How rain would change the Yankees’ ALDS rotation plans

The forecast for Thursday hasn’t improved, which means Game 2 of the ALDS between the Yankees and Guardians in the Bronx remains in jeopardy – as do both teams’ pitching plans.

Nestor Cortes, who will start for the Yankees in Game 2 – Thursday or Friday – would have been available to return on short rest for a potential Game 5 Monday back at the stadium.

On Wednesday, the southpaw said he would be willing to pitch in some capacity in this game, although he and the Yankees will be hoping the series will be over by then.

Cortes said he wouldn’t adjust his pre-start routine based on the unstable forecast.

If he doesn’t pitch by Friday, he will be limited for the rest of the series.

“I’m ready to go,” Cortes said. “I’m going to empty the tank. So if I start on Friday and have to come back for a short rest – whether it’s two or three days – I’ll try to prepare as best I can to feel the best I can.

Nestor Cortes and Shane Bieber (inset) will face off in Game 2 of the ALDS – Thursday or Friday – weather permitting.
New York Post: Charles Wenzelberg; PA

Luis Severino will start Game 3 in Cleveland. Cole, starting in Game 1 on Tuesday, is expected to return to normal rest to kick off Game 4 on Sunday.

“With that [Cleveland] team, there are lefties and… if you had [Cortes] in an innings scenario, a two innings scenario, that would be very helpful,” manager Aaron Boone said. “But if he goes there on Friday…hopefully we’re not in a match 5 situation, but if we are we’ll see. He might be in play but not necessarily as a traditional starter.

Boone underscored his preference for a three-way rotation for this round and had Jameson Taillon ready to step into Tuesday’s Game 1 victory in the ninth inning.

If Thursday’s game is postponed, the teams would be in line to play four consecutive days and that would likely take away much of his role outside the bullpen, as he would be a logical option to start Game 5.

As for the Guardians, after starting Cal Quantrill on Tuesday, Shane Bieber is ready for Game 2 on Thursday and Triston McKenzie for Game 3 on Saturday. Even if Quantrill returns for Game 4 on normal rest, a postponement on Thursday would bring Aaron Civale into play as a potential Game 5 starter.

Aaron Judge’s wait for the ball from his number 62 home run will continue until the end of the playoffs, as the Yankees and the fan who caught him, Cory Youmans of Dallas, agreed to suspend the potential negotiations until the Yankees’ season is over to avoid a distraction.

Judge broke 61-year-old Roger Maris’ American League and franchise record with his 62nd homer of the season Oct. 4 against the Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Boone said he had no intention of speaking to Josh Donaldson about the third baseman’s failure to throw his fly ball to right field which bounced off the top of the wall and came back into play in the first game.

Donaldson thought it was a home run and was kicked out trying to get back to first base.

“Weird game,” said Boone, who said Tuesday he didn’t quite see what happened.

“[Donaldson] thought he went over the fence. We shake hands at the start [in the dugout]. The music turns off. I think it’s just a weird game.

Jonathan Loaisiga had an important double play to finish the seventh Tuesday, but he also allowed two hits in just two thirds of an inning. In his last six playoff outings dating back to 2019, the right-hander allowed 15 base runners in just 4 ¹/₃ innings.

The Yankees are counting on him to return to the form he showed for much of the second half of this season after returning from a shoulder injury, as well as most of 2021.

“I know people feel like we have a lot of questions [in the bullpen]”, Boone said. “[That’s] fair. We don’t have the “this guy is closest” and all those roles. But I feel like right now, even though we’ve had some attrition there, we have a lot of really talented options there and [Loaisiga] is right in the middle of that. If we want to go far in this area, he will have to get a lot of big outs for us.


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