NEW YORK -- The decision to place backup catcher Austin Romine on the mound for the final three outs of Monday night's 16-1 loss in Game 3 of the American League Division Series was made with the next day in mind, as the Yankees will take an "all-hands-on-deck" approach to
NEW YORK -- The decision to place backup catcher Austin Romine on the mound for the final three outs of Monday night's 16-1 loss in Game 3 of the American League Division Series was made with the next day in mind, as the Yankees will take an "all-hands-on-deck" approach to keep the season alive and force a return trip to Boston.
Carsten Sabathia will be on the mound for the first inning of Tuesday's Game 4 for the Yankees, but that is about all that is guaranteed to the veteran lefty. Manager Aaron Boone has gone to the bullpen early in each the club's first four postseason games, though many would argue he did not pull Luis Severino quickly enough before Game 3 got out of hand.
"Obviously, we know how good our bullpen is and things like that," Sabathia said. "But in my mind, when I start the game, I start the game to finish the game. That's just how I am."
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Sabathia understands that a complete-game effort almost certainly will not happen, and so Boone is prepared to turn the keys over to a relief crew that was vaunted as one of the most promising reasons the Yankees could have a deep run this October.
By utilizing Lance Lynn, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder, Stephen Tarpley and then Romine in relief of Severino, Boone bypassed the arms that he will need if -- as expected -- Sabathia only lasts a turn or two through the Red Sox order: Dellin Betances, Player Page for David Robertson, Zach Britton and Albertin Chapman.
"Obviously, you hate doing something like [pitching Romine]," Boone said. "But we just felt like not wanting to use Robbie, Britton, Dellin or Chappy in that spot, knowing we're going to want them all potentially up to a couple of innings tomorrow if we need it. So that's what went into that."
In addition, J.A. Happ could be a long man out of the bullpen after throwing 44 pitches in his abbreviated Game 1 start, with Masahiro Tanaka set to pitch a potential winner-take-all Game 5 on regular rest. What could Boone's bullpen carousel look like in Game 4? Here are a few examples:
• If Sabathia gets through 3: Betances for 2, Robertson for 2, Britton for 1, Chapman for 1
• If Sabathia gets through 4: Betances for 2, Robertson for 1, Britton for 1, Chapman for 1
• If Sabathia gets through 5: Betances for 2, Britton for 1, Chapman for 1
There is some flexibility in the number of outs each pitcher could get, but you'll notice the key ingredient is Betances, who has proven himself to again be a dominant weapon at any point. He worked innings five and six in the AL Wild Card Game, and the sixth in Game 2 of the ALDS at Fenway Park. No matter what, the Yankees will find a way to get to him.
"He's one of the best relievers in the game, throwing the ball really well," Boone said. "So any time there's a big spot or a part of the order that scares you a little bit, he's a guy I'm really comfortable giving the ball to. ... He's certainly known as a guy that -- especially when it gets thick, we're very comfortable giving the ball to right now."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.