According to the New York Yankees starting rotation posted to their official MLB site page, their starters against Boston are J.A. Happ, Lance Lynn, and then Luis Severino. On the surface, that doesn’t sound like anything terribly important. However, this lines up Happ to pitch the wild card game against the Oakland A’s on five days of rest, which is his normal schedule. It is already known that Lynn is not in the mix for the wild card start, and possibly even a spot on the playoff roster. Severino would have to go on three days of rest to make the start, which is neither normal nor optimal for him as confirmed by 12Up.
The only other Yankee starter in the mix for the start is Masahiro Tanaka who already pitched and would be going on seven days rest to make the start. While it is generally considered that would be better than the three days Severino would have, it again, would not be the norm. Happ has been rumored as the wild card game starter on and off for the last month, thanks in large part to his 6-0 record with a 2.34 ERA in 10 starts since joining the Yankees.
Lance Lynn: Definitely no
Luis Severino: Probably not
J.A. Happ: Maybe…?
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) September 27, 2018
It wasn’t until Tanaka turned in a shaky final start of the season that Happ became the odds-on favorite for the wild card start, however. Tanaka had been cruising up until that point, and there was a strong argument being made that Yankee manager Aaron Boone was going to save Happ, making the assumption the Yankees would beat Oakland, to start Game 1, and Game 5 against Boston if needed. As Happ has the best career and seasonal numbers against Boston of all current Yankee starters, it seemed like the logical move.
Probable Pitching Matchup for AL Wildcard
J.A.Happ for Yankees
— Nobo (@Oblivion683) September 28, 2018
Boone remained uncommitted to naming Happ or anyone else as his wild-card starter prior to yesterday’s game as reported by North Jersey, instead relying on the standard cliches managers love to not give too much away too soon.
“We want to go out and win today. Hopefully, we get to a point this weekend where we’re really juggling to set up how we want. I would say we’re going to pour kind of everything into the wild card game and what we think gives us the best chance. Again, we feel like, in a lot of ways, we’re dealing with a few really good options. Whoever doesn’t end up going (in the wild card game) makes sense going into the next series. We’re going to, as best we can, determine what path we like best going into that Wednesday game.”