If the miracle is complete and the New York Yankees host the Boston Red Sox in a one-game AL East tiebreaker, who gets the nod for the Bombers?
It’s a long shot for the New York Yankees, but there’s still a possibility for them to snag the American League East crown from the Boston Red Sox.
After a Yankees’ win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday afternoon and a Red Sox loss to the red-hot Houston Astros later in the night, New York pulled within two games of the division lead with two games left to play.
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While Boston’s magic number to clinch back-to-back division titles for the first time in franchise history remains at one, two losses and two Yankees’ wins would mean a one-game AL East tiebreaker would go down on Monday night at Yankee Stadium.
This would spark some pitching questions for manager Joe Girardi. Who will start? Would he go with ace Luis Severino? Use a unique bullpen scheme starting with Chad Green? The options are essentially endless, but veteran lefty CC Sabathia should get the call.
Reason number one is the structure makes sense. Burning Severino in a potential AL East tiebreaker game would lose him for not only the do-or-die Wild Card game (if the Yankees can’t take down the Red Sox) and the first two games of the American League Division Series. Even if Severino gets the win, he’ll likely start just once in the first round of the postseason if given the nod.
If the opportunity presents itself, the 37-year-old is lined up to start Monday on seven days of rest against a team he has utterly dominated in 2017.
Over four starts versus Boston this season, Sabathia is 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA and has won five consecutive starts against them dating back to Sept. 19, 2016. With 15 wins against them since joining the Yankees in 2009, he owns second-most wins versus the Red Sox by a Yankees’ starter since 1970.
Plus, he’s an experienced veteran and was the 2009 ALCS MVP for heroics in the postseason. A tiebreaker game for the division wouldn’t come close to the biggest of stages CC Sabathia has pitched on throughout his 17-year-career.
What are the odds this would be a scenario? FanGraphs gives the odds of the AL East finishing in a tie at 9.1 percent, so not great. However, it’s certainly reassuring that the Yankees have a trustworthy arm to employ that could not only set themselves up for a tiebreaker win, but that could help their push toward title No. 28.