Yankees manager Joe Girardi determined his ALCS starting rotation based on the recent performance of pitchers, he told reporters on Thursday.
Masahiro Tanaka, who is coming off strong outing during which he allowed no runs in seven innings of work, will start Game 1 for the Yankees, while Luis Severino, CC Sabathia, and Sonny Gray will follow.
"We just talked about who is throwing well, how the stuff kind of sets up, and we decided to go that way," said Girardi, who added that he factored in the way pitchers have fared in the last month.
Girardi said he has "total confidence" in Tanaka and said he inserted him as the Game 1 starter because he loved his last outing in the ALDS.
"When you think about the way he's been pitching lately, you think about him having the possibility of making two starts in a series, Girardi said. "So if I wait until Game 3, you don't know if you're going to get there. Then his next start would be game 7. So one way of guaranteeing him one start at home is 1 and 5."
By the time Gray pitches, it will have been nearly two weeks since his shaky outing in the ALDS opener. But Girardi said Gray was slated to pitch a simulated game to stay on schedule.
"We want to make sure that it's not two weeks, that he faces live hitters today, and he'll probably go about three innings today,"