Yankees manager Joe Girardi said LHP CC Sabathia will get the ball in Game 5 if it is necessary.
Sabathia was efficient in his start against the Indians in Game 2 of the ALDS. After allowing two runs in the first, he settled down and didn't allow an earned run from then on. He finished with four runs (two earned) on three hits while striking out five and walking three in 5 1/3 innings.
The other option to start Game 5 was Sonny Gray, who struggled in Game 1 of the series. Girardi likes Sabathia's playoff experience which led to the decision.
Girardi also noted that Aroldis Chapman will likely be available for only one inning in Game 4. He is also worried about David Robertson who has thrown more innings than expected over the past week.
"We'll have to see," Girardi told the NY Daily News. "Robbie's always going to tell me he's OK. I mean, he told me he was OK after he threw 50 pitches (Tuesday), but there's something to the quality of stuff and risking hurting him."
Chad Green is also "failry close" to 100 percent according to Girardi.
Sonny Gray's shaky performance in Game 1 of the ALDS has put him on the outs with a potential winner-take-all Game 5 battle in Cleveland set for Wednesday, leaving Girardi to go with the veteran lefty.
Sabathia, who will be working on normal rest, only threw 77 pitches as he was lifted in the sixth inning of Game 2 with an 8-3 lead. Sabathia was very much in control after a shaky opening two frames, with two of his four runs allowed unearned due to fielding errors. The Yanks' bullpen went on to blow the lead and ultimately lost the game in the 13th inning.
It's hard to argue with Sabathia as the choice considering Gray, the only other physical option based on rest, has simply not performed well against the Indians in Progressive Field this season (12 earned runs in 14 innings, including Game 1). The Yankees will likely be looking for four to five innings from Sabathia with the Yankees potentially lockdown bullpen taking over the rest of the way.