The pitching matchups for the first three games of the American League Division Series between the Cleveland Guardians and New York Yankees have been set.
As expected, Cal Quantrill takes the bump for the Guardians in Game 1, followed by Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie, both of whom pitched incredibly – historically good, really – in the wild-card series against the Rays.
The matchups with the Yankees are as follows:
- Game 1: Cal Quantrill vs. Gerrit Cole
- Game 2: Shane Bieber vs. Nestor Cortes
- Game 3: Triston McKenzie vs. Luis Severino
Most people will look at this and wonder why Quantrill isn’t starting at home considering he just doesn’t lose at Progressive Field – like ever. That could come later in the series if it gets to that point, but what this does is keep Bieber and McKenzie on regular rest, and does allow manager Terry Francona to play with a number of options for Game 1 depending on how it goes. Both Aaron Civale and Zach Plesac are available to follow Quantrill, and with the extra off-day Sunday, the entire bullpen will be rested and ready (aside from Nick Sandlin, who is out the rest of the postseason with an upper back/shoulder strain).
As for the Yankees, they are dealing with a number of pitching issues of their own. The bullpen is a shell of itself at this point, and the latest blow is Aroldis Chapman essentially being kicked off the team after blowing off a mandatory workout. And Gerrit Cole, despite having a pretty decent overall playoff record, did lead the American League in homers allowed this season with 33, and sported a 4.50 ERA and 4.61 FIP in his last six starts of the year. He’s not invincible by any means right now.
But this is the postseason, and randomness is the ruler of all this time of year. Anything can happen, especially in a short series, but the Guardians are at least well-positioned to put their best arms out there against the Yankees’ sluggers.