With the New York Yankees preparing to face off against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday to begin the ALDS, they had yet to make a decision on their Game 1 starting pitcher Saturday.
However, the team finally announced their intention on Sunday morning, with manager Aaron Boone confirming that big-money starter Gerrit Cole will get the first game of the series with Nestor Cortes in Game 2 and Luis Severino in Game 3.
Gerrit Cole will start Game 1 of the ALDS. Nestor Cortes gets Game 2 and Luis Severino gets Game 3.According to Lindsey Adler of The Athletic
Why the Yankees chose Gerrit Cole to start Game 1:
Cole has had a bumpy end of the 2022 regular season, hosting a 4.80 ERA in the month of September and giving up two earned runs across six hits in 6.0 innings against the Texas Rangers on October 4.
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The biggest issue with Cole right now is that he’s given up a home run in eight consecutive games, an unacceptable rate that must dissipate in the postseason.
There was a strong argument to make that Nestor Cortés should’ve been the Game 1 starter, but the Yankees seemingly have more faith in Cole, who has plenty of playoff experience, whereas Nestor has never made an appearance in a high-level situation like that.
Across 14 postseason games, Cole features a 2.93 ERA, 11.62 strikeouts per nine, and then 86.7% left on-base rate over 86 innings.
Against the Guardians this season, Cole is 2–0 with an ERA of 1.42 and 15 strikeouts in two appearances. His impeccable numbers against a young team that relies more on contact hitting than home run hitting suggests he is the right man for the job.
Nonetheless, the Yankees have a strong three-man starting rotation set for the ALDS and a few healthy bullpen arms returning.