you can’t get nine solid innings out of those guys, then it’s probably time to go home anyway.
The Rays are bullpenning for Game 4. One-up them and send Chapman in as the starter and then just work backwards. It’ll be much easier to do that with a multi-run lead than scrambling to figure out who could keep the deficit at bay, which is what the Yankees did the last two nights.