Yankees announce rotation for ALDS; Sabathia off roster

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The Yankees revealed their starting rotation for ALDS Games 1-3, a day before the series gets underway

Game 1: James Paxton
Game 2: Masahiro Tanaka
Game 3: Luis Severino

Meanwhile, CC Sabathia’s shoulder didn’t bounce back well enough from a cortisone shot, so he will be left off the ALDS roster in a surprise move. The left-hander tossed a 1-2-3 inning in relief in Tampa but was unable to pitch in Texas with shoulder issues.

Sabathia will keep working on the side with the potential to rejoin the roster later in the postseason. The Astros have just one major left-handed hitter, while the Rays and some of the NL teams have more to pitch to if they match up with New York. Leaving him off the roster may very well mean the end of Sabathia’s career.

Paxton was the obvious choice for New York after his second-half surge. Beginning with a quality start against Boston on Aug. 2, Paxton went 10-0 with a 2.51 ERA over his final 11 starts. His final start was abbreviated by a strain to his left glute, but that was more precautionary, as evidenced by his Game 1 assignment.

Tanaka, meanwhile, has significant home/road splits, partially buoyed by two disaster starts against the Red Sox in London and at Fenway. Aaron Boone said that those splits had nothing to do with the decision. Whether it’s from postseason experience or being more stretched out, Tanaka emerged as the Game 2 option.

Severino has made three starts since returning from shoulder surgery and has yet to throw more than 80 pitches in a start. His one road start, coming in Texas on Saturday, featured a lackluster first inning before a better final two innings.

A key factor will be the Yankees’ bullpen usage, which should go up aggressively in the postseason. With Severino’s lack of innings, Tanaka’s struggles late in games and the days off in the postseason, Boone will have the opportunity to use his bullpen early and often in each game.


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  1. RetroRob

    I guessed correctly on the rotation order, not that it was exactly tough to do. Curious to see if my other prediction of a Green being used as an opener for Tanaka also comes true. It may depend on if Green is used in game 1. Tanaka’s never needed an opener, but it was curious that they used Green/Tanaka in the final series in Texas. It’s a tough lineup, so Green can dispatch of some of their top hitters in the first, while giving them one less look at Tanaka, and maybe even pitch the second depending on pitch count. This will help address Tanaka’s struggles deep in the game. Do I think it will happen? 50/50 for game one, although I do think we’ll see if the deeper the Yankees go into the postseason.

  2. CountryClub

    I still have no idea why they didn’t make sure Severino went over 90 pitches in his last start. Made no sense.

    • aaronjudgemvp

      Those were some beey stressful innings.. i don’t blame them for that at all. He’s just coming back from a serious injury.

      • CountryClub

        The first one was. Innings 2 and 3 were pretty normal. But, all in the past now. He’ll be a 4-5 inning pitcher this PS and I guess we should be happy to get even that out of him.

        • RetroRob

          Not necessarily. He’s already thrown 80 pitches in a start. Throttling him back on his final start is likely be design, recognizing they’re about to lean on him much more heavily. He’s primed for 90-95 pitches in his first post-season start. That’s up to six innings right there. Then his next post-season start he’s in the 105-110 range. The deeper the run, the more length he can give. He’s still building up, so that slight breather in his final start seems like a good idea. The goal is to set him up for a consistent 100 pitches per start through the post-season, and he’s right at that door.

    • aaronjudgemvp

      *very stressful innings.

  3. Brian M

    Maybe CC being left off the roster will open the door to have all three of Edwin, Voit, and Ford on the roster. I feel like they’d want to have a lefty bat (that isn’t Wade) on the bench for late in the game.

    • RetroRob

      …or they could bring Tarpley to be serve the LOOGY role that they may have been looking for CC to serve. Boone sort of hinted that he was originally thinking of CC for short appearances (think LOOGY). That said, a LOOGY isn’t as key against the Twins as it might be with other teams, although can’t be dismissed with Rosario and Kepler. That said, they may want to have EE, Voit and Ford all on the team, figuring Wade will be pinch running for one of them each game, so having more batting depth may play into their decision making.

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