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Masahiro Tanaka

Gerrit Cole (Thomas B. Shea)
Gerrit Cole (Thomas B. Shea)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Here's the ideal Winter Meetings headline for Yankees fans:

"Happy Holidays! Yanks Get Cole in their Stocking." 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Austin Romine, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar, Anthony McCarron
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Oct 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts after a double play during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game five of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
Oct 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) reacts after a double play during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game five of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

CC Sabathia announced his retirement after the ALCS, but he might not be done helping the Yankees.

Sabathia has spoken to fellow California native Gerrit Cole -- the best free agent starting pitcher on the market and a potential Yankees target -- "many times" about what it's like to play for the Yankees.

"If you give that m-----f---er enough money, he's going to want to come here," Sabathia said in a clip from his latest R2C2 podcast. "I am speaking from experience."

Tags: CC Sabathia, Domingo German, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Danny Abriano
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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees enter the 2019-20 offseason looking to add to a team that came up just short of reaching the World Series this past season. They don't have many big decisions to make (more on that below), but have been both first and second-guessed about their continued lack of reliable ace-level starting pitching.

With Gerrit Cole about to hit the free agent market (the Yanks are expected to at least try to sign him) and other enticing starting pitching options expected to be available, the Yanks have a chance to drastically improve their rotation.

As they look to improve, the Yanks already have a lot committed to payroll for 2020 -- a number that will likely hover right around the luxury tax threshold. Their payroll obligations drop significantly starting in 2021. Here'a a deep dive...

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Jacoby Ellsbury, James Pazos, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar, Tommy Kahnle, Danny Abriano
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Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees were first-guessed last offseason and again at the trade deadline when it didn't seem they would add more impact starting pitching, and were second-guessed when that choice to not add wound up happening.

They were also first and second-guessed when not trading for Justin Verlander (August of 2017) and Gerrit Cole (January of 2018), and not ponying up enough money to sign Patrick Corbin (December of 2018).

On Thursday, when reminded that the above three pitchers were currently pitching in the World Series and asked if the Yankees regretted passing on them, GM Brian Cashman stood behind the team's decisions during an at-times animated exchange with Sweeny Murti of WFAN.

Tags: James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Danny Abriano
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Jul 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) at first base during game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jul 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks (31) at first base during game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

During his end of season news conference on Thursday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman revealed that Aaron Hicks will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair his UCL in his right elbow. The procedure will take place in Los Angeles on Oct. 30, and the expected recovery is around 8-10 months.

Hicks was battling to return to the Yankees toward the end of the season after what was called a right elbow flexor strain at the time. He was performing baseball activities, but wasn't able to throw for awhile. Hicks fought through it and eventually made his way onto the Yankees' ALCS roster. 

This is the same news Cashman dropped last year in the same news conference, which involved Didi Gregorius needing to undergo Tommy John surgery as well. He returned on June 7 this season. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Remember last October, when we reported that the Yankees did not plan to strongly pursue Manny Machado, and weren't interested in Bryce Harper at all?

Well, we bring more hopeful news today. Slightly.

Our early feel, based on conversations with major league sources, is that the Yanks are expected to engage on Gerrit Cole, for the simple reason that he's currently the best pitcher in baseball and would look great at the top of their rotation.

Tags: Domingo German, James Paxton, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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Oct 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

In the end, the Astros were a little better than the Yankees in all phases, yet with just a few clutch hits from some of their best players, as well as more dominance from the ballyhooed bullpen, the New Yorkers could have prevailed in the ALCS.

It doesn't mean Brian Cashman should overhaul this team by any means. The Astros are looking more and more like a potential dynasty: they're on the verge of winning two championships in three years, and they might well have won it all last year had Jose Altuve and a couple of other key players not been playing through injuries in October.

Mostly the Yankees need to keep knocking on the door, while hoping that Gerrit Cole leaves the Astros as a free agent and Justin Verlander starts looking his age.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Tommy Kahnle, John Harper
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Oct 19, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) looks on during game six of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina )
Oct 19, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) looks on during game six of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina )

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

HOUSTON - The sense of devastation was acute in the Yankees clubhouse on Saturday night, in the minutes after Jose Altuve shocked Aroldis Chapman with the home run that ended their season.

Teams lose in October all the time, of course, and typically take it as a normal part of the game - but the hugs, tears and downcast glances marked this one as different.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, Clint Frazier, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Domingo German, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka, Miguel Andujar, Andy Martino
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Oct 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game five of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
Oct 10, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game five of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

You can make the case that if Aaron Judge had hit in the ALCS like Jose Altuve -- the guy who beat him out for MVP in 2017 -- the Yankees would still be alive in this postseason, and indeed that is sometimes the difference between winning and losing in October.

Your star needs to be better than their star.

However, I would argue that even if the Yankees were still alive, they'd have only the tiniest of chances to win Game 7 against the hottest pitcher in baseball, Gerrit Cole.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, John Harper
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Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Chad Green (57) throws against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Chad Green (57) throws against the Houston Astros during the fifth inning of game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Down 3-2 in the series, the Yankees take on the Houston Astros in Game 6 of the ALCS from Minute Maid Park, with first pitch set for 8:08 p.m.

Yankees notes

Aaron Boone has elected to put Edwin Encarnacion back into the lineup at DH, replacing Giancarlo Stanton. ... Encarnacion has looked lost at the plate during the ALCS, hitting just .067 (1-for-15) with eight strikeouts and three walks. ... After his dramatic three-run home run in Game 5, Aaron Hicks was moved up one more spot in the lineup, now batting cleanup behind Gleyber Torres. ... DJ LeMahieu continues to be the engine that drives the Yankees offense. He's hitting .381 in the series, and his leadoff home run in Game 5 helped put the momentum back in the Yankees' favor.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Carlos Torres, Chad Green, Edwin Encarnacion , Giancarlo Stanton, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Oct 18, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning of game five of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

In a win or go home Game 5 of the ALCS, the Yankees handed the ball to veteran lefty James Paxton

He got off to a rough start in the first inning, allowing one earned run over 23 pitches. George Springer singled to lead off the game, and quickly advanced to second after Gary Sanchez allowed a passed ball. It's just the eighth passed ball that Sanchez had allowed this season.

Springer then scored on a wild pitch by Paxton, but the lefty got Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel both to fly out and end the first inning.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Tommy Kahnle
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Oct 13, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches during the first inning against the Houston Astros in game two of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)
Oct 13, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches during the first inning against the Houston Astros in game two of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)

The Yankees lost 8-3 to the Astros at home in Thursday's Game 4 of the ALCS, falling down 3-1 in the series. They will try to keep their season alive in Game 5 on Friday at 7:08 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees notes

The Yankees lost to the Astros 8-3 on Thursday night, and now trail 3-1 in the ALCS. Starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka wasn't his best during Game 4, allowing a three-run homer to George Springer in the third inning. Relief pitcher Chad Green came in for Tanaka in the sixth inning, and gave up a three-run home run to Carlos Correa that made the score 6-1.

Tags: Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, Edwin Encarnacion , Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Injuries finally catching up

All year, the Yankees have overcome injuries. This became a point of pride for the team, and even spawned the Aaron Boone motivational phase "next man up."

But the missed time finally appears to be catching up to the offense, in a number of ways. Edwin Encarnacion, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks -- a full third of the lineup -- missed significant time late in the season, and do not appear sharp.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees fell to the Astros 8-3 on Thursday night and now trail the ALCS 3-1. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Tuesday's game

1) It certainly wasn't all Masahiro Tanaka's fault, but on a night when the Yankees needed his usual postseason dominance, he was so-so at best.

Tags: Chad Green, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Masahiro Tanaka, John Harper
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Oct 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Houston Astros in game four of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Masahiro Tanaka threw six scoreless innings and allowed just one hit in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros, and early on it looked like he was going to have a repeat performance in Game 4 on Thursday night, but it just wasn't meant to be.

The right-hander ended up allowing four runs (three earned) as the Yankees fell to the Astros 8-3 and now trailed the ALCS 3-1.

He retired six out of seven batters to start the game, walking just one, and throwing 35 pitches through two innings. The Yankees even gave him an early 1-0 lead when Brett Gardner walked with the bases loaded in the first inning.

Tanaka walked Robinson Chirinos to start the third inning, and then gave up his first hit of the game to Josh Reddick. Next, on a 1-0 count, George Springer blasted a three-run homer to left field, giving the Astros a 3-1 lead.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Chad Green, Masahiro Tanaka
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As the Yankees and Astros prepare for Game 4 of the ALCS on Thursday night, pitch tipping and sign stealing have become two of the hot topics surrounding the series.

It was reported by SNY's Andy Martino that the Yankees were not happy about a whistling sound coming from the Astros' dugout in Game 1. Martino then confirmed that an MLB investigation found no wrong doing by the Astros.

On Thursday, Astros manager AJ Hinch as about sign stealing on the first question of his pregame interview, and Hinch had plenty to say on the topic. 

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka
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Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )
Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )

The Yankees fell 4-1 to the Astros at home in Tuesday's Game 3 of the ALCS, and after Wednesday's game was postponed due to rain, the series continues at Yankee Stadium for Game 4 on Thursday at 8:08 p.m.

Yankees notes

The Astros took a 2-1 lead in the ALCS on Tuesday after beating the Yankees 4-1. Luis Severino struggled on the mound, allowing two home runs in 4.1 innings of work. Astros star Jose Altuve got his team ahead early with a first inning homer, and then outfielder Josh Reddick added on to the lead with a second inning blast.

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; The Houston Astros wait for a replay during the eighth inning in game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; The Houston Astros wait for a replay during the eighth inning in game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

It was reported by SNY's Andy Martino that the Yankees were not happy with a whistling sound that came from the Astros' dugout that was believed to be sign stealing. 

After an investigation, though, the MLB found no violations.

Martino confirmed that the MLB investigated the situation and found no wrong doing on the Astros' front. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal was the first to report the investigation taking place.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka
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Masahiro Tanaka/Zack Greinke
Masahiro Tanaka/Zack Greinke

Scott Thompson, SNY.tv | Twitter |

After a washout on Wednesday night, the Yankees and Astros return to the field for Game 4 of the ALCS. And even though the series is only at 2-1 in favor of Houston, the Yankees find themselves with their backs up against the wall. 

Because Thursday night in the Bronx is a must-win for this Yankees club...

Tags: Aaron Judge, Masahiro Tanaka, Scott Thompson
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Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Major League Baseball made the weather decision Wednesday to push Game 4 of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium in New York back 24 hours, and both the Yankees and Astros have adjusted accordingly as they set their starting pitchers for the next two matchups.

When each starter -- Astros RHP Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA) and Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (11-9, 4.45 ERA) -- returns to the mound for first pitch Thursday at 8:08 p.m., the rematch of Game 1's 7-0 Yankees win from Minute Maid Park in Houston has series-altering implications.

With potential for four games in as many days through Sunday, should the series reach Game 7, did manager Aaron Boone make the right call to start Tanaka off five days of rest?

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green, Dellin Betances, Domingo German, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton
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Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )
Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )

A curveball hit the Yankees-Astros ALCS when Game 4 was postponed at Yankee Stadium due to impending rain on Wednesday night. But manager Aaron Boone won't be making any changes to his roster moves, especially when it comes to the starting rotation. 

Instead of going with an opener in Game 4, which was a possibility, Masahiro Tanaka will get the ball. James Paxton is also set up for Game 5 in the Bronx. 

With the way Chad Green has been pitching out of the bullpen this postseason, an opener would've definitely made sense for a bullpen game to ensue. But Tanaka was also extremely solid in his Game 1 start of this series, going six innings without allowing a run and only one hit with four strikeouts as well. 

Tags: Chad Green, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 7, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch (14) gestures while in the dugout during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)
Oct 7, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch (14) gestures while in the dugout during the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports (Reinhold Matay)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Yankees players and coaches became angry with the Astros during Game 1 of the ALCS when they noticed a whistling sound in the Astros' dugout -- which they believed was an over-the-line example of sign stealing, and a violation of the game's unwritten rules.

According to three sources, a Yankees coach noticed a whistling sound in the opposing dugout on certain pitches on Saturday night in Houston. The Yankees started yelling across the field, and people in the dugouts argued back and forth.

"The whole dugout was pissed," said one source. "Everyone was chirping."

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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Justin Verlander (Thomas Shea)
Justin Verlander (Thomas Shea)

With Game 4 of the ALCS washed out as expected and set to be made up on Thursday night, the Astros have done the expected thing. And the expected thing could give them an advantage over the Yankees.

Manager A.J. Hinch said earlier this week that the likely plan was to have a bullpen game in Game 4. With the game moved back a day due to the postponement, Zack Greinke will move up and pitch Game 4 on regular rest (instead of Game 5) and Justin Verlander will pitch on regular rest in Game 5 (instead of Game 6).

"Very easy for us," Hinch said Wednesday during a conference call about the rotation changes. "It was our plan if this happened. ... JV on regular rest in Game 5 -- the sooner that we can use our best pitchers, the better for us. It was an easy decision."

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Danny Abriano
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Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) strikes out off a pitch by Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) during the seventh inning in game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)
Oct 15, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) strikes out off a pitch by Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) during the seventh inning in game three of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Deutsch)

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

Your mission, Yankees, should you choose to accept it, is now to win three straight games or at best be doomed to facing Gerrit Cole in Game 7, which is pretty much a death sentence these days. 

Ok, choose isn't exactly the right word, since the Astros are going to have plenty to say about the Yankees getting on any type of roll in this ALCS, and obviously Justin Verlander would be no picnic in Game 6 as well. 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Masahiro Tanaka, John Harper
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Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) delivers during the first inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)
Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) delivers during the first inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports (Jesse Johnson)

After the Yankees split Saturday and Sunday at Minute Maid Park in Houston, New York returns home Tuesday to the Bronx at 4:04 p.m. from Yankee Stadium for Game 3 of the ALCS against the Astros.

Yankees notes

Sunday's Game 2 of the ALCS alone made the series live up to the hype. After the Yankees dominated Saturday's 7-0 win to grab Game 1, the Astros got New York back in Game 2 with an 11th-inning leadoff home run by SS Carlos Correa against LHP J.A. Happ. Correa starred for the Astros at the plate and in the field, highlighted by his sixth-inning throw home when he caught 1B DJ LeMahieu rounding third base by three steps.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Chad Green, DJ LeMahieu, Edwin Encarnacion , Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )
Masahiro Tanaka (Troy Taormina )

Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |

As things currently stand, the Yankees and Astros are both planning to have bullpen games on Wednesday in Game 4 of the ALCS. It looks like that game is in serious jeopardy of getting postponed, though, potentially opening the door for big rotation changes for both teams.

According to Accuweather, the forecast in the Bronx -- when the Yanks and Astros are set for first pitch at 8:08 p.m. on Wednesday -- calls for pretty steady rain between 4 p.m. Wednesday and 1 a.m. Thursday. 

If Game 4 is postponed, it will be pushed to Thursday at Yankee Stadium, followed by Game 5 on Friday (also at Yankee Stadium) and Game 6 (if necessary) on Saturday in Houston. Game 7 would take place on Sunday in Houston.

Tags: James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Danny Abriano
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 (Troy Taormina )
(Troy Taormina )

The Yankees pulled off a bit of a Game 1 shocker against the Astros in opening game of the ALCS, topping the series favorites 7-0 on the road. The bats came to play, but RHP Masahiro Tanaka did, too. 

Tanaka continued his postseason dominance. His ERA in seven career playoff starts is now 1.32. 

Over six shutout innings, Tanaka allowed only two runners and one hit. But after just 68 pitches, the Yankees opted for the bullpen. 

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

The Yankees and Astros will continue the ALCS in New York this week, but the overlying headline could be something neither team can control: Mother Nature. 

It's expected that Game 3 will happen as scheduled on Tuesday. But Game 4 has folks in the league office worried as Wednesday has a forecast that's wet. There's already predicted 100 percent chance of showers, at times, for the Bronx that day via the National Weather Service. 

According to ESPN, Major League Baseball is already planning ahead because of the forecasted showers, which could cause big changes to the pitching rotations of both the Yankees and Astros in the ALCS.

Tags: Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Yankees look to extend their series lead in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Astros on Sunday at 8:08 p.m. at Minute Maid Park.

Yankees notes

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the series after beating the Astros 7-0 in Game 1 of the ALCS. Gleyber Torres was the star of the night, going 3-for-5 with 5 RBI thanks to a double and home run. Giancarlo Stanton went 2-for-4 with a solo home run, but injured his quad and will not start Game 2. Starter Masahiro Tanaka allowed just one hit over six innings, striking out four batters and walking just one in the win. Gio Urshela put the nail in the coffin with his solo home run in the ninth inning, he finished the game 2-for-4 from the plate.

Tags: Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka
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Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The right call to remove Tanaka

HOUSTON -- Masahiro Tanaka threw 68 pitches through six innings, allowing just one hit and dominating the Houston offense. Because of that, the knee-jerk response when Adam Ottavino trotted out of the bullpen to begin the seventh might have been outrage.

But one simple fact made it the right call: Opponents have a .387 wOBA (weighted on-base average) against Tanaka the third time through the lineup this year, which was where the Astros found themselves after six.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Carlos Torres, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Masahiro Tanaka, Andy Martino
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 (Troy Taormina )
(Troy Taormina )

John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees defeated the Astos 7-0 on Saturday in Game 1 of the ALCS, taking a 1-0 series lead. >> Box Score

Five things to know from Saturday's game

1) So who said the Astros have the advantage in the starting pitching in this ALCS, anyway?

Tags: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Masahiro Tanaka, John Harper
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Masahiro Tanaka was brilliant for the Yankees in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros, putting his team in position to take a 1-0 lead in the series with a win on the road.

The right-hander threw six near perfect innings for New York, allowing just one hit and one walk with four strikeout on 68 pitches.

"Going into the game with a plan," Tanaka said through a translator, on why he was so effective Saturday night. "...really focusing on each pitch, executing your pitches, that's kind of what it all comes down to."

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) reacts to hitting an RBI double against the Houston Astros in the fourth inning in game one of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)
Oct 12, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25) reacts to hitting an RBI double against the Houston Astros in the fourth inning in game one of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports (Thomas Shea)

Gleyber Torres put the Yankees on the board first in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros. 

In a tight-knit game that has both Masahiro Tanaka and Zack Greinke dealing early, Torres hit an RBI double with one out in the top of the fourth inning to bring DJ LeMahieu in for the first run of the game.


 (Troy Taormina )
(Troy Taormina )

Aaron Judge is typically known more for his bat, but he made a great play in the field to help preserve the Yankees' ALCS Game 1 lead.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Masahiro Tanaka
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Aug 22, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)
Aug 22, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports (Stan Szeto)

The Yankees look to get things started on the right foot in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Astros on Saturday at 8:08 p.m. at Minute Maid Park.

Yankees notes

Aaron Hicks and CC Sabathia are back on the ALCS roster for the Yankees, while Luke Voit and Tyler Wade were left off. ... Hicks is not in the starting lineup, while Sabathia will pitch out of the bullpen during the series. ... The Astros took four of seven games from the Yankees in the 2019 regular season, including a three-game sweep in Houston. ... The Yankees have moved Gleyber Torres up to the third spot in the lineup after having Brett Gardner in that spot for all three games of the ALDS. 

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka, Tyler Wade
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Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

When Yankees manager Aaron Boone met with the media in Houston on Friday on the eve of the ALCS, the first order of business was announcing the the Yankees' pitching rotation.

According to Boone, the Yankees will go with Masahiro Tanaka in Game 1, James Paxton in Game 2, and Luis Severino in Game 3, and then go from there. 

"Again, I felt like it was a good decision, a tough one to be made, similar to the Division Series where I was going back and forth a lot," said Boone. "Just felt like Masa here in Game 1, that's the way I wanted to go in the end."

Tags: James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Jun 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) talks to New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) at second base during a pitching change during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jun 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve (27) talks to New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) at second base during a pitching change during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

For months, it seemed destined to be this way, Astros versus Yankees, a trip to the World Series the prize. There were some tense moments for Houston - well, at least until the first inning of that deciding game against the Rays - but here we are:  

Astro-geddon. Cole-pocalypse. A series of Judge-ian proportions. A Bunch of "Savages" versus Baseball's Best Team.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Tyler Wade, Anthony McCarron
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Tyler Glasnow/Gerrit Cole
Tyler Glasnow/Gerrit Cole

The Yankees are all set to go in the ALCS. They just need an opponent. 

The Rays pulled out an upset of Justin Verlander in Game 4 in their home Tropicana Field on Tuesday night, forcing a divisive Game 5 on Thursday night at 7:07 p.m. This one, though, will be in Houston with Gerrit Cole facing off against Tyler Glasnow -- a much tougher challenge for the Rays to pull off the ultimate upset. 

Either way, who would the Yankees want to face in the Championship Series? 

Tags: Aaron Judge, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Scott Thompson
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Sep 24, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Sep 24, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees are probably healthier than they've been all season and they're coming off a sweep of the Twins in the AL Division Series. But Aaron Boone and the rest of the Yankee brass still face questions heading into the next round.

The big one, of course, is Astros or Rays? We'll find out Thursday night when Tampa Bay and Houston meet in a deciding Game 5.

Once that's decided, they can work in more detail on the others. Here are three roster questions facing the Yankees as they prep for the best-of-seven AL Championship Series, which begins Saturday night in either Houston or the Bronx, depending on who wins in Houston Thursday:

Tags: Aaron Hicks, CC Sabathia, J.A. Happ, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Tyler Wade, Anthony McCarron
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Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone calls for a pitching change during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 4, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone calls for a pitching change during the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins in game one of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Yankees manager Aaron Boone has to think about his 25-man roster yet again heading into the ALCS. The one he and his staff put together for the ALDS against the Twins worked as planned, sweeping Minnesota to get an early break before their next postseason challenge. 

The Yankees don't know their opponent just yet, with the Astros and Rays to play Game 5 on Thursday night. But one of the big decisions for Boone will be whether or not he goes with the same rotation configuration as he did in the last series. 

After long thought, it was James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino in that order. During a conference call with the media on Wednesday, Boone was asked if he's sticking with that rotation, and he revealed he will be looking at all options yet again. 

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Didi Gregorius, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Zack Britton, Scott Thompson
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Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) hits an RBI single during the ninth inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports (David Berding)
Oct 7, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius (18) hits an RBI single during the ninth inning of game three of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports (David Berding)

Before the Yankees entered the postseason, SS Didi Gregorius was mired in a slump. His September numbers were .190/.247/.380 with three homers and 16 RBI over 20 games. 

That's not what you want to see heading into October, but when asked about Gregorius before the series against the Twins began, manager Aaron Boone wasn't sweating his shortstop's performance at all. 

In fact, he expected Gregorius to step up and be a crucial factor for his club. 

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Masahiro Tanaka, Scott Thompson
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Sep 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) pitches during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Sep 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) pitches during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The Yankees (103-59) look to sweep the ALDS with another win as the visit the Twins (101-61) for Game 3 Monday night at 8:40 p.m.

Yankees notes

With Saturday's win, the Yankees are now 15-2 all-time in playoff games against the Twins, with wins in 12 straight contests. They've won all five of the series between the two teams, as well... In Saturday's 8-2 win, Didi Gregorius highlighted a Yankees playoff record tying seven run third inning with a Grand Slam. RHP Masahiro Tanaka picked up the win after pitching 5.0 innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and striking out seven. Through two games, the Yankees have outscored the Twins 18-6, and Yankees pitchers have allowed just six hits and one walk, while striking out 13. The Twins as a team are batting .197 through two games.

Tags: Didi Gregorius, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25), right fielder Aaron Judge (middle), and shortstop Didi Gregorius (right) celebrate defeating the Minnesota Twins in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (25), right fielder Aaron Judge (middle), and shortstop Didi Gregorius (right) celebrate defeating the Minnesota Twins in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |

When to lift your starter?

Analytics-driven game planning calls for managers to remove starting pitchers before they start to struggle. This is a major change from the traditional approach, when you waited for the guy to labor before taking him out.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Chad Green, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, Tommy Kahnle, Andy Martino
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The baseball post-season is supposed to be unpredictable--a crapshoot, as many call it, most famously the sport's movie star GM, Billy Beane. Yet this Yankees-Twins series feels more like a 1-16 matchup in the NCAA Tournament.

And the Twins don't look like the University of Maryland - Baltimore County, taking down Virginia, circa 2017.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, DJ LeMahieu, Edwin Encarnacion , Giancarlo Stanton, Masahiro Tanaka, John Harper
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John Harper, SNY.tv | Twitter |

The Yankees defeated the Twins 8-2 on Saturday, which gives them a 2-0 lead in the ALDS. >> Box Score

Five Takeaways from Saturday's Game

1) This Yankees' offense looks unstoppable. It led the American League in runs scored, set a new team record with 305 home runs, and now it has put up 18 runs over the first two games of the postseason. Perhaps most significantly, so far the Bronx Bombers haven't had to rely primarily on the long ball, hitting three home runs, including Didi Gregorius' grand slam Saturday.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton, Masahiro Tanaka, John Harper
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Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
Oct 5, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) throws against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning in game two of the 2019 ALDS playoff baseball series at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

With his number being called for the Yankees to take the mound against the Twins in Game 2 of the ALDS, Masahiro Tanaka put out another solid postseason performance into the books.

Tanaka left Saturday's game after 5.0 innings pitched, in which he allowed just one earned run on three hits, while striking out seven and walking one. Aaron Boone may have gone to Tommy Kahnle a bit early based on how Tanaka was throwing and his shorter pitch count of 83, but Kahnle went to work as well in the sixth, throwing a 1-2-3 inning the included two strikeouts.

The Yankees were up 8-1 when Tanaka exited and managed to hold on for the win to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Tommy Kahnle
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Jun 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jun 22, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) pitches against the Houston Astros during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Yankees (103-58) look to jump out to a commanding series lead when they host the Twins (101-61) in Game 2 of the ALDS Saturday at 5:07 p.m.

Yankees notes

With Friday's win, the Yankees are now 14-2 all-time in playoff games against the Twins, with wins in 11 straight contests. They've won all five of the series between the two teams, as well... DJ LeMahieu picked up right where he left off in the regular season in Friday's win, going 3-for- with four RBI... Game 1 was as advertised in the power department, as the two teams who both shattered the record for home runs in a season combined for five of them on Friday... In what turned into a battle of the bullpens, Yankee relievers allowed just one run on two hits in 4.1 innings while the Twins surrendered seven runs in the four innings after Jose Berrios left the game.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Edwin Encarnacion , Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka
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Jul 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Jul 2, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Yankees (103-58) start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins (101-61) on Friday at 7:07 p.m. at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees notes

The Yankees begin the hunt for their 28th World Series title when they take on the Twins in the ALDS. Lefty James Paxton will start in his first career playoff game, and was even called "the best left-handed pitcher in the game" by teammate Aaron Judge. He'll face a powerful Twins offense that had the MLB's best road record at 55-26. They even edged out the Yankees in total team home runs for the regular season, hitting 307 homers compared to 306 HRs by the Yanks. Gary Sanchez (groin) and Edwin Encarnacion (oblique) both had been dealing with injuries in September, but will be in the starting lineup on Friday night. As will slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who batted .286 with two home runs over 28 at-bats in September, after being out since June. It's the first time the Yankees will be starting a lineup with these nine players.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Edwin Encarnacion , Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka
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New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and second baseman Gleyber Torres celebrate after second baseman DJ LeMahieu hit an RBI single against the Seattle Mariners in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and second baseman Gleyber Torres celebrate after second baseman DJ LeMahieu hit an RBI single against the Seattle Mariners in the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

The Yankees announced their 25-man roster for the ALDS against the Twins on Friday. They'll carry 12 pitchers and 13 position players. 

Tags: CC Sabathia, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Luke Voit, Masahiro Tanaka, Tyler Wade
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May 3, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)
May 3, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher James Paxton (65) pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports (Andy Marlin)

Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced on Thursday that James Paxton will start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Twins on Friday. 

When Aaron Judge heard the news, he had no shortage of praise for the one of the team's prized offseason acquisitions.

"He's the best left-handed pitcher in the game, in my opinion," Judge said. "Just the stuff that he has and then his bulldog mentality on the mound. That's the one thing I thought he was missing at the beginning part of the year."

Tags: Aaron Judge, James Paxton, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka
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