1. Tanaka, Severino or Happ
At the moment, Boone and the Yankees brain trust haven’t announced their collective decision on who will get the ball to start Wednesday night’s game. No matter who gets the honor, they will instantly become the most talked about player on the team going into the matchup.
Don’t expect the Yankees to announce their choice until the last possible moment. There’s no sense in giving the Athletics extra time to prepare for the guy who will be tasked with shutting them down. There’s also no advantage in making that pitcher stress over his outing any longer than absolutely necessary.
The truth is fans still remember Severino’s inability to get out of the first inning in last year’s Wild Card game against the Twins. That just goes to show much one single playoff outing can serve to shape one pitcher’s reputation. No matter how well he pitches in the regular season, Severino can never be regarded as a true Yankees ace until he proves his worth during the postseason.
That doesn’t mean he’ll get his shot against the A’s. Boone and company could easily opt for Tanaka or Happ instead. Both men have pitched better than Severino down the stretch.
The point here is that whoever starts this game on the mound for the Yankees is going to instantly become the leading story in baseball. All three men would welcome that kind of stress, but it doesn’t make it easy.