- RHP, Gerrit Cole (7-3, 2.84 ERA) 73 IP, 94 K’s
- RHP, Masahiro Tanaka (3-3, 3.56 ERA) 48 IP, 44K’s
- LHP, J.A. Happ (2-2, 3.47 ERA) 49.1 IP, 42 K’s
All three of the Yankees projected starters for the three-game Wild Card series with Cleveland are former all-star’s.
The Bombers ace is right-hander Gerrit Cole who is in the first year of a nine-year $324 deal he signed in December of 2019 with the team he grew up rooting for. In his first season with the Yankees, Cole looked worth the hefty price as he posted a 7-3 record, 2.84 ERA and struck out 94 batters in 73 innings of work. Cole went to the World Series with the Astros last season and has made 10 career postseason starts in which he is 6-4 with a 2.60 ERA.
Masahiro Tanaka will likely pitch Game 2 for the Yankees, which will be a tall task for the Indians. Tanaka is one of baseball’s best postseason performers as in eight career postseason starts, the Japanese import is 5-3 with a 1.76 ERA, including defeating the Cleveland Indians by shutting them out in Game 3 of the 2017 ALDS.
If there’s a Game 3, southpaw J.A. Happ is likely to get the ball for the Yankees after a bounce-back 2020 campaign that saw him post a 3.47 ERA. The 37-year old has pitched in 14 postseason games and made four starts in which he has struggled as he is 1-3 with a 5.04 ERA.
For an Indians offense that ranked among the worst in baseball, none of these arms will be easy to break through against, but with a great rotation of their own, Cleveland should be able to counter the Yankees all-star staff.