J.A. Happ has been on fire in his past few starts, and New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone is taking note as he preps for the playoffs.
A little bit of controversy is seemingly what the doctor ordered for New York Yankees southpaw J.A. Happ.
It seems like just yesterday that Happ was accusing the Yankees of limiting his usage to stop his 2021 player option from going into effect. After Bombers general manager Brian Cashman returned fire by criticizing Happ’s performance, the lefty has dominated.
The 37-year-old is 2-2 with a 3.25 ERA in eight starts thus far in 2020. In his last three outings, he’s given up a trio of runs while striking out 24 batters in 19.1 innings.
He’s been so good that his skipper, Aaron Boone, has major plans for him come playoff time.
“He’s obviously going to be on the team [in the postseason] and playing a big role,” Boone told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch. “This season, he showed me a level of mental toughness and professionalism that has been really admirable. He’s been one of the anchors in the rotation.”
The MLB’s postseason bubble setup eliminates mid-series travel days. Therefore, chances are that Boone is talking about using Happ as a starter.
That’s a major step up from last year when Happ’s lousy regular season bumped him to the bullpen for the playoffs. But before Yankees fans get excited about Happ taking the mound in October, they might want to remember the last time he did so.
Following a torpid run to end the 2018 regular season, Happ took the ball in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox, a team he supposedly owns. Two innings later, the Sox had scored five runs, snatching the advantage in a series they eventually won 3-1.
That was before Happ started pitching angry though. Maybe 2020 is the year he pulls his career postseason ERA below 5.00.