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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Astros, Yankees both confirm bullpen games for Game 6

Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees beat the Houston Astros 4-1 in Game 5 of the ALCS on Friday, setting up a situation where both teams will be piecing things together for Game 6 in Houston.

Thanks to Wednesday’s Game 4 rainout, both the Yankees and Astros lost what would have been a scheduled travel day Friday between Games 5 and 6. That meant that Justin Verlander and James Paxton could start Game 5 in New York, but it also left a void for Game 6.

After the game, Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Yankees manager Aaron Boone both confirmed they will work their way through a bullpen game for Game 6. The Astros, in particular, resisted any temptation to use Gerrit Cole on short rest, saving him for a potential Game 7 on what would be regular rest.

This is basically what Game 4 would have looked like had it been played as it was originally scheduled. The prevailing wisdom is that the Astros will likely try to get some length out of rookie pitcher Jose Urquidy. The Yankees’ situation is less clear, but they do have left-handed starter J.A. Happ, the losing pitcher in Game 2, available for length if they want it.

Both teams managed to save key relievers in Game 5. Justin Verlander got through seven despite the loss, and they only had to use Brad Peacock for an inning. The Yankees are in slightly worse shape, having used Zach Britton for 1.2 innings along with an inning of Aroldis Chapman, though they did get Chad Green a much-needed day off.

Cole has been dominant, and is the ace the Astros have left up their sleeve. Houston seemed to have potential Game 7 starter Luis Severino’s number in Game 3, but he settled in and limited the damage. The pitching matchup would favor the Astros in a potential Game 7, but if their pitching staff can outdo New York’s on Saturday, they would be able to save Cole for Game 1 of the World Series against Washington.

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