When the Yankees gathered as a full group this spring, manager Aaron Boone outlined four goals that the team would pursue this season. You should be able to guess what they were: the first was securing the American League East title, and now they have achieved the second by sweeping the Twins in the American League Division Series and advancing to the AL Championship Series.
While the Yanks waited to see the Astros advance by beating the Rays in Game 5 of their ALDS on Thursday, the returned to New York to continue working out at Yankee Stadium, preparing for what should be a hard-fought ALCS -- the Bronx Bombers’ second in the last three seasons.
When and where is Game 1 of the ALCS? How can I watch it?
Game 1 of the ALCS will be played on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. The Yankees will faces the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Will there be any roster changes?
Possibly. The most prominent player on the bubble is left-hander CC Sabathia, who was held off the ALDS roster due to a sore left shoulder. Sabathia has been playing catch and said that he is scheduled to get on the mound at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
Boone has said that he envisioned Sabathia being utilized as a situational reliever, and that Sabathia’s injury opened the door for lefty Tyler Lyons to be included on the ALDS roster. Lyons appeared in Game 2, pitching a scoreless eighth inning.
What will the rotation look like?
Because the Yankees will have plenty of time to reset all of their arms, it seems to be a safe bet that they’ll go with the same three starters that handled duties against the Twins. James Paxton worked Game 1, Masahiro Tanaka took the mound in Game 2 and Luis Severino drew the start for the Game 3 clincher.
Should we expect any role or lineup changes in the ALCS?
Boone was delighted to use the same lineup for all three games in the ALDS, a luxury he was rarely afforded during the regular season. In fact, when he filled out his lineup card for ALDS Game 1, it was the first time that the Yankees had placed those nine hitters in the same batting order all year.
Though Boone said he entertained shifting some of the parts in Game 3 against right-hander Jake Odorizzi, he instead went with a static order -- DJ LeMahieu, Judge, Brett Gardner, Edwin Encarnacion, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Gary Sánchez, Didi Gregorius and Gio Urshela. It’s a good bet that he’ll do the same for ALCS Game 1.
Are there any injury concerns?
Only mild ones. Zack Britton exited in the eighth inning of ALDS Game 3 with a sore right ankle, which he jammed while covering first base. Though Britton tore his right Achilles tendon two years ago, he said that no tests are scheduled. General manager Brian Cashman said that he believes Britton will be available for the ALCS.
Aroldis Chapman was sporting an ice pack on his left hand after Monday's Game 3, revealing to reporters that he was hit with a bottle in the first minutes of the clubhouse celebration. Chapman is also expected to be ready for the next round.