The Yankees announced their starting pitchers for the American League Championship Series ahead of Friday's series opener.
Masahiro Tanaka, who pitched seven shutout innings in Sunday's 1-0 win over the Indians, will start Game 1, while Luis Severino will look to build from his bounce-back start this week when he takes the hill in Game 2.
CC Sabathia will pitch Game 3 after tossing four and 1/3 innings in Game of the ALDS. He pitced well for the first four innings, but was pulled after running into trouble in the fifth.
Sonny Gray will start Game 4 as he hopes to bounce back from his rough outing in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Meawhile, the Astros announced Dallas Keuchel will start Game 1 and Justin Verlander will pitch Game 2. Houston has not revealed their starters for the third and fourth game of the series.
It wasn't exactly as I figured it, but Girardi has assembled a rotation that matches up fairly well to the Astros selections.
While Tanaka has fared much better at home in 2017 than on the road, he'll get the Game 1 nod against Houston ace Dallas Keuchel at Minute Maid Park. Most likely, Girardi likes having a veteran who possesses the potential to dominate and provide some length knowing his two best relievers - David Robertson and Aroldis Chapman -- might only be able to provide one inning come Friday. If the series goes five games, the Yanks would have Tanaka for the final game in the Bronx.
I agree most with Girardi's decision to match Severino against Justin Verlander in Game 2 and a potential Game 6. Severino has simply been stronger on the road. Understanding that Minute Maid Park crowd will be raucous, I still believe Severino will be up to the task and will be less inclined to overdo it in front of the away crowd as he might in Yankee Stadium.
It's hard to argue with CC Sabathia lining up for Game 3 (and Game 7) instead of Sonny Gray as the left-hander has been far better down the stretch and in the postseason. Also, Sabathia has not pitched deep into games, so slotting him in Game 3 (and Game 7) as the team returns from an off day ensures the bullpen will have at least one full day of rest when the veteran is on the mound.