Yankees’ exceptional postseason pitching resulted in ALCS appearance


The New York Yankees have advanced to the American League Championship Series, which is underway. They’re going up against the league villain, the Houston Astros. How did we get here? Aside from a productive offense, the arms did their job!

The young and striving Guardians unexpectedly took the Yankees the full distance in the American League Division Series, going 5 games. This length of a series definitely required a strategic pitching plan on both sides of the field. The Yankees arguably had the deeper bullpen in this series, though much less dominant, and one of the best-structured rotations in the American League. The Guardians platooned three main arms and depended on a few other options to fill up the innings. Overall, New York’s staff was more built to manage a 5-7 game series without dipping into Aaron Civale types (and imagine if they’d had the right rest).


Yankees-Guardians ALDS pitching review and relevance to the next round

Let’s start with the Yankees ace right-hander, Gerrit Cole. Cole picked up two wins in the ALDS; one win to start it off, and one win to push the series to Game 5. Cole finished the series with a 2-0 record and an impressive 2.03 ERA, only giving up three earned runs, walking only two hitters and striking out 16 batters in 13.1 innings. Cole was a mastermind in this series, giving the Yankees the tools to navigate the streaky Guardians lineup. Cole’s repertoire was on point, and he was able to give sufficient innings in each start, allowing Aaron Boone to manage his bullpen effectively.

Though he started a Game 3 loss, Luis Severino looked better than expected with regards to his demeanor and approach. Severino let up three earned runs on eight hits in his outing, with no bases-on-balls allowed and six strikeouts. Aside from the 4.76 ERA, he was able to push through 5.2 innings, pounding the strike zone with a 68% strike rate in 106 total pitches. His overall line in this game allowed for four relievers to pick up where he left off after some early struggles seemed like he’d be doomed. Each threw less than two innings.

Lefty Nestor Cortes has been a trusted arm all year long in the Yankees’ rotation, and he took two of the starts in this series. Cortes pitched five innings in Game 2, allowing two earned runs in a game the Yankees dropped 4-2. He also started the pressure-filled Game 5 in the Bronx, giving another five innings and picking up the series win.

The Yankees’ bullpen survived a dangerous short series thanks to contributions from Wandy Peralta, Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Lou Trivino, as well as less-successful cameos from Clarke Schmidt, and Jameson Taillon.

The pen was able to chip in, keeping themselves as well as the starters fresh to ensure further availability in the series.

How’d the Yankees ultimately take the series? Cleveland started Cal Quantrill in Games 1 and 4, where he went 0-2 with 10 innings pitched and a 5.40 ERA. The Guardians threw their ace, Shane Bieber, in a no-decision Cleveland win in Game 2; he went 5.2 innings with seven strikeouts. Game 3 saw Triston McKenzie, who went five innings and posted a 3.27 ERA. Game 5’s starter Aaron Civale only lasted 0.1 of an inning before four relievers took to the bump to end the 2022 season in elimination style.

The Yankees have the pitching to compete in this best-of-seven series against the Houston Astros, if they’re able to rest and recover. Both teams match up well on the hill, and we’re in for an arm and offensive showdown as this series moves on.