A curveball hit the Yankees-Astros ALCS when Game 4 was postponed at Yankee Stadium due to impending rain on Wednesday night. But manager Aaron Boone won't be making any changes to his roster moves, especially when it comes to the starting rotation.
Instead of going with an opener in Game 4, which was a possibility, Masahiro Tanaka will get the ball. James Paxton is also set up for Game 5 in the Bronx.
With the way Chad Green has been pitching out of the bullpen this postseason, an opener would've definitely made sense for a bullpen game to ensue. But Tanaka was also extremely solid in his Game 1 start of this series, going six innings without allowing a run and only one hit with four strikeouts as well.
After losing Games 2 and 3 as well as Justin Verlander being pushed up to a Game 5 start, the Yankees may be viewing Thursday's game as a must win to tie things at two games apiece. Tanaka, then, makes sense in front of the home crowd.
As for Paxton, the Yankees will hope that he has better success at Yankee Stadium this time around. It could also be a potential clinching situation if the Astros win their third straight.
"He's gonna pitch," Boone said of Paxton. "I guess if something got really crazy in a Game 4 scenario (he might not). I plan on him pitching Game 5. We've prepared him for that."
Paxton only made it 2.1 innings down in Houston for Game 2, as his command on the bump wasn't all there. He allowed four hits and two walks, while striking out three over that span. Paxton let up just one run, though it could've been much worse if he and the bullpen didn't bail the Yankees out of trouble early on.
If the series goes back to Houston for Game 6, it's unknown what Boone and the Yankees will do with their rotation. An opener could even be used in that scenario as well. But, with four games straight set for the rest of the series, Boone will also need to be careful with how much he throws his relievers.
The Yankees would love to see Tanaka pitch how he did in Game 1, save some arms in the bullpen, and most importantly, help even up the series.