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That’s why you pay Gerrit Cole $10,000 per pitch. What a performance from the ace on Sunday. Because of last night’s rain delay, both the Yankees and Guardians have the option to pitch their game two starters. The Guardians haven’t announced whether or not they will use Shane Bieber (2.88 ERA) or Aaron Civale (4.92 ERA), but the Yankees will almost certainly be pitching nasty Nestor Cortes. Cortes and Bieber battled it out in game two, which went to extras, and the Yankees eventually lost. Nestor went five innings and allowed only two runs, keeping his hot arm as hot as it was over the final months of the season. The hefty lefty shook off a brief July slump to deal like he was Pablo Escobar down the stretch, allowing an amazing .131/.195/.206 slash line to opponents over the season’s final two months. He hasn’t yielded more than three runs in a start since early July, and he knows Cleveland well, posting a 2.19 ERA in two starts vs. the Guardians in the regular season. So, we know the Yankees will be fine even if they go up against a former Cy Young winner in Shane Bieber, but what about Aaron Civale? Aaron Civale, who would be making his first playoff start, isn’t exactly Pedro Martinez. Opponents of Civale have an on-base percentage of 300 at an average clip of 249. If your opponents are hitting better than your team’s lineup, it’s a good indication that it wasn’t your best year at the profession. This is the case with Civale.
While the lineup hasn’t been performing as well as it did during the regular season (I’m sorry, Aaron Judge), there are plenty of last names that the bleacher creatures are chanting blacked out drunk for the first time. Mid-season acquisition Harrison Bader has been the postseason hero, almost matching his regular season home run total through these four games.. Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres (who had a strong September after an ugly back half of the Summer), and Giancarlo Stanton make up the heart of the order behind some guy you’ve probably never heard of named Aaron Judge. With Andrew Benintendi (broken right hand) not expected to be ready to play until the American League Championship Series, Oswaldo Cabrera gets the nod at left field. Cabrera hit 304 with six home runs, 15 RBI, and a .984 OPS in his final 23 games of the year. The kid might be young enough to attract scouts for Epstein’s island, but he can sure as hell hit a baseball. Matt Carpenter, who easily would have been MVP if his slash line was over 140+ games, will be the number one man off the bench. All the respect in the world to the Guardians’ bullpen, but the Yankees are a matchup nightmare for Cleveland. This could be the worst thing that has happened to that area of Ohio since Lebron left. Take the Yankees to win game five, and be sure to get your free $200 from DraftKings!