Yankees vs. Guardians: Breaking down each team’s pitching situation for the decisive ALDS Game 5 after the rainout

New York — The New York Yankees And Cleveland Guardians They will have to wait another day to determine their ALDS eligibility. Winner Game 5 postponed due to rain on Monday night. The game will be played on Tuesday at 4:07 PM. The winner goes to face it Houston Astros in the ALCS starting Wednesday. Loser goes home.

“If you had told me back in, I don’t know, March, we were booked to play Game 5 in New York to go to the ALCS, I would have jacked off to New York,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. Game 4.

Game 5 is the second postponement of the ALDS. Game 2 was postponed so that Games 2-4 were played over three consecutive days. Game 5 would have made it four games in four days. The postponement gives both bullpens — usually both teams — a little extra rest before going win or go home.

With all that in mind, let’s take a post-rainout stock of each team’s pitching situation heading into Tuesday’s Game 5.

Starting pitchers: Nestor Cortez vs. TBA

Right-handers Jameson Taillon and Aaron Chivale were originally slated to start Game 5 Monday night, but a rainout allowed the Yankees and Guardians to use their Game 2 starters, Nestor Cortes and Shane Bieber, in three days. Rest Tuesday. Cleveland will announce its Game 5 starter on Tuesday. The Yankees have confirmed that Cortez will start.

Guardians manager Terry Francona indicated Monday afternoon that Bieber won’t pitch again until they reach the ALCS, though the possibility of using him on short rest in Game 5 should be appealing. Bieber has pitched well in his two postseason starts and is Cleveland’s best pitcher. Despite being on short rest, a win in Game 5 gives the team the best chance to keep playing.

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Generally speaking, starters get tired on short rest, so instead of being fine for 100 or so pitches, they hit the wall at 75-80 pitches. Even so, getting 75 or more pitches from Cortez (or Piper) is better than the alternative. Taillon and Chivale were expected to be kept on short leashes, so Cortez (or Piper) wouldn’t replace the usual shorter-leash starter plan.

In Game 2, Cortez held the Guardians to two runs in five innings, and he was dominant in two regular-season starts (three runs in 12 1/3 innings). He will be on short rest, and the Guardians will see him for the second time in less than a week. Fatigue and familiarity can swing in favor of pendulum swingers.

“I’m confident in who he is and his makeup, and I know he’s going to go out there and compete well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Cortez before his Game 2 start. “He’s doing really well and he loves to play the game. He’s very competitive and I know he’s not going to be intimidated. He’s going to take it head on and let the chips fall where they may.”

Bieber has never been on short rest in his career, and the Guardians handled him carefully following last season’s shoulder injury — he made 17 of his 31 starts during the regular season with extra rest. He held the Yankees to two runs in 5 2/3 innings in Game 2 and looked good after allowing a two-run homer to Giancarlo Stanton in the first inning.

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Bullpen position: New York’s much-needed break



Cleveland’s bullpen was in better shape heading into Game 5 than New York’s. The Guardians didn’t use setup men Trevor Stephen or James Karinchak or closer Emmanuel Glass in Games 3 and 4, so all three will enter Game 5 on three days’ rest. This sets them up to go several innings. Francona’s best pitching scheme is the starter (Chivale or Bieber on short rest) from Stephan to Karinczak to Klaas, and no one else is involved.

The Yankees, on the other hand, have worked their key relievers very hard over the past few days, and the postponement gives their key guys a much-needed breather. They used five different relievers in the entire series (not including Taillon in Game 2). Miguel Castro, Domingo German and Lucas Lutz are on the ALDS roster but have yet to pitch. Here’s a look at the pitch counts of New York’s top relievers leading up to Monday’s originally scheduled Game 5:

In Games 2-4, Peralta became the first Yankees reliever this season to pitch three consecutive days, and while he said he was going to be available in Game 5, pitching four straight days is now rare in baseball. Peralta is retiring and will be reunited with Cleveland’s leading lefty power threats, Josh Naylor and Andres Gimenez. He faced them in every game of the series and kept them winless.

Holmes’ controversial no-hitter in Game 3 may have cost the Yankees the game. Afterward, Boone said they were only going to use Holmes on an emergency basis because of a recent shoulder injury, and they didn’t want to push him back. Boone said Holmes will be in Game 5 even if he pitches in Game 4. Now that it’s raining he gets a day to rest anyway.

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“I’d love to, yeah,” Boone said of using Holmes in Games 4 and 5 on Sunday. “Tomorrow, yes, a win-or-home, yes.”

Of note was Gerrit Cole, who threw 110 pitches in seven innings in Game 4 on Sunday. He told Boone he was on Monday. Boone said he would have been hesitant to use him the day after a start, but now that Cole will have a day off, using him for an inning out of the bullpen is more realistic. If push comes to shove, don’t be surprised to see a goal on Tuesday.

The Yankees are poised to enter Game 5 on Monday with some bullpen concerns given the recent workloads of their top relief arms. Now those guys get a night to rest. They’re not as rested as Stefan, Karinczak and Klaus are for Cleveland, but they are rested. On paper, the defenders still have the bullpen advantage because of the workload, but that advantage won’t be as large Tuesday as it was Monday.

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