Umpire Review: 2017 American League Division Series

The following is a guest post from Adam Moss, who goes by Roadgeek Adam in the comments. He’s previously written guest posts on Tim McClelland, Frankie Crosetti, the No. 26, Casey Stengel, Leo Durocher, Miller Huggins, Jerry Kenney, the Copacabana incident, Mark Koenig, Earle Combs, Urban Shocker, Michael Milosevich, and Snuffy Stirnweiss.

Carapazza. (Presswire)
Carapazza. (Presswire)

Well that was exciting game Tuesday night. I had a blast watching it (and knowing that my scouting report on Alfonso Marquez was spot on). During the season, there are four-man crews. 92 umpires called games behind the plate this season. During the postseason, there are six, which helps make tougher calls easier (or blow it easier, depending on your point of view). On Monday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced the assignments for the postseason, including the ALDS. Let us look at who we have for this series against the Cleveland Indians.

Home Plate – Vic Carapazza (No. 19)

Vic Carapazza gets us started in Game 1 versus Trevor Bauer. Yeah well, this game has the chance to be the complete opposite of Tuesday night’s affair. The Port Jefferson, New York native is a bit of a mess. His numbers read of a hitter’s umpire, but unlike Marquez, who was consistent for most of Tuesday night, Carapazza can be all over the place. Statistically, he has a 4.01 ERA with 30 games behind the plate. His WHIP was 1.30, while the hits were a measly 8.3 H/9. Similar to Marquez, he has a high BB/9 at 3.4. However, unlike Marquez, he only has 8.9 K/9. Yep, either you’re going to walk or strikeout (or be ejected) with Carapazza. Carapazza provides batters a hitting line of .247/.317/.408 on average.

Like his father in law, Carapazza is a free swinger with the right-arm, with a lot of notable ejections in recent years. Carapazza, as of the end of the 2017 season, has racked up 31 ejections since his MLB debut on April 9, 2010 in a game between the Yankees and Rays at the Trop. (The Yankees lost that game, 9-2 as Javier Vazquez had an awful performance (8 runs in 5 2/3). Somehow, Sergio Mitre had a decent one that night (1 run the rest of the way).) Of his famous right-arm, he tossed Mark Reynolds for throwing his glove in 2012; ejected J.P. Howell in 2011 for throwing the baseball into the ground in frustration; and Turner Ward in 2015 for complaining about Jose Fernandez standing near David Peralta after the former nailed the latter in the shoulder with a pitch.

Carapazza has one Yankees-based ejection, Joe Girardi on May 31, 2013 when a throw by Jon Lester pulled Stephen Drew wide right when trying to force David Adams. His aforementioned father in law has a more famous incident with the Yankees:

First Base – Dan Iassogna (No. 58)

Hothead is a premium this series, apparently. If Vic Carapazza was not enough for those who like to see veins bulge, then MLB put another one in the group. Dan Iassogna is the complete package of hothead and inconsistent strike caller. Corey Kluber and whoever we send out to face the Cleveland Indians are going to have a field day for called strikes. Iassogna’s strike zone has caused a 4.22 ERA (60th of 92) and 1.30 WHIP. However, his numbers all read pitcher’s ump. Hitters have an average 8.1 H/9 and 8.8 K/9 (low for a pitchers ump) and a 3.5 BB/9 average (also oddball). However, the .241/.317/.411 batting line gives it away. This will be a festival of strikes that no one will like.

As you can imagine, for a hothead, Iassogna has flicked his wrist on numerous occasions. 73 times since his first game on August 20, 1999 in a game between the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers in Texas, in fact. He has only ejected a Yankees member once, and that was Joe Girardi, again, on August 20, 2015 (Iassogna’s 16th anniversary). He made a very questionable strike call against Brian McCann during a steal by Alex Rodriguez. I would say, looking at the video, Girardi had a pretty good argument. To say the least, let us pray he has a good game behind the plate, but I wouldn’t expect it. (We last saw Iassogna behind the plate on August 18 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.)

Second Base – Dana DeMuth (No. 32 – CC)

Well. We go from two hotheads to Mr. Mellow. Dana DeMuth is the definition of a silent umpire. DeMuth is serving as the crew chief for this series and will have the game behind the plate on Game 3. Dana DeMuth calls a very average game, and that is about what you want in the majors. In 28 games behind the plate this season, the Fremont, Ohio native had a 4.49 ERA (39th of 92) with a 1.37 WHIP. Batters had an average of 8.8 H/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 7.9 K/9 (yikes) with a batting line of .257/.329/.432. All are very decent numbers. Not much to complain about in that department.

Dana DeMuth has not had a good season with the New York Yankees and it comes down to one game, August 25, 2017. Between Carlos Torres having a rough game behind the plate, Dana DeMuth did not step in and help calm things down between the Detroit Tigers and the Yankees. That led to the now famous Miguel Cabrera/Austin Romine brawl that we all know about now. If DeMuth had stepped in where Torres did not, it is very likely none of that would have ever occurred unless Cabrera really had some kind of beef. He was the one who ejected Dellin Betances and Girardi after the second incident in the 8th inning. Let us just move on from that, because I doubt we will be starting any brawls this postseason.

Outside of that game, Dana DeMuth is not going to throw you out unless you really, really provoke him. The last Yankee to really really provoke him before that day was Jorge Posada on September 1, 2010. In his career, he has 45 ejections since his debut on June 3, 1983 at Jack Murphy Stadium. This is DeMuth’s 11th Division Series (he also has 5 LCSs and 5 World Series, including the 2013 one) in his 35th season as an umpire.

Third Base – Brian O’Nora (No. 7)

The man who refused to throw out Ryan Dempster on August 18, 2013 but threw out Joe Girardi instead, is the Game 4 umpire, if we get that far. If there’s a definition of average umpire, then that’s Brian O’Nora. He has a 3.85 ERA in 31 games this season (79th of 92) with a batting line of .247/.314/.416. His WHIP was 1.28 (average), with a 8.4 H/9, 3.1 BB/9, and a 8.1 K/9. Nothing that jumps out, really. Like DeMuth, I expect a good game with O’Nora behind the plate.

The Yankees last saw Brian O’Nora’s strike zone on September 14 between the Baltimore Orioles and the Yankees. Of this crew, O’Nora has the honor of being the only man to eject Joe Girardi twice. O’Nora has 38 ejections since his debut on August 4, 1992 at Yankee Stadium, in a game, ironically enough, against the Cleveland Indians. In that game, Curt Young outpitched Dave Otto and the Yankees won 4-3. The Youngstown, Ohio native should provide a good game during his 6th Division Series behind the plate and I would expect it.

Left Field – Jeff Nelson (No. 45)

No it’s not our former ace reliever, but it is Jeff Nelson in left field to start the series. One of the newer crew chiefs, he is the third definition of an average umpire. In 31 games behind the plate this season, he managed a 4.32 ERA (good for 52nd of 92) with a 1.27 WHIP. Hitters have a 8.5 H/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a 7.9 K/9 average with a .248/.311/.434 batting line. Once again, nothing to seriously complain about.

The St. Paul, Minnesota native made his MLB debut on May 9, 1997 at Dodger Stadium between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Montreal Expos. He has since accrued 58 ejections. Nelson has ejected only one Yankee in his time in the Majors. Once again, it is Joe Girardi, this time on October 14, 2012 during the American League Championship Series (Game 2). A blatantly missed call on Omar Infante’s attempt to get back to 2nd cause Girardi to get a heave-ho. Yeah, you can see why he was ejected. Let us not have a repeat of this situation.

Right Field – Adrian Johnson (No. 80)

Finally, Adrian Johnson gets his first postseason umpiring assignment. The man who famously gave Johan Santana his no-hitter is getting his first chance to play the game. He won’t see the plate this series, but it is a very hitter’s umpire zone. Johnson had a 4.52 ERA with 29 games behind the plate. Batters have a 1.35 WHIP, a 9.4 H/9, 2.8 BB/9 (low) and a 8.7 K/9 average with Johnson behind the plate. The average batting line was .266/.326/.449, which reads of hitters umpire. I am going to say we are thankful for that.

Chase Headley will be thankful too, as Johnson is the one who ejected him on May 12, 2017. Headley was tossed arguing a foul ball/HBP call. However, unlike the other 5 umpires, he is the only who has not tossed Joe Girardi at some point as Yankees manager. In fact, Headley’s heave-ho on May 12 was his first against a Yankee. We also saw him last behind the plate on July 16 on Game 2 of the doubleheader with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park after the All-Star Break.

Conclusion

Game 2 has the serious possibility of being a real headache between a Cy Young Award winner and Mr. Strike, Dan Iassogna. I would expect an ugly game with calls, so the Yankees will have to get it done with the bat. Otherwise, I would expect a pretty rudimentary series. Let us hope it stays that way.

TicketIQ: Tickets still available for ALDS Games 3-4

The New York Yankees will host the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians for Games 3 and 4 of the American League Division Series. This marks the first time that these two teams will match up in the postseason since 2007, but this will be the first time that Cleveland’s team plays a playoff game in the new incarnation of Yankee Stadium. New York will look to rebound from its regular season struggles against Terry Francona’s squad.

The two ALDS home games for the Yankees have an average secondary market asking price of $348 on TicketIQ.com. The intrigue of these two high-power teams playing in the Big Apple allows for this price to be the highest price of any Yankee Stadium ALDS ticket since 2010. Only the Cubs and Nationals have a higher divisional series average price at $402 for the contests at Wrigley Field.

Even with this being such an exciting series, the get-in price is just $74 on TicketIQ.com. Although that price is increased from other recent ALDS games at the new Yankee Stadium, the price is very similar to the get-in price as the New York Giants’ contest against the visiting Los Angeles Chargers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

The 27-time World Series champions reached the ALDS by defeating the visiting Minnesota Twins, 8-4, behind three home runs on Tuesday. Aaron Judge, the potential American League MVP and Rookie of the Year, was one of the three Yankees to homer in the wild card game victory. While New York aims to remain hot at the plate, the rested Indians will look to continue to stifle the Yankees’ bats.

Be sure to get your New York Yankees tickets today at TicketIQ.com.

Chase Headley should be the Yankees’ ALDS DH

(David Maxwell/Getty Images)
(David Maxwell/Getty Images)

After scoring eight runs in the Wild Card Game, the Yankees may not be inclined to switch up their lineup. Yet one small change could be their most prudent move.

Therefore, I’d advocate for Joe Girardi to move Chase Headley back to designated hitter and have Jacoby Ellsbury come off the bench.

Ellsbury provided a lot to the Yankees’ late-season surge. From Aug. 26 to Sept. 20, he went 29-for-73 with nine doubles, two triples and a homer, sporting a .397/.494/.616 (194 wRC+) line. That doesn’t include record-setting catcher’s interference(!). Filling in after Aaron Hicks‘ injury, he became a reliable presence and looked like the player the team thought it was getting when he signed in the 2013-14 offseason.

But he’s gone cold. In his last eight games of the regular season, he went just 5-for-30 with a double and a walk, striking out six times. He followed that up with an 0-for-4 performance on Tuesday. Just like the 73 AB sample above, there isn’t a whole lot to go off, but he hasn’t been quite as useful.

Meanwhile, Headley has been similarly cold, which likely led to his benching in the first place. In his last 40 PA, he batted 6-for-36 with three walks and a HBP, no extra-base hits. After three homers in his first five games of the September, his power went back to previous levels. Again, small sample size.

So this move is less about trends and more about what it opens up on the roster. As I detailed last month, Ellsbury is an ideal pinch runner if he’s not starting. He was 22-for-25 stealing bases and has an 82.9 percent success rate on steals in his career. He’s the Yankees’ best option to wreak havoc on the bases now that Tyler Wade was taken off the roster.

With Ellsbury on the bench (and Aaron Hicks still in centerfield), the only is that if he solely pinch runs for anyone, the Yankees won’t have a backup outfielder remaining on the bench. They’d have Headley and Todd Frazier for first base. Ronald Torreyes for the middle infield and third. Then no one left for the outfield. Sometimes that’s a risk you take though.

The team removed both C. Frazier and Wade from the roster to make room for Jaime Garcia and Jordan Montgomery. Now that they’ve decided they need 12 pitchers, which may be a mistake, they can simply use Ellsbury as a fourth outfielder and have Torreyes as the emergency man on the corners. Not ideal, but serviceable with Frazier or Wade able to be called up in case of injury.

That option is a no-go if Ellsbury is at DH unless the team is willing to insert the pitcher into the lineup. That is because the Yankees weren’t willing to remove Matt Holliday from the roster even though he only serves as a pinch hitter and doesn’t serve much, if any, defensive role on the roster. However, Holliday is still a solid option against the Indians’ left-handed relievers and should be their best offensive option off the bench.

There were many permutations for the Yankees’ ALDS roster. It could have involved 11 pitchers or 12. Two outfielders on the bench or one. The Yankees opted for 12 pitches which leaves them one fewer outfielder on the bench. But, either way, having Headley as the designated hitter would be the prudent move for the ALDS.

Yankees add Tanaka, Garcia, and Montgomery to ALDS roster

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

Earlier this morning was the deadline for the Yankees and Indians to set their rosters for the ALDS, and soon thereafter, both teams announced their 25-man rosters for the best-of-five series. Here is the Indians’ roster and here are the 25 players the Yankees will use in the ALDS:

Pitchers (12)
RHP Dellin Betances
LHP Aroldis Chapman
LHP Jaime Garcia
RHP Sonny Gray
RHP Chad Green
RHP Tommy Kahnle
LHP Jordan Montgomery
RHP David Robertson
LHP CC Sabathia
RHP Luis Severino
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
RHP Adam Warren

Catchers (2)
Austin Romine
Gary Sanchez

Infielders (6)
Greg Bird
Starlin Castro
Todd Frazier
Didi Gregorius
Chase Headley
Ronald Torreyes

Outfielders (4)
Jacoby Ellsbury
Brett Gardner
Aaron Hicks
Aaron Judge

Designated Hitters (1)
Matt Holliday

There are some slight changes to the pitching staff from the Wild Card Game roster, as expected. Tanaka, Garcia, and Montgomery join the ALDS roster with Chasen Shreve, Tyler Wade, and Clint Frazier being swapped off. Tanaka is starting Game Three of the series Sunday. Montgomery and Garcia give the Yankees a pair of long relievers, which could come in handy with Green and Robertson unlikely to be available in Game One today.

Twelve pitchers seems like overkill in a best-of-five series with two off-days, though with no Green and Robertson today, I guess the Yankees decided to play it safe. Also, with no Wade or Frazier, the Yankees lack a pinch-running option. I suppose it could be Ellsbury when he is out of the starting lineup. Otherwise, the ALDS roster is pretty straight forward.

Thoughts prior to Game One of the 2017 ALDS

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

For the first time since 2012, the Yankees are playing a full postseason series. They beat the Twins in the Wild Card Game two days ago and now get to face the defending AL champion Indians in the best-of-five ALDS. Game One is tonight at 7:30pm ET. Sonny Gray and Trevor Bauer are the scheduled starters. I have some thoughts going into the series, so let’s get to ’em.

1. The Yankees will be at a disadvantage tonight because neither Chad Green nor David Robertson will be available, which is a consequence of Luis Severino getting one out in the Wild Card Game. Joe Girardi did what he had to do to win that game and advance. No complaints here. Girardi did shoot down the idea of using Severino in relief in Game One and I tend to believe him, though I wonder if it’s truly off the table. It might be one of those never say never situations. (I guess that could also apply to Green and Robertson?) Either way, the rotation order isn’t terribly surprising to me. I had a feeling they would push Masahiro Tanaka back to Game Three (or Game Four) given his home/road splits. CC Sabathia figures to be pretty pumped up in Game Two now that he gets to go toe-to-toe with Corey Kluber in his old stomping grounds. I feel pretty good about the rotation. Just about everyone pitched well in the second half. Hopefully it carries over into the postseason.

2. I get the feeling Matt Holliday is going to be involved in a huge moment at some point this series. The Indians have all right-handers in the rotation, so Holliday shouldn’t start a single game, meaning he’ll be relegated to pinch-hitting duty. I can absolutely see Girardi using Holliday to pinch-hit for, say, Jacoby Ellsbury against Andrew Miller in a big spot. Maybe multiple times this series. Holliday could be their Miller specialist. When a lefty is up against Miller in a big spot, Holliday goes to the plate instead. I dunno. I’m not terribly confident in Holliday producing at this point — to be fair, I don’t feel all that confident in anyone producing against Miller — but I’m not sure how else the Yankees could use him otherwise. I’d be surprised if they leave him off the roster entirely, though it might be the right move. Anyway, like I said, something tells me we’re going to see Holliday at the plate in a big moment at some point during the ALDS. I feel it in my bones.

3. There are an awful lot of former Yankees on the Indians. More than I realized. Players change teams so often these days that you’re always bound to run into some ex-Yankees each series, but this is more than usual. Miller is the obvious headliner here, though other former Yankees currently with Cleveland include Abe Almonte, Nick Goody, Austin Jackson, Boone Logan, Zach McAllister, Tyler Olson, and Dan Otero. Geez. Not all of those guys will be on the postseason roster — Logan is out with a lat injury and Joe Noga reports Goody, McAllister, and Otero will not be on the ALDS roster — but still. That’s a lot of ex-Yankees! The Yankees had three former Indians play for them this season: Clint Frazier, Erik Kratz, and Sabathia. The Indians had eight and none of them were up and down guys. They were on the roster most of the season. Huh.

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

4. Seems like tomorrow’s weather is going to throw a wrench into things. There’s rain in the forecast pretty much all day in Cleveland, and in the postseason, they tend to call games quickly rather than wait things out and potentially start the game only to have it interrupted. There’s an off-day Saturday and they’d just slide Game Two back to that day. If that happens, it means Games Two, Three, and Four will be played three consecutive days, which will obviously impact bullpen usage. Going from a “two games, off-day, two games, off-day, one game” series to a “one game, off-day, three games, off-day, one-game” series means you can’t lean on your top relievers quite as much those middle three games. I think that would mean advantage Indians, who are set to carry starters Danny Salazar and Mike Clevinger in their bullpen, two power strikeout arms. That’s two guys Terry Francona can bring in and use for three or four innings, if necessary, so there could be a scenario where Salazar gets one of those games, Clevinger gets another, and the rest of the relievers get the third. I dunno. We’ll see. A rainout would screw up Cleveland’s plan to potentially start Corey Kluber on normal rest in Game Five. It would also screw up Girardi’s ability to lean on his top relievers as heavily as possible.

5. Maybe I’m just a raging homer and overrating the Indians, but I can’t help but feel like whoever wins this ALDS is going to end up representing the AL in the World Series. The Astros are really good! So are the Red Sox, to a lesser extent. I just feel the Yankees and Indians have the best postseason rosters, meaning the teams with the deepest bullpens and the most diverse offenses. We all think of the Yankees as a home run hitting team because they are — they led baseball with 241 home runs this season, which I did not realize until I looked it up right now — but they don’t get enough credit for being a good baserunning team, hitting for average (.262 AVG was third best in the AL), and working the count. Also, the Yankees are pretty darn good defensively too, so they take away runs in the field. The Indians are built the same way, and I think in a short postseason series, these two teams can best leverage their rosters into wins. I’m not sure the Red Sox or Indians can do that to the same degree. Every team in the postseason is good and no series will be easy. To me, the Indians seem like the most imposing matchup. Get by them in the ALDS, and the ALCS could be (slightly) easier.

6. So I guess I need to make a prediction, huh? My Wild Card Game prediction was kinda close, you know. I called a comeback win after an early two-run homer by Eddie Rosario. I’m going to predict a Yankees series win, of course, and I think this one is going the full five games for sure. The Yankees win Game One, the Indians win Game Two and Three, then the Yankees win Game Four and Five. Aaron Judge drives in the game-winning run against Miller in Game Five. Why the hell not? The Indians are ridiculously good though. The Yankees will have their hands full. This season has been insanely fun and I don’t want it to end.

Thank you 2016 Yankees for the 2017 Yankees

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The 2016 Yankees really feel like the reason we’ve gotten to this point in 2017.  The idea that addition via subtraction was a rare change that this front office has done, but here we are.

Brian Cashman has come under endless scrutiny over the years for adding players with no success coming from it.  But in 2016 when his team no longer was really a factor he set out to remake the face of the organization that would lead it back to the playoffs in 2017.  I think about how 2016’s moves were the linchpin to making this team successful and relevant this year. In 2016 the most relevancy the Yankees had during the first half was the performance of their bullpen.  Subtracting from this made tremendous sense once the package was completed and players like Clint Frazier were added to the roster.

The 2016 Yankees made the decision that the future of the catcher position should no longer be in question.  The emergence of Gary Sanchez made it possible to subtract Brian McCann from the team.  While the move put much of the financial burden on the Yankees moving forward, it made too much sense.  From this subtraction came the trust of this team’s pitching staff being put in the hands of Sanchez.

The 2016 Yankees brought Aaron Judge into the minds of baseball fans.  For some, Judge was simply a cool story but an obviously faulted player.  His swing had a tremendous amount of holes in it that were quickly exposed by the league.  But this failure permitted Judge to recommit himself over the winter to perfecting his swing, leading to what would be the greatest rookie season in the history of the league.  Judge’s struggles returned after the 2017 All Star Break, but after six weeks of work he broke out of it to finish the season with 52 home runs.  By permitting failure at the Major League level in 2016, they permitted Aaron to work through his struggles.

(Getty)
(Getty)

Of course, there is Luis Severino.  While we had to see him take quite a beating last night in the first inning, it’s not far off from the Severino we saw in 2016.  In 2016 we saw the “Reliever or Starter” question come back for yet another Yankees power arm.  Rather than simply allow him to fail as a starter and move into a relief role permanently, the struggles within 2016 gave Severino enough chances to fail to understand how to bounce back from failure.  In 2017 as the playoffs continue, you can only hope that this continues to be the norm.  Maybe it was nerves, maybe it was mechanics, but at least he has the knowledge from past failures to adjust and carry on.

Finally, the subtraction of Aroldis Chapman in 2016 gave the Yankees a better idea of how their bullpen should be composed in 2017.  It’s hard not to love Dellin Betances, but the end of 2016 did serve as a minor precursor to the potential issues the pen could have without adding additional members in 2017.  While this did serve as a good warning, the greatest add via subtraction here was Gleyber Torres.  It’s true his injury has put much of the future in question, the talent is there.  He remains one of the most important pieces in the Yankees farm system and could be the future of third base as Chase Headley‘s contract continues to dwindle down to zero.

Bringing back Chapman was  controversial due to his sizable contract and personal issues in the past, but there’s little doubt that his return to form was critical down the stretch.  His subtraction from the Yankees in 2016 and to the Cubs gives him the experience that hopefully helps him continue to dominate the way he did at the end of the season.

Then finally, the subtraction of Vets that just didn’t have much to offer the team anymore.  Alex, we love ya but the A-Rod Yankees years just had to come to an end.  Teix?  Thanks for knowing it was time to hang em up.  CC Sabathia‘s subtraction was a bit different.  His was more in relation to his stuff and learning how to fail with this lesser stuff.  By 2016 we started seeing the progress, but by 2017 we saw the success.

What’s next for this group?  Well it could see more subtraction in the winter as the younger talent continues to force the issue for the Yankees at the MLB level.  With a only a few more sizable contracts for the vets on the team, it’s interesting to wonder what will help the Yankees move some of that talent along and allow the kids to flourish.  The one thing that’s good to know is that regardless of who is moved along, they have the core of players who have seen this team fail and succeed.  It can only be to the benefit of the younger players to have this experience to build off of, reminiscent of those young Rays and Royals clubs recently that saw success.

Sonny Gray, CC Sabathia will start first two games of ALDS

(Abbie Parr/Getty)
(Abbie Parr/Getty)

Following tonight’s optional workout at Progressive Field, Joe Girardi announced Sonny Gray and CC Sabathia will start Game One and Game Two of the ALDS, in that order. They did not announce the rotation beyond that.

Not much of a surprise Gray is starting Game One. He’d been lined up for that game for a little while now. Sabathia starting Game Two over Masahiro Tanaka seems to be based on home-road splits (and overall performance).

Sabathia at home: 4.20 ERA (4.54 FIP)
Sabathia on the road: 3.18 ERA (4.33 FIP)

Tanaka at home: 3.22 ERA (3.45 FIP)
Tanaka on the road: 6.48 ERA (5.35 FIP)

Luis Severino threw only 29 pitches in last night’s dud outing, and my guess is the Yankees did not announce their rotation beyond Game Two because they are considering using him in relief in Game One. If they need him in Game One — their bullpen will be short tomorrow — he won’t start until Game Four. If he isn’t need in Game One, then he’ll go in Game Three. We’ll see.

Gray will be opposed by Trevor Bauer, not Corey Kluber, in Game One. Sabathia will face Kluber in Game Two. That’ll be all sorts of fun. Current Indians ace vs. former Indians ace.

Update (8:47pm ET): Girardi announced Tanaka will start Game Three and Severino will start Game Four. Severino is not a bullpen option in Game One, apparently. Hmmm.