Wednesday night was a reminder to Yankees fans why manager Aaron Boone might opt to use an opener this postseason.
Bullpen arm Chad Green, who has been used in this spot 13 times this season, took the mound for only the first two innings where he allowed just two hits and didn't let up a run before passing things off to Luis Cessa for the next three.
It's performances like this from Green that makes this a real conversation between Boone and GM Brian Cashman when it's time to put together a postseason strategy.
The Yankees' top three rotation options -- James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and Domingo German -- could be a solid group. But with Tanaka's inconsistency of late and German's postseason inexperience mixed with his potential innings limit, an opener could be an option to fill the gap.
"That kind of scenario is certainly possible," Boone said after Wednesday's 4-1 win.
How could it play out? Green would be the top option for Boone, and it isn't close. This season, Green has a 4.15 ERA over 17.1 innings in those 13 starts. However, his dud of an outing against the Indians -- five earned runs in 1/3 of an inning -- is the main reason his ERA is so high.
Take that one out and Green owns a 1.59 ERA over 17 innings, with 10 straight outings without allowing a run. He also owns a 3.65 ERA in the postseason over his career.
So Green could easily go out there for one or two innings and set the tone. After he hopefully performs well, Boone has a few options.
Matchups will come into play here, but the one option the Yankees are hoping for would Luis Severino. He continues to progress well in the minor leagues as he rehabs and the team is hoping he can return to the Bombers before the postseason, so they can gauge what he can bring to the table in the postseason.
Being a starter and having postseason experience in that role, Severino would be a perfect option after Green. He will have more time in the bullpen to prepare himself for his appearance, too, instead of throwing him out there as the starter in the first place.
Now it's unknown what the Yankees are going to do with J.A. Happ and CC Sabathia. Happ has struggled lately, and at the moment, he can't be trusted when every game matters. And while Sabathia is currently on the IL, this is also the final season of his career and he would obviously want to help his team win a championship. They could be used out of the bullpen, but with stacked personnel already sitting there, it will make it tough to move them there.
So, let's say Green went two innings and Severino gave you three solid innings. Boone can then bring in his three-headed monster in Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman to close things out. There's also the possibility of Dellin Betances coming back in time to help as well. He's another power arm that can come right in and shut things down.
With Cashman failing to add a starter at the trade deadline, the Yankees are clearly confident that their bullpen and current rotation can get things done. And that bullpen didn't receive all those upgrades for nothing. Those high-profile arms were brought together for this exact scenario: to head into the postseason and be a decisive factor in high-pressure situations.
With just a few weeks left in the regular season, this conversation is one that has already started over at Yankee Stadium, and it will be known soon whether or not Cashman, Boone and the Yankees trust their bullpen enough to use them the entire game in a playoff series.