Although the division race certainly isn’t over, who makes the start for the Yankees in the event they play a one-game playoff?
It really is a tough thought to grasp that within four minuscule weeks, the Red Sox have established a hefty 9.5 game lead over the Yankees. Despite their recent lackluster play, the Bombers still indeed maintain a 2.5 game grip on the first Wild Card spot over the red-hot Oakland A’s.
However, the real question isn’t one that could be asked a month ago, but now is certainly relevant. Who makes the start for the Yankees in the event they play that one-game playoff?
The answer to this question can only really focus on two choices: Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka. Now, if you base it off of both pitchers’ respective season, then the nod without a doubt gets handed to the 24-year-old Severino. Through 23 starts, the right-hander has posted a 4.0 fWAR in 143.1 innings while striking out 159.
With a 3.08 ERA on the season, it’s no secret Severino has had a stellar campaign thus far. The only problem is, well, he’s put up 8.95 ERA in his past five outings, raising his season mark from 1.98 to the aforementioned 3.08.
Now, of course, this isn’t at all the end of the world, as he still has just about ten starts remaining to get back on track. But, in the case he doesn’t return to form before the October 3 Wild Card game, the next best option certainly isn’t a bad one in any sense. Masahiro Tanaka.
To say Tanaka’s 2018 season has been bipolar would be an understatement. He labored through June, putting up a 4.58 ERA until a hamstring injury on June 8 would sideline him a little over a month. Then, once returning July 10, the right-hander would go on to post excellent numbers. In four July starts, Tanaka has posted an ERA of 1.75 in 25.2 innings while holding opposing hitters a .216 average.
Masahiro Tanaka's undefeated run reaches 13 straight starts.
🔥 W-L: 7-0
🔥 3.20 ERA
🔥 .202 BAA
🔥 77 K/21 BB
*Yankees are 10-3 over that span* pic.twitter.com/6dAZWkmguR
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) August 1, 2018
With that said, if the season were to end today, who starts a win-or-go-home Wild Card game? It really is a decision that needs and will take days of thinking before making. Does rookie manager Aaron Boone go with his young ace who’s pitched an amazing season? Or does he ride the hot-hand with Masahiro Tanaka? Only time will tell.