Yankees will start Tanaka in Game 1 of ALCS

By Sports Desk October 11, 2019

The New York Yankees are going with Masahiro Tanaka in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros, manager Aaron Boone told reporters on Friday.

Tanaka gets the nod for Saturday's MLB ALCS opener over Cy Young contender Luis Severino and James Paxton, who the Yankees picked up for the postseason.

But Tanaka's call looks appropriate as he has a career 1.54 ERA in six career postseason starts.

Two of those starts came against the Astros in the 2017 ALCS. In that series, Tanaka allowed two runs in 13 innings pitched.

However, the decision not to start Paxton or Severino could be a costly one. Both have great success against the Astros as well along with better fastballs which have given Houston trouble this year.

Severino, however, is just 1-1 against the Astros in the playoffs, allowing four runs in 8.6 innings of work in the ALCS in 2017 and Paxton is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA against Houston in 2019.

Paxton has a lot of past success against the Astros, including a 2018 with the Seattle Mariners in which he went 4-0 with a 2.05 ERA, but that apparently is not enough to earn the series-opening start against the American League West champions.

The Astros will counter with Zack Greinke in Game 1 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.

The final two matchups of the first three games will be Justin Verlander against James Paxton and Gerrit Cole versus Luis Severino.


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