New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone ended the season knowing he has a set idea on who will be filling out the batting order, but still doesn’t know who the starting pitcher will be. Boone said in post-game interviews that he isn’t concealing the identity of a starter as a means of trying to gain some kind of strategic advantage, just that he hasn’t settled his mind on anyone yet. With time rapidly running out to settle his mind, he has a few options, but his decision-making process has been called into question, per NJ Advance Media.
J.A. Happ, who has been 7-0 since joining the Yankees and arguably the most reliable second-half starter, will be on regular rest for the wild card game, as reported by SNY. He has been who most people thought would start the game for the last week. However, Masahiro Tanaka could go as a starter still, and despite a couple outings where he got roughed up early, has been very dependable the last month. Then there is Luis Severino, who went from Cy Young candidate in the first to an ERA in excess of 7.00 for most of the second half. His Saturday start was skipped, so he could go on long rest.
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) September 25, 2018
Then, of course, Boone hasn’t ruled out a bullpen day, trying to cobble together a win using five or six different pitchers from the pen. It could work and has before during the regular season, but if he goes this route and fails, he will likely spend a winter being called any number of insults on social media. He could throw a starter short, looking to get 40-50 pitches out of them before going to the bullpen to piece the rest of the game together, so they could potentially return early to start against Boston if the Yankees advance.
— Pete Caldera (@pcaldera) October 1, 2018
NJ Advance Media reported a little of what Boone was saying in his last interview of the regular season regarding his thought process on the starter issue.
“I feel like I’m close to a resolution in my mind. Again, it’s just wanting it to settle in, and just make sure I feel really good about the direction. I would say, sure, that’s absolutely part of the conversation. That goes into people and who we like matching up and how we envision certain situations playing out with X pitcher on the mound, who would be next, those kinds of things. Yeah, advancing is all part of the decision-making process. It’s been a little back and forth for me.”
The Yankees will play the Oakland A’s in the one-game wild-card showdown on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in a game aired globally on ESPN.