4 bold postseason roster decisions Yankees need to make before ALDS

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 26: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammates after a win against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on August 26, 2022 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 26: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammates after a win against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on August 26, 2022 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Nestor Cortes Jr. #65 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Nestor Cortes Jr. #65 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

1. Start Nestor Cortes Jr. Game 1

Let’s preface this by saying the Yankees are NOT going to do this. They just won’t. Manager Aaron Boone already hinted Gerrit Cole would start Game 1.

But some might argue this is where the Yankees need to be bold. Nestor Cortes has been better than Cole all year. In fact, one could argue that’s been the case since last season, too!

The big argument here is the pressure factor. Cole seemingly has some issues with that, or maybe it’s just the Red Sox. Either way, pitching Cole in Game 1 and a hypothetical Game 5 puts him in two difficult situations, susceptible to wrath if he doesn’t deliver in both. Do you really want to do that with the $324 million ace, who has struggled with his emotions most of this year?

Let Nestor take it for Game 1. Then Cole can get Game 2 with lower stakes, regardless of whether the Yankees win or lose on Tuesday. This would then allow the Yankees to use Cole again on short rest for Game 5 if needed, and his power arsenal would play much better in that scenario over Nestor’s craftiness.

Then the Yankees can go Nestor/Luis Severino in Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS. If it’s against the Astros, Cole can get Game 3 at home and then be ready for a hypothetical Game 7 (on short rest, again). If it’s not against Houston, Cole should be able to handle Toronto (he has before on the road) and Seattle (1.40 ERA in six career starts at T-Mobile Park and 2.25 ERA in 11 overall starts against the M’s in his career).

Cole’s shown a penchant for blowing up. He’s far from a sure thing. If you want to count the 2020 postseason, fine, but don’t forget there were no fans in the stands. The pressure was much different. Maybe utilizing him differently may yield more positive results. It’s doubtful many would complain with this decision because Nestor is widely trusted over any starter by almost every fan.