October 8, 2020 | 3:36am
Should the Yankees and Rays get to a deciding Game 5 of the ALDS, Aaron Boone likely will ask Gerrit Cole to do something the staff ace has never attempted: pitch on three days’ rest.
After the Rays topped the Yankees, 8-4, in Game 3 on Wednesday night at San Diego’s Petco Park the Yankees have to win Game 4 on Thursday night to force a Game 5 on Friday.
Cole started and won Game 1 on Monday.
In 204 big-league starts, Cole has never worked with three days’ rest. Ditto in 12 postseason starts.
However, with J.A. Happ throwing 69 pitches in relief of Deivi Garcia in Game 2 on Tuesday night, it’s not likely he would be a candidate to start Game 5 on two days of rest. Garcia, who threw 27 pitches in his first taste of postseason baseball, could be used in relief Thursday. Even if the 21-year-old isn’t needed, do you want the neophyte to start Game 5 on two days’ rest in a win or go home game when Cole would be available on more rest?
That leaves Cole, who allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of Game 1.
“We will see. That is something that we will see how these games unfold, how he responds physically and what we had to go through to get to that point,’’ Boone said prior to their Game 3 loss. “I would say Game 5 is a long way off still and we are going to try to put our best foot forward [Wednesday] to try and grab a hold of this series.’’
Without Tommy Kahnle in the bullpen the Yankees have attempted to give Jonathan Loaisiga more important situations in two postseason appearances and they haven’t gone well.
Loaisiga allowed two inherited runners to score in Game 2 of the AL Wild Card Series and allowed a run, a hit and walked two in a third of an inning versus the Indians. In Game 2 of the ALDS against the Rays on Tuesday night Loaisiga again allowed an inherited runner to score. He also allowed a run in Game 3.
In three outings he has worked three innings, given up three runs, four hits (one homer) and three walks.
With Dick Williams resigning as the Reds’ president of baseball operations on Wednesday, expect to hear highly regarded Yankees executive Tim Naehring linked to the opening.
Naehring, 53, is in his fifth year of being the Yankees’ vice president of baseball operations and 13th overall with the club. He was born and lives in Cincinnati and played three sports at La Salle High School.
Naehring, who played eight years in the big leagues with the Red Sox, worked in the Reds’ front office from 1999 as a special assistant to GM Jim Bowden. From 2000-05 Naehring was the Reds director of player development and was the minor league coordinator from 2006-07.
DJ LeMahieu’s infield single in Game 3 extended his hitting streak against the Rays to 23 games (postseason and regular season). That is the longest current streak against a single team by an active player in MLB. LeMahieu has also hit in 11 straight postseason games.
Aaron Hicks went 1-for-3 with a double and drove in a run. He has reached base in 12 of 24 plate appearances in the postseason and is hitting .353 (6-for-17) in five games.
After Garcia threw 27 pitches in one inning in Game 2 on Tuesday, Boone said it was likely he wouldn’t use the 21-year-old right-hander in Wednesday night’s Game 3 and didn’t.
“I would say he would be very much in the mix [Thursday],’’ Boone said of Garcia. “That is something with him, being a starter and obviously not throwing a lot, I would think he would probably be available.’’
Boone said should the Yankees advance to the best-of-seven ALCS he would assume Garcia and Happ, who replaced Garcia in the second inning of Game 2, would return to a conventional starter’s role.