The Yankees are playing the hits with their Game 5 ALDS lineup, featuring Gerrit Cole on the mound.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Well, if you’re the Yankees, maybe tweak it just a little. But that’s it!
After storming back with an against-the-ropes Game 4 win, Aaron Boone is largely playing his Game 5 lineup by the books, replicating a strategy that worked for him last time he attempted it.
In the interest of keeping the stability he enjoyed on Thursday, when a methodical effort from the offense finally paid off with a little Gleyber Torres-created insurance in the sixth inning, Boone will be rolling the same nine men out on Friday in back of Gerrit Cole.
The only alterations? Brett Gardner, ever the table-setter, is now batting eighth instead of sixth, where he registered a pair of hits in Game 4. Kyle Higashioka, of course, remains behind the plate.
If you thought Gary Sanchez would be opening this game behind the dish in the biggest contest of Cole’s Yankee career (and the team’s past decade?), you’re sorely mistaken.
Also carrying over from Thursday night is the middle-of-the-order innovation that worked. Luke Voit and Giancarlo Stanton will continue their role swap, with the red-hot No. 27 in the cleanup spot, and Voit batting fifth, the position he launched a nuke from in the previous contest.
Aaron Judge didn’t move anywhere, which we’ve been advocating for throughout his prolonged slump, but (sigh) it clearly wasn’t going to happen. We’ll move along and just keep crossing our fingers through his too-aggressive plate appearances.
This’ll be the second straight ALDS decider that features both Cole and the Rays’ Tyler Glasnow, who is working on just two days’ rest and likely operating as some sort of opener for Blake Snell. Last time around, the game took place in (shudder) Houston, but this time, Cole’s wearing the right uniform.
We’ve been ready for this for days, even when the path to Friday night looked awfully clouded.
Cole’s been ready for it his whole life.
Nothing glaring with the lineup. It’s go time.