With rain forecast through Thursday evening, Major League Baseball postponed Game 2 of the American League Divisional Series between the Yankees and Cleveland Guardians to Friday at Yankee Stadium.
Friday was originally meant to be a day of travel and practice, with the series changing venue to Progressive Field in Cleveland after the first two games. But now the Yankees and Guardians will play at 1 p.m. before flying to Cleveland.
The Yankees hold a one-game to zero advantage in the best-of-five series after a 4-1 win on Tuesday. Nestor Cortes, a Yankees All-Star starting pitcher, was scheduled to make his first career playoff appearance on Thursday, facing Shane Bieber, the 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner. The Yankees did not immediately announce their pitching plans. for the rescheduled Game 2, but Cortes remained a logical choice to start on Friday and Luis Severino had already been named the Game 3 starter.
“Of course,” Cortes said Wednesday when asked if he could pitch on Thursday or Friday. “I’m going to train today as I’m going to start tomorrow at 7:30 am. And if things change, we will adjust.
The Yankees earned one of two first-round byes in the AL, meaning they went five days between the end of the regular season and Game 1. And thanks to the rain, they will have played only one game in nine days.
If the series lasts a maximum of five games, both teams face the prospect of playing four games in four days in two cities. Games 3 and 4 were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Cleveland, and Game 5 was scheduled for Monday in the Bronx.
Due to MLB’s post-lockdown postponement, the traditional day off between Games 4 and 5 has been removed. The teams instead had an unusual day off between Games 1 and 2. Without the postponement, the teams would have already played two games on Thursday and used Friday for travel, rest and practice at Progressive Field.
The weather could hamper the Yankees’ ability to turn to Cortes again if needed later in the series. Had he started on Thursday, Cortes could have returned for a potential Game 5 with three days off. If he starts on Friday, it would be reduced to just two days off.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday that Cortes would be available in that scenario for Game 5 but “not necessarily as a traditional starter,” with southpaw Cortes possibly available for an inning or two.
“If he goes there on Friday, hopefully we’re not in a Game 5 situation,” Boone said. “But if we are, we’ll see.”
Gerrit Cole, the Yankees ace who pitched well in Game 1, can return for a potential Game 4 on regular rest. Jameson Taillon, a starting pitcher for the Yankees during the season, was in the bullpen for Game 1 but could be a starting option for Game 5.
“I’m going to empty the tank,” Cortes said Wednesday. “So if I start on Friday and have to come back on a short rest, whether it’s two or three days, I’ll try to prepare as best I can to feel the best I can. But if the circumstances don’t let me not allow, so I’m just going to try to be like I’ve been playing all season, with my heart on my sleeve and competitive.
The Yankees announced Game 2 tickets were valid for the rescheduled game Friday. But citing MLB ticket policy, the team said there are no refunds or exchanges for Game 2 tickets.
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