Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Would you consider starting Dellin Betances in the wild card game?
It was a vaguely ridiculous question, but Aaron Boone stopped in a hallway outside the Yankees clubhouse on Thursday morning to think about it.
Boone scrunched his nose and considered the premise. He understood why I was asking. Yankee fans and media are debating who should start their likely wild card game because ace Luis Severino is stuck in an extended slump. Masahiro Tanaka has good days and bad. J.A. Happ is pitching like an ace, but isn't one.
So why not go full 21st century and run your power bullpen arms out there a few innings at a time --- Betances, David Roberston, Aroldis Chapman, and Zach Britton if he rights himself? Or make like the Tampa Bay Rays and use an opener, followed by a member of the rotation?
Boone nodded, but made clear that he hadn't had the same thought.
"We talk over a lot of scenarios," he said. "We would certainly have starting pitchers in the bullpen ready to go."
So, while it's highly unlikely that the Yankees would go as far as to implement our idea and start the game with a reliever, Boone will manage the evening in a way that minimizes the importance of who actually does get the assignment.
Similar to last year, when the Yankees won despite Severino's inability to make it through the first inning, the Yanks will have nearly an entire staff lined up to relieve. Their rotation lacks a reliable ace, but their pitching staff is deep, and Boone will be able to take full advantage without having to hang his entire season on a Severino or Tanaka.
It's something to keep in mind over the next six weeks, as we debate who should start the game. It's not as big a deal as we think.