Boone still mulling ALDS Game 1 starter

Stanton, LeMahieu ready to go with Yankees' postseason run about to begin

October 9th, 2022

NEW YORK -- The Yankees’ scheduled starter for Game 1 of the American League Division Series is … stay tuned.

While Gerrit Cole is the odds-on favorite to take the ball Tuesday against the Guardians at Yankee Stadium, manager Aaron Boone is leaving some wiggle room as the club considers Nestor Cortes or Luis Severino to draw that assignment.

“The good thing is, with Gerrit, Nestor and Sevy, I feel really good about where those guys are at and how we can match up from a starting standpoint against really any team right now,” Boone said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. “So it’s a little bit of a decision right now, but mostly I look at it as a good decision to have.”

Boone had previously identified Cole as his probable Game 1 starter, but he backed off that stance during the Yanks’ final series of the regular season against the Rangers in Arlington.

“I think I know which way I want to go,” Boone said. “But I want to sleep on it a little bit, talk to different people before ultimately making that decision. I’m leaning towards making that decision sooner rather than later.”

Cole wrapped his regular season with a 13-8 record and 3.50 ERA (111 ERA+), pacing the Majors with 33 starts and 257 strikeouts (a new franchise mark, eclipsing Ron Guidry’s 1978 total of 248), but the right-hander also led the AL with 33 home runs allowed. 

Cortes was 12-4 with a 2.44 ERA (159 ERA+) in 28 starts, striking out 163 batters in 158 1/3 innings. Severino was dominant in his final outing of the regular season, holding the Rangers hitless over seven innings on Oct. 3 to finish 7-3 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts.

Cole has pitched well against Cleveland (2-0, 1.42 ERA in two starts) this season. Cortes has also been solid, going 1-0 with a 2.19 ERA in two starts vs. the Guardians.

After his most recent start on Oct. 4, Cole said that he is “in a good spot to take the ball whenever they need me.”

“I feel that we’ve targeted some adjustments down the stretch here,” Cole said. “I’ve taken some risks and kind of explored some different sequences to try and be disciplined through the mechanics in order to execute positions.”

Matt at the bat
Matt Carpenter should appear on the Yankees’ ALDS roster as a pinch-hitter or designated hitter.

Out since Aug. 8 with a fractured left foot, Carpenter has been working out at the club’s makeshift alternate site in Somerset, N.J., gathering at-bats in hopes of possible activation. Carpenter worked out on Friday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, where numerous hitters and pitchers went through simulated situations.

“I expect him to be on the roster,” Boone said. “Maybe not a real option in the field in the first round, but definitely a bullet off the bench. It’s certainly trending in that direction.”

Andrew Benintendi (right wrist surgery) is also continuing to work out, though it is unlikely the Yankees would activate him earlier than a potential American League Championship Series.

Stanton Island
Giancarlo Stanton homered in his final three regular season games, which the slugger hopes is a sign of things to come this month.

Stanton was just 14-for-100 (.140) with four homers and 14 RBIs since coming off the injured list from a left Achilles injury before the power surge against the Orioles and Rangers.

“I felt good the past couple of days,” Stanton said after Wednesday’s game. “It’ll be good to get into these few off-days, tune up and be ready to go.”

Because of Stanton’s slow recovery from the Achilles injury, the Yankees do not anticipate playing him in the outfield during the postseason.

Play it, Mr. DJ
DJ LeMahieu was noticeably limping after some of the Yankees’ games to conclude the regular season, though the infielder believes he can grind through the right toe injury that slowed him through much of the second half.

Boone said that LeMahieu continues to receive treatment and acknowledged that he has been “compromised” by the injury, adding: “That’ll be something where we see how the treatments go over the next four or five days and make a call there.”

LeMahieu was 4-for-16 (.250) with two walks in five games after returning from the IL on Sept. 30.

“I just needed to give it a go,” LeMahieu said. “I couldn’t shut it down and be ready to play playoff baseball, so it was nice that we had a couple of games where I could just have some at-bats.”