Hey Tampa you think you’re so smart with starting relievers? Well, guess what? We’re unleashing our own bullpen game. Fighting fire with fire. Yup, didn’t see that one coming did you?
The real reason behind the Yankees doing this is to push back Luis Severino, who appears to be the guy hand-picked to start the Wild Card Game next Wednesday. If you push him to Thursday he’ll be on six days rest for October 3rd, and if he goes Friday he’ll be on normal rest. Does this risk getting Sevy out of his current rhythm because of the layoff he’d be on since his start against the Sox? Absolutely, and I think that should be a concern, but at the end of the day Severino at his best is the single best option the Yankees have. We saw him regain his form against Boston at Yankee Stadium and it shot him up the list of guys to start in that game.
Sow what this does is line up Tanaka or Severino to pitch in that game. That’s fine with me. I honestly won’t have a quarrel if it’s any of Severino, Tanaka, or Happ. You can make a good case for all three. The most important thing right now is to secure the AL Wild Card home field. Using your entire bullpen for a big game in Tampa may not be the worst plan. What will likely happen tonight is Johnny Holder for 1-2 innings, Sonny Gray for a few innings, maybe Justus Sheffield for an inning, and then normal bullpen guys for the later innings. This also allows the team to debut this tactic in case you want to use that in a potential playoff game (Game 4).
It’s going to be weird tonight, but this is the new era. Bullpens have taken over baseball. If Major League Baseball opts to expand rosters for an entire season the starting pitcher role may cease to exist all together. The Rays have won 87 games using this tactic and the Yankees are embracing it, for at least a day. It’s a copycat league as Boone said today. Let’s fight fire with fire and win at the Trop for a change.
P.S. This not a Boone decision so don’t rip him for it. This comes straight from the top. Boone has little to no say in who is going to pitch on October 3rd.