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While the Yankees did not splurge on stars Manny Machado or Bryce Harper as many expected, the club completed a big trade and spread out its wealth for roster additions in free agency in an effort to supplement its incredibly talented young core.

Let's take a look at the 2019 Yankees, a team that sports an Opening Day payroll of approximately $204 million, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts ($226 million-plus for competitive balance tax purposes), as they embark on their yearly quest for a World Series title.

Pitching Staff

As the Yankees head north, the pitching staff is working three pitchers in the hole as Luis Severino, CC Sabathia and Dellin Betances will open the season on the injured list. The Yankees offense receives a lot of press, but when healthy, the pitching staff is among the better overall units, anchored by what is arguably the best bullpen in the game.

With Severino missing at least the first month of the season, he will be provided less time to prove he's the pitcher that flourished in the first half last season, and not the one that struggled in the second half. Without Severino, the Yankees will rely heavily on James Paxton, the team's trade acquisition, and Masahiro Tanaka to lead the rotation.

Paxton, an extremely talented left-hander, is looking to find the last piece to the puzzle - a full healthy season - needed to ascend to elite status as a starting pitcher. Tanaka, who will get the ball on Opening Day, will need to get off to a better start this year, something that has plagued him for two straight seasons.

The Yankees rotation is rounded out by re-signed lefty J.A. Happ, righty Domingo German, and eventually Sabathia.

The Yankees hope that Happ can rekindle the magic he spun in the final two months of 2018, and that German can control his dynamic repertoire while he subs for Severino. Meanwhile, Sabathia, who is retiring at season's end, will be a key presence at the backend of the rotation upon his return.

Arguably more so than the team's offense, the bullpen is the Yankees' biggest strength, and will be put to the test on a regular basis because of the rotation's collective proclivity to produce short outings.

Yanks closer Aroldis Chapman will continue to fine tune his slider in an effort to make his once always-electric fastball play up as it loses velocity. The Yankees will also have ground ball guru Zack Britton and another strikeout artist in Adam Ottavino, two of the Yankees free agent signings setting up Chapman.

Chad Green, Jonathan Holder and Tommy Kahnle will pitch in middle relief, and should receive some high-leverage work along the way. The Yankees might even use Green as an opener on occasion. Luis Cessa will pitch in long relief and Stephen Tarpley has a role at least until Betances returns.

The Offense

The 2018 Yankees set MLB's single-season home run record by a team with 267 round-trippers. The record is indeed well within reach as the Yankees' offense is highlighted by two of the game's most prolific home run hitters in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, who will be key to the squad's success.

Judge is more than just a power hitter. His patience at the plate and his new two-strike approach might result in a decrease in strikeouts, which could help make Judge an MVP favorite. Stanton, in his second season in the Bronx, had a much better season in 2018 than some give him credit. Yet, with a year under his belt in New York and playing primarily as the squad's designated hitter, Stanton believes he is poised to step it up a notch.

Beyond Judge and Stanton, the Yankees have legitimate home run hitters up and down its lineup. In fact, the Yankees will once again have a chance at getting 20 or more home runs from each position in the batting order, and field a club with 12 players with double-digit home runs.

The Yankees will be without leadoff man Aaron Hicks for at least the first couple series of the season as he rests a weakened back. Hicks will be replaced by Brett Gardner for most games.

In the infield, Luke Voit, Gleyber Torres, Troy Tulowitzki and Miguel Andujar will receive a majority of the starts with Greg Bird and DJ LeMahieu finding time at 1B/DH and across the infield, respectively. Newly acquired outfielder Mike Tauchman rounds out the Yankees bench.

Behind the plate, Gary Sanchez is lean and hopes to put a disastrous 2018 season behind him. Austin Romine will once again be Sanchez's backup.

The Yankees grind at-bats and have some sneaky speed, but New York generally needs to be pounding baseballs into the seats. Fortunately, the group is built to hit home runs, and if the collection of thumpers is able to reach or eclipse last season's homer mark, it is safe to say that scoring runs will not be an issue.

Things will go well for the Yankees if…

First, the Yankees need Paxton to take control of the rotation from the outset of the season, and then Severino has to come back at the top of his game. While the bullpen is incredibly strong and the offense is going to be among the top performers in the league, it's a legitimate one-two punch from the rotation that the Yankees have lacked in recent seasons. Paxton and Severino have the talent to become one of the best duos at the front end of any rotation.

Second, the Yankees role players will have to play a major part this season. Tulowitzki filling in for Didi Gregorius, Gardner playing more with Hicks out, and LeMahieu roving around the infield will all receive an abundance of reps at the plate. If they produce well, the Yankees will be in good shape when the starters return.

Things won't go well for the Yankees if…

The team's health is already putting pressure on the club, and if it becomes a trend, there may not be enough depth to hold up the fort. The rotation seems to be the most susceptible to injury concerns, and the least able to be comfortably filled by a member of the organization.

Another potential issue that could derail the Yankees championship hopes is a poor performance from the bullpen. Chapman missed a month last season with a balky knee, and has been shaky at times. Betances is already out for the beginning of the season, and he too has bouts with inconsistency. Britton and Ottavino could be great, but they each have endured recent periods of underperformance.

Finally, if Yankees skipper Aaron Boone fails to improve his ability to translate the front office game plan on a daily basis, the team could suffer in the postseason.

Final record and season outcome

The Yankees have the ability to win 100 games again this season. Despite a soft schedule to open the season, the Yankees are going to be missing key contributors early on, and potentially more injuries will come its way. This leads me to peg the Yanks' regular season record at 95-67.

Despite my conservative regular season take, I admit the Yankees would be a dangerous playoff club - if healthy - in October. With two top-flight starting pitchers and a third starter with a playoff pedigree, a dominant bullpen, and plenty of offensive might, the Yankees will have the ability to win its 28th World Series title.

Ultimately, while the Yankees have roster firepower, they need smooth waters all season and the boat is already rocking. In my estimation, the 2019 Yankees will reach the American League Championship Series, but fail to advance to the World Series.


HARPER: 10 Bold Predictions for 2019 season >> Read More

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Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Greg Bird, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Jonathan Holder, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar, Stephen Tarpley, Chris Carelli
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Mike Tauchman (Bob DeChiara)
Mike Tauchman (Bob DeChiara)

Yankees GM Brian Cashman dropped some news on Tuesday when he said OF Mike Tauchman was fully healthy. He had been dealing with a calf injury, but has since rehabbed himself back into the conversation of a roster spot. 

But, with the Yankees already three games into the ALCS, Tauchman may not be able to be considered until a potential World Series berth. However, there is one reason why the Yanks may consider placing him on the roster right now. 

Giancarlo Stanton has been dealing with a strained quad after Game 1, and he had to sit the bench in the past two contests because of it. Little is known about how bad the strain is, but Aaron Boone has noted Stanton being available off the bench. He also said on Wednesday during his presser that no decision has been made on him just yet. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Scott Thompson
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Oct 7, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch (14) gestures while in the dugout during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Oct 7, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch (14) gestures while in the dugout during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Yankees players and coaches became angry with the Astros during Game 1 of the ALCS when they noticed a whistling sound in the Astros' dugout -- which they believed was an over-the-line example of sign stealing, and a violation of the game's unwritten rules.

According to three sources, a Yankees coach noticed a whistling sound in the opposing dugout on certain pitches on Saturday night in Houston. The Yankees started yelling across the field, and people in the dugouts argued back and forth.

"The whole dugout was pissed," said one source. "Everyone was chirping."

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Major League Baseball made the weather decision Wednesday to push Game 4 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium in New York back 24 hours, and both the Yankees and Astros have adjusted accordingly as they set their starting pitchers for the next two matchups.

When each starter -- Astros RHP Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA) and Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA) -- returns to the mound for first pitch Thursday at 8:08 p.m., the rematch of Game 1's 7-0 Yankees win from Minute Maid Park in Houston has series-altering implications.

With potential for four games in as many days through Sunday, should the series reach Game 7, did manager Aaron Boone make the right call to start Tanaka off five days of rest?

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Domingo German, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton
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Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )
Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )

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. 

Tags: Chad Green, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) hits a solo home run against the Houston Astros in the sixth inning in game one of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina )
Oct 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) hits a solo home run against the Houston Astros in the sixth inning in game one of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina )

With Game 4 of the ALCS between the Yankees and Astros rained out, there is an extra day of rest before the series resumes. But the status of injured Giancarlo Stanton was still cloudy when Aaron Boone spoke on Wednesday afternoon.

Boone said he wasn't sure if Stanton would be available to start on Thursday, adding that he believes he'll be available as a bench bat -- as he was in Games 2 and 3. Stanton did not pinch-hit in either game.

"I do believe we have his bat off the bench right now, Boone said.  "We'll continue to evaluate this as smartly as we can moving forward"

Asked at what point the Yankees would need to consider replacing Stanton on the ALCS roster, Boone responded by noting that since Stanton is available to hit, they don't feel like they're playing a man short.

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Danny Abriano
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Justin Verlander (Thomas Shea)
Justin Verlander (Thomas Shea)

With Game 4 of the ALCS washed out as expected and set to be made up on Thursday night, the Astros have done the expected thing. And the expected thing could give them an advantage over the Yankees.

Manager A.J. Hinch said earlier this week that the likely plan was to have a bullpen game in Game 4. With the game moved back a day due to the postponement, Zack Greinke will move up and pitch Game 4 on regular rest (instead of Game 5) and Justin Verlander will pitch on regular rest in Game 5 (instead of Game 6).

"Very easy for us," Hinch said Wednesday during a conference call about the rotation changes. "It was our plan if this happened. ... JV on regular rest in Game 5 -- the sooner that we can use our best pitchers, the better for us. It was an easy decision."

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Danny Abriano
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Jul 27, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; General view of a tarp on the field as the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium informs fans of a rain delay before a game between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jul 27, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; General view of a tarp on the field as the scoreboard at Yankee Stadium informs fans of a rain delay before a game between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Game 4 of the ALCS between the Yankees and Astros has been postponed, it was announced late Wednesday morning, just over eight hours before the first pitch was set to be thrown.

The Bronx is set to be hit with inclement weather and as a result, there will be no baseball on Wednesday, as the Washington Nationals have already clinched a berth to the World Series.

The Yankees and Astros will no longer get a break in between Game 5 and 6 to travel back to Houston, and will now have to play four games in four days. Game 5 is slated to begin at 7:08 p.m. in New York.

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Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) strikes out off a pitch by Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) during the seventh inning in game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) strikes out off a pitch by Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) during the seventh inning in game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Your mission, Yankees, should you choose to accept it, is now to win three straight games or at best be doomed to facing Gerrit Cole in Game 7, which is pretty much a death sentence these days. 

Ok, choose isn't exactly the right word, since the Astros are going to have plenty to say about the Yankees getting on any type of roll in this ALCS, and obviously Justin Verlander would be no picnic in Game 6 as well. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Masahiro Tanaka, John Harper
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Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) hands the ball to manager Aaron Boone (17) during the fifth inning of game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) hands the ball to manager Aaron Boone (17) during the fifth inning of game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Sanchez's receiving
 
In the seventh, Gary Sanchez struggled to receive two consecutive pitches, costing the Yankees a run -- though it was questionable whether he should have been able to handle the second one.
 
The first, a sinker from Zack Britton with a runner on third, hit umpire Kerwin Danley, preventing the runner from scoring. The second, another sinker was ruled a wild pitch, but it was one that Sanchez might have stopped. This time, the run scored.
 
"Sanchez needs a good catching coach," tweeted former Yankees pitcher David Wells. "Wow."
 
Another former pitcher texted to disagree.
 
"I don't [think he should have caught it]," the pitcher said. "It was a nasty sinker in the dirt."
 
Perhaps Sanchez could have at least moved more quickly in an attempt to stop a tough pitch.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Chad Green, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Zack Britton, Andy Martino
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Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) pitches during the seventh inning in game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Adam Ottavino (0) pitches during the seventh inning in game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Throughout the regular season, the Yankees bullpen was one of the team's calling cards. Even at times when the starting pitching struggles, the Yankees could seemingly always rely on the backend of their bullpen. 

One of the key cogs of that backend has been Adam Ottavino, who pitched to a 1.90 ERA in 73 regular season appearances.

But the postseason, specifically the ALCS, has been a different story for the right-hander. 

After allowing the game-tying home run to George Springer in the fifth inning of Game 2, Ottavino struggled again in Tuesday's Game 3 loss.

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Boone on Game 3 loss 00:01:51
Luis Severino's outing and the lack of offense in Gm3 loss to the Astros

In a crucial Game 3 of a tied series with the Astros, the Yankees sent Luis Severino to the mound to start the first of three games at Yankee Stadium. Despite throwing a scoreless set of innings in his last time out, he was unable to match that performance Tuesday afternoon.

Severino exited Game 3 Tuesday earlier than he or Aaron Boone would've liked, heading back to the dugout after 4.1 innings that saw him allow five hits on 97 pitches, with six strikeouts and three walks. Severino allowed two home runs in the first two innings, including one to Jose Altuve on just the third pitch of the game.

When asked after the game how hard it was to get back on track after the rough start, Severino said "it was tough."

Tags: Luis Severino
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Astros take 2-1 lead in ALCS 00:01:39
Gregorius, Judge, Gardner, Hicks, Cole and Hinch on Cole shutting down Yankees offense

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees fell to the Astros 4-1 at Yankee Stadium, and now trail 2-1 in the ALCS. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Tuesday's game

1) The Yankees' task just got a whole lot tougher, and not just because of the math. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, John Harper
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Sep 8, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Mike Tauchman (39) walks off the field after an apparent injury during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)
Sep 8, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Mike Tauchman (39) walks off the field after an apparent injury during the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports (Bob DeChiara)

In the wake of Giancarlo Stanton's strained quad and possible insertion onto the IL, the Yankees may have another option to go to as they battle the Astros in the ALCS.

It was reported by Joel Sherman of the NY Post Tuesday that Mike Tauchman may be available to return from a left calf injury for the Yankees if they decide to downgrade Stanton's availability. Sherman spoke with Yankees GM Brain Cashman prior to Game 3: "He is healthy and eligible," Cashman said. "That is why he has been down in Tampa doing all his stuff."

This is a big development for a New York squad that has been riddled with injuries all season, and that had just gotten Aaron Hicks back from injury just in time for the ALCS as well.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton
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Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) delivers during the first inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) delivers during the first inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)

After the Yankees split Saturday and Sunday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, New York returns home Tuesday to the Bronx at 4:04 p.m. from Yankee Stadium for Game 3 of the ALCS against the Astros.

Yankees notes

Sunday's Game 2 of the ALCS alone made the series live up to the hype. After the Yankees dominated Saturday's 7-0 win to grab Game 1, the Astros got New York back in Game 2 with an 11th-inning leadoff home run by SS Carlos Correa against LHP J.A. Happ. Correa starred for the Astros at the plate and in the field, highlighted by his sixth-inning throw home when he caught 1B DJ LeMahieu rounding third base by three steps.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Chad Green, DJ LeMahieu, Edwin Encarnacion , Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Giancarlo Stanton (Troy Taormina )
Giancarlo Stanton (Troy Taormina )

Giancarlo Stanton remained out of the Yankees' lineup for Game 3 of the ALCS on Tuesday after missing Sunday's Game 2 due to a quad injury, with manager Aaron Boone updating Stanton's clouded status before the game.

Before reaching the podium for his pregame press conference, Boone told reporters including Lindsey Adler of The Athletic that Stanton would "probably" be on the IL if it was the regular season.

Talking before the game about his injury, Stanton said he can hit but that playing the outfield is "the biggest question."

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Danny Abriano
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Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )
Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As things currently stand, the Yankees and Astros are both planning to have bullpen games on Wednesday in Game 4 of the ALCS. It looks like that game is in serious jeopardy of getting postponed, though, potentially opening the door for big rotation changes for both teams.

According to Accuweather, the forecast in the Bronx -- when the Yanks and Astros are set for first pitch at 8:08 p.m. on Wednesday -- calls for pretty steady rain between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 1 a.m. Thursday. 

If Game 4 is postponed, it will be pushed to Thursday at Yankee Stadium, followed by Game 5 on Friday (also at Yankee Stadium) and Game 6 (if necessary) on Saturday in Houston. Game 7 would take place on Sunday in Houston.

Tags: James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Danny Abriano
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Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) reacts during the second inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports (David Berding)
Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) reacts during the second inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports (David Berding)

With the Yankees and Astros set to play another three games against each other at Yankee Stadium, it's hard not to look at comparisons between this series and the one that occurred two years ago.

In the 2017 ALCS, the home team won every game that was played, and unfortunately for the Yankees, the Astros had home field advantage for that series--just like they do again for this one.

But this time around, the Yankees return home from a two-game stint in Houston with a win already under their belt, and nearly came home with two before a-walkoff home run by Carlos Correra ended that dream. And yet, one game may be all the Yankees need now that they're back in New York.

Tags: Luis Severino
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Alex Rodriguez at Mets spring training. (Matthew Cerrone/SNY)
Alex Rodriguez at Mets spring training. (Matthew Cerrone/SNY)

ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" reportedly could have changes coming on the horizon.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, ESPN is considering scrapping its current broadcast crew as it examines other potential personalities in the booth for MLB's 2020 season.

While Alex Rodriguez is safe no matter what with one more year left on his contract, he could have new teammates alongside him when the program returns next spring.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez
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 (Troy Taormina )
(Troy Taormina )

The Yankees pulled off a bit of a Game 1 shocker against the Astros in opening game of the ALCS, topping the series favorites 7-0 on the road. The bats came to play, but RHP Masahiro Tanaka did, too. 

Tanaka continued his postseason dominance. His ERA in seven career playoff starts is now 1.32. 

Over six shutout innings, Tanaka allowed only two runners and one hit. But after just 68 pitches, the Yankees opted for the bullpen. 

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka
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Harper on ALCS 00:01:38
SNY's John Harper looks back at the Yankees loss in Gm2 of the ALCS and looks ahead as the series shifts to Yankee Stadium for Gm 3

The Yankees already have a tentative pitching plan in place for Game 4 of the ALCS on Wednesday, a day before Tuesday's Game 3. 

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on Monday that Wednesday is going to be a "bullpen day," adding that LHP J.A. Happ could play a role in the festivities as well, following his Game 2 mishap. 

"Obviously kind of depends a lot on what happens tomorrow. J-Happ could very much be in the mix," Boone said. "As well as... I picture our bullpen being unleashed on that day."

Tags: Chad Green, J.A. Happ, Luis Severino
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General view of the exterior of Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes-USA Today Sports)
General view of the exterior of Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports (Rich Barnes-USA Today Sports)

Here are the key 2019 MLB offseason dates, and how they impact the Yankees...


Day after World Series ends: Free agency begins

Before factoring in raises for arbitration, the Yankees already have a shade over $164 million committed to their payroll for 2020. But there is still room to spend, and there will be plenty of big names out there. 

Among the biggest names expected to hit the free agent market: Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Marcell Ozuna, and Will Smith

The Yankees' notable free agents include Didi Gregorius, Dellin Betances, and Brett Gardner.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, James Paxton, Danny Abriano
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Oct 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game five of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
Oct 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game five of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees couldn't come away with another road victory against the Astros on Sunday night, falling 3-2 in extras to tie the series up. Unlike their seven-run splurge in Game 1, Justin Verlander calmed the Yanks' bats down a bit with his stellar arsenal on the mound, allowing only the two-run homer to Aaron Judge that accounted for the team's only runs in the contest. 

Now the ALCS heads to the Bronx for the first time, which should work in the Yankees' favor right? Not necessarily with Gerrit Cole on the mound. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Edwin Encarnacion , Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, Scott Thompson
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Jun 25, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates his solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jun 25, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates his solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays with catcher Gary Sanchez (24) during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Yankees have up to 12 arbitration-eligible players this offseason, with James Paxton, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez the biggest names in that group. 

Once a player is offered arbitration, the team and that player's agent have until a set date -- usually at some point in February -- to come to terms on a new contract. If that doesn't happen, both sides submit salary proposals and the player's salary is determined at a hearing by independent arbitrators. 

According to MLB Trade Rumors, here's what the Yankees' arbitration-eligible players are projected to make in 2020...

Tags: Aaron Judge, Chad Green, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, James Paxton, Jonathan Holder, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Cessa, Tommy Kahnle, Danny Abriano
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 (Thomas Shea)
(Thomas Shea)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

HOUSTON -- Dellin Betances tore his Achilles in September. Domingo German is on the restricted list because of a domestic violence allegation. On this night, the Yankees missed both of those pitchers (and, of course, the baseball impact of German's situation is insignificant compared to what his alleged victim experienced).

Jonathan Loaisiaga appeared overwhelmed and unable to find the strike zone. Betances would have inspired much more confidence in that spot, or at least lengthened the bullpen by having another high-leverage guy and not ever needing Loaisiga. The left-handed and homer-prone J.A. Happ in the game as the bulk guy in extra innings, was a far less favorable matchup against the Astros' righty-heavy lineup than the righty German would have been.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Cameron Maybin, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Domingo German, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Jonathan Loaisiga, Tommy Kahnle, Andy Martino
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 (Thomas Shea)
(Thomas Shea)

Game 2 of the ALCS made every pitch matter Sunday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, but perhaps no play swung the momentum more than what happened midway through the sixth inning.

With two on and two out as DJ LeMahieu led off second and Gleyber Torres from fits, Brett Gardner's sharp ground ball up the middle initially short hopped off Jose Altuve at second base and into the hole, but Carlos Correa came over from shortstop in time.

While Torres stayed put on second, LeMahieu wheeled around after getting waved by third-base coach Phil Nevin and booked for home plate.

Tags: Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres
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Judge confident heading to Bronx 00:00:55
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge was bummed the team lost Game 2 but has confidence with the series shifting to the Bronx.

Disappointment filled the locker room as the Yankees summed up Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS, but the main objective at Minute Maid Park in Houston ultimately got accomplished.

While the Yankees had the Astros on the ropes and let the chance to go up 2-0 slip away, the two-game trip ended with the next three matchups back before the Yankee Stadium crowd in New York, starting Tuesday at 4:08 p.m. ET.

Despite the poor performance at the plate for the Yankees, whose only runs came on Aaron Judge's two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning, they brush off their six-hit evening with an opportunity to get Game 3 -- and possibly the series -- done in the Bronx.

Tags: DJ LeMahieu, Gary Sanchez
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 (Thomas Shea)
(Thomas Shea)

With one out in the bottom of the third inning, Aaron Boone pulled the plug on James Paxton.

The southpaw's start ended early Sunday after allowing one run -- Carlos Correa's one-out double to left field, scoring Alex Bregman from second base in the bottom of the second inning -- on four hits and three strikeouts to two walks in 2.1 frames, making Boone call on eight different arms out of the bullpen.

Game 2 of the ALCS ultimately ended in the bottom of the 11th inning on Correa's leadoff solo shot off J.A. Happ, who entered midway through the previous frame, but Boone backed the decision to pull Paxton early and pointed to the bullpen's overall production despite the Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Jonathan Loaisiga, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees fell 3-2 to the Astros on Saturday in Game 2 of the ALCS, evening the series at 1-1.

Five things to know from Sunday's game

1.) For all the talk about the bullpen edge the Yankees have in this series, Game 2 proved that too much of a good thing can have its consequences.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, Cameron Maybin, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Jonathan Loaisiga, Tommy Kahnle, John Harper
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Beltran wants to be a manager 00:02:28
New York Mets manager candidate Carlos Beltran explains to SNY's Andy Martino what he brings to the table as a MLB manager

As the Mets' search for their new manager continues, one former New York star publicly expressed his desire to lead an MLB team for 2020 and beyond, but will the opportunity come in orange and blue?

Before the Yankees played Game 2 of the ALCS against the Astros at Minute Maid Park in Houston, former 20-year veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran expressed his desire to become a manager when he caught up with SNY's Andy Martino on the field.

Beltran, who spent 2005-10 as a Met and slashed .279/.366/.499 with 134 home runs and 493 RBI in 741 games over six seasons, interviewed Thursday for the New York job and turned down chances to do the same with the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres.

Tags: Carlos Beltran
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 (Troy Taormina )
(Troy Taormina )

With the Yankees down one run in the top of the fourth inning, Aaron Judge made Astros starter Justin Verlander pay.

After a leadoff walk from Verlander against DJ LeMahieu to start the frame, the righty made a mistake with Judge on an 0-1 count.

Verlander hung a slider above the belt over the plate and Judge sent the pitch into orbit, crushing a two-run home run to right-center field and putting the Yankees ahead of the Astros for a 2-1 lead.

Tags: Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu
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Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Yankees look to extend their series lead in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Astros on Sunday at 8:08 p.m. at Minute Maid Park.

Yankees notes

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the series after beating the Astros 7-0 in Game 1 of the ALCS. Gleyber Torres was the star of the night, going 3-for-5 with 5 RBI thanks to a double and home run. Giancarlo Stanton went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, but injured his quad and will not start Game 2. Starter Masahiro Tanaka allowed just one hit over six innings, striking out four batters and walking just one in the win. Gio Urshela put the nail in the coffin with his solo home run in the ninth inning, he finished the game 2-for-4 from the plate.

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) hits a solo home run against the Houston Astros in the sixth inning in game one of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina )
Oct 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) hits a solo home run against the Houston Astros in the sixth inning in game one of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina )

Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton will not start in Sunday night's Game 2 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros after injuring his quad in Saturday's Game 1.

Manager Aaron Boone spoke before Game 2, and said Stanton could pinch hit or play the field in an emergency.

"Yeah, kinda injured his quad last night," Boone said. "Hoping that it's something that with today and the off day he'll be back and play for Game 3. We'll see how these next 48 hours unfold. He would be available tonight to hit or go in an emergency situation... Didn't feel like he was good to start."

 

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton
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Oct 8, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) is taken out of the game by manager AJ Hinch (14) during the fourth inning in game four of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Oct 8, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) is taken out of the game by manager AJ Hinch (14) during the fourth inning in game four of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

The Yankees got the job done in Game 1, shutting out the Astros on their home field to take the first game of the ALCS, 7-0. And they could truly carry all the momentum to the Bronx if they can collect another road victory on Sunday night. 

However, they'll have to go through the Astros' ace in Justin Verlander to do so. 

Two years ago, Verlander dominated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park in his two ALCS starts. His first was in Game 2, pitching a complete game where he allowed just one run while striking out 13. Then seven scoreless innings game in Game 6 to help force a divisive Game 7 that the Yankees would ultimately lose. 

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Martino on Stanton 00:01:05
SNY's Andy Martino breaks down the changes in Giancarlo Stanton's approach at the plate in Gm 1 of the ALCS after his struggles in 2018

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The right call to remove Tanaka

HOUSTON -- Masahiro Tanaka threw 68 pitches through six innings, allowing just one hit and dominating the Houston offense. Because of that, the knee-jerk response when Adam Ottavino trotted out of the bullpen to begin the seventh might have been outrage.

But one simple fact made it the right call: Opponents have a .387 wOBA (weighted on-base average) against Tanaka the third time through the lineup this year, which was where the Astros found themselves after six.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Carlos Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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Torres, Tanaka dominate Astros 00:02:28
Gregorius, Judge, Gardner, Tanaka and Torres on taking a 1-0 lead in the ALCS

When Aaron Boone's Yankees lineup for Game 1 of the ALCS was announced earlier on Saturday, it was nearly identical to what the team rolled out in the ALDS against the Twins, with one notable exception.

Boone moved Gleyber Torres up to the third spot in the order, hitting between Aaron Judge and Edwin Encarnacion

The impact of that move was felt immediately against the Astros, as Torres went 3-for-5 at the plate, driving in five runs in the Yankees' dominant 7-0 Game 1 win.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres
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Boone talks Game 1 win 00:01:57
Yankees manager Aaron Boone on Torres and Tanaka leading the Yankees emphatic 7-0 win in Gm 1 of the ALCS

Masahiro Tanaka was brilliant for the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros, putting his team in position to take a 1-0 lead in the series with a win on the road.

The right-hander threw six near perfect innings for New York, allowing just one hit and one walk with four strikeout on 68 pitches.

"Going into the game with a plan," Tanaka said through a translator, on why he was so effective Saturday night. "...really focusing on each pitch, executing your pitches, that's kind of what it all comes down to."

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka
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 (Troy Taormina )
(Troy Taormina )

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees defeated the Astos 7-0 on Saturday in Game 1 of the ALCS, taking a 1-0 series lead. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Saturday's game

1) So who said the Astros have the advantage in the starting pitching in this ALCS, anyway?

Tags: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Masahiro Tanaka, John Harper
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Oct 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) reacts to hitting an RBI double against the Houston Astros in the fourth inning in game one of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)
Oct 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) reacts to hitting an RBI double against the Houston Astros in the fourth inning in game one of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)

Gleyber Torres put the Yankees on the board first in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros. 

In a tight-knit game that has both Masahiro Tanaka and Zack Greinke dealing early, Torres hit an RBI double with one out in the top of the fourth inning to bring DJ LeMahieu in for the first run of the game.


 (Troy Taormina )
(Troy Taormina )

Aaron Judge is typically known more for his bat, but he made a great play in the field to help preserve the Yankees' ALCS Game 1 lead.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Masahiro Tanaka
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Aaron Hicks/CC Sabathia
Aaron Hicks/CC Sabathia

Both the Yankees and Astros finalized their ALCS rosters on Saturday, and both CC Sabathia and Aaron Hicks will be available for the Bombers as they battle Houston for a World Series berth.

The Yankees, who went with a 12-man pitching staff in the ALDS, have opted for 13 pitchers against the Astros. Rather than have Sabathia replace a different pitcher on the staff, the team left both Tyler Wade and Luke Voit off the ALCS roster. Additionally, David Hale was designated for assignment to make room on the team's 40-man roster for Hicks, who had previously been on the 60-day injured list.


Aug 22, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Aug 22, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

The Yankees look to get things started on the right foot in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Astros on Saturday at 8:08 p.m. at Minute Maid Park.

Yankees notes

Aaron Hicks and CC Sabathia are back on the ALCS roster for the Yankees, while Luke Voit and Tyler Wade were left off. ... Hicks is not in the starting lineup, while Sabathia will pitch out of the bullpen during the series. ... The Astros took four of seven games from the Yankees in the 2019 regular season, including a three-game sweep in Houston. ... The Yankees have moved Gleyber Torres up to the third spot in the lineup after having Brett Gardner in that spot for all three games of the ALDS. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka, Tyler Wade
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Judge looking forward to ALCS 00:02:17
New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge pinpoints added postseason experience being key to the Yankees success in this ALCS

With the stage set for a rematch of the 2017 ALCS, the Yankees took the field at Minute Maid Park on Friday for their team workout ahead of this year's Championship Series.

And while there were no fans in the seats on Friday, the Yankees know that the Astros home-field advantage has been very real over the past few seasons, but it's nothing the team doesn't think they can' handle.

"I think our guys relish in this," said Aaron Boone. "Clearly the Astros have shown that they have a really good home-field advantage here, not only this year but even going back a few years and a lot of us are aware of how loud this place can be, but a lot of our guys will relish in that, embrace that, and hopefully find a way to have success through it all. But I don't worry about that affecting our guys and our performance."

Tags: Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton
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Jun 6, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) hits a three run home run against Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Dan Hamilton)
Jun 6, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) hits a three run home run against Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Dan Hamilton)

Aaron Boone said on Friday afternoon that the team had yet to finalize their ALCS roster, but there have been a couple of hints that suggest outfielder Aaron Hicks will indeed be included on the roster.

As the Yankees took the field at Minute Made Park for Friday's workout, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch noted that the group breakdown of the team's batting practice did not include Tyler Wade's name, though it did include both Hicks and Luke Voit.

George King of the New York Post also noted that Wade does not have a locker in the Yankees clubhouse in Houston.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Luke Voit, Tyler Wade
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Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

When Yankees manager Aaron Boone met with the media in Houston on Friday on the eve of the ALCS, the first order of business was announcing the the Yankees' pitching rotation.

According to Boone, the Yankees will go with Masahiro Tanaka in Game 1, James Paxton in Game 2, and Luis Severino in Game 3, and then go from there. 

"Again, I felt like it was a good decision, a tough one to be made, similar to the Division Series where I was going back and forth a lot," said Boone. "Just felt like Masa here in Game 1, that's the way I wanted to go in the end."

Tags: James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Springer on Bronx atmosphere 00:01:03
Houston Astros outfielder George Springer reflects on how intense of an atmosphere Yankee Stadium is to play in.

Game 1 of the ALCS is set to begin Saturday at Yankee Stadium, and Astros outfielder George Springer knows it will be a hostile environment.

"They expect their team to win," Springer said of Yankee fans on Friday. "It's a very, very hard place to play at any time of year, let alone October. It's a crazy atmosphere."

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Jun 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) talks to New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) at second base during a pitching change during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jun 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) talks to New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) at second base during a pitching change during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

For months, it seemed destined to be this way, Astros versus Yankees, a trip to the World Series the prize. There were some tense moments for Houston - well, at least until the first inning of that deciding game against the Rays - but here we are:  

Astro-geddon. Cole-pocalypse. A series of Judge-ian proportions. A Bunch of "Savages" versus Baseball's Best Team.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Tyler Wade, Anthony McCarron
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Bregman, Cole on playing Yankees 00:01:26
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman and pitcher Gerrit Cole speak about their upcoming ALCS matchup against the New York Yankees.

The Yankees had to wait three days, but now their ALCS matchup is set.

The Astros defeated the Rays 6-1 in a winner-take-all Game 5 in Houston, securing their trip to the ALCS. Gerrit Cole was once again phenomenal on the mound, tossing eight innings while allowing just one run on two hits. The game was Cole's 11th straight outing with at least 10 strikeouts. 

The Astros jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first inning off of Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, and they never looked back.

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Tyler Glasnow/Gerrit Cole
Tyler Glasnow/Gerrit Cole

The Yankees are all set to go in the ALCS. They just need an opponent. 

The Rays pulled out an upset of Justin Verlander in Game 4 in their home Tropicana Field on Tuesday night, forcing a divisive Game 5 on Thursday night at 7:07 p.m. This one, though, will be in Houston with Gerrit Cole facing off against Tyler Glasnow -- a much tougher challenge for the Rays to pull off the ultimate upset. 

Either way, who would the Yankees want to face in the Championship Series? 

Tags: Aaron Judge, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Scott Thompson
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Aaron Boone/Brian Cashman (Kim Klement)
Aaron Boone/Brian Cashman (Kim Klement)

Manager Aaron Boone and the Yankees are working through all the options they can have for their 25-man roster leading up to the ALCS. They don't yet know their opponent with the Astros and Rays playing Game 5 of their ALDS on Thursday night, but the preparation begun ever since New York clinched the series sweep against the Twins on Monday night. 

But when exactly do they need to decide who will be on their roster? 

The official deadline for the Yankees to get their 25-man roster in is actual the day of the game. Boone needs to have his roster in by 10 a.m., EST on Saturday. 

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