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01-14-2019, 04:41 AM,
The sputtering New York Yankees got some good news
CHICAGO (AP) — Monday when left-hander J.A. Happ moved a little closer to returning from hand , foot and mouth disease.Manager Aaron Boone said Happ is no longer contagious. Assuming everything goes well over the next couple of days, Happ is on track to start Thursday against Texas in the opener of an 11-game homestand.“He’s out of the woods, virus-wise,” Boone said before New York’s game against the Chicago White Sox.Happ came over in a July 26 trade with Toronto for infielder Brandon Drury and minor league outfielder Billy McKinney. He pitched six crisp innings in a win against Kansas City in his New York debut, but the illness took him out of a critical four-game series in Boston and the Yankees were swept by the major league-leading Red Sox.Happ, who turns 36 in October, is 11-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 21 starts this year.The wild card-leading Yankees arrived in Chicago early Monday morning after a difficult 5-4 loss at Fenway Park. New York carried a 4-1 lead into the ninth, but Boston rallied against All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Benintendi hit a game-ending RBI single off Jonathan Holder in the 10th.They responded with a 7-0 victory against the White Sox, stopping a season-high five-game slide. They improved to 16-15 in their last 31 games.“Look, we know we’re really good,” Boone said Ozzie Albies Jersey , “and the guys I don’t think have any doubt in there. I think, to a man, they understand what we’re capable of.”Miguel Andujar served as the designated hitter a day after he committed two errors against Boston, running the total for the rookie third baseman to 10 in 92 games in the field. But Boone said he had planned on starting Neil Walker at third for the opener against the White Sox.“Miguel I feel like is equipped to deal with the successes and failures that you inevitably have up here, so I don’t worry about putting him back out there,” Boone said before the win. A strong start from rookie Walker Buehler would go a long way for the Dodgers as they look to swing the series momentum in front of the home crowd.The 24-year-old has a 1.93 ERA at home this season, and he's stood up well to the pressure of October baseball so far, turning in a solid outing in Game 7 of the NLCS his last time out.David Adler of MLB.comcalled attention to the Red Sox's abilities as a fastball-hitting team, so the key for Buehler could be his ability to locate his curveball.Adler wrote: "One area Boston showed just a sliver of vulnerability is against high-spin curveballs, and Buehler has one. The MLB average curveball spin rate in 2018 was 2,492 rpm. Buehler's averaged2 ,756 rpm as a starterin the regular season, and it is averaging 2,800 rpm in the playoffs. More spin on a curveball generally means more movement and better outcomes for the pitcher."Buehler threw his curveball 14.1 percent of the time during the regular season, holding opposing hitters to a .179 batting average and a stingy .036 ISO, according to Brooks Baseball.Offensively, keep an eye on Manny Machado, who has enjoyed significant success against Red Sox starter Rick Porcello in his career with a13-for-38line that includes two home runs.Red SoxJ.D. MartinezMaddie Meyer/Getty ImagesFiguring out how to get J.D. Martinez into the lineup with the DH no longer in play will be the biggest pregame decision for Alex Cora.Mike Petriello of spelled out his two choices:Start Brock Holt at 2B, Mookie Betts in CF, J.D. Martinez in RF, bench Jackie Bradley and Ian Kinsler.Start Mookie Betts at 2B, Jackie Bradley in CF Danny Santana Jersey , J.D. Martinez in RF, bench Brock Holt andIan Kinsler.Martinez played left field (32 games) and right field (25 games) sparingly this season, while Betts played six innings at second base and has ample experience from his time in the minors, so option No. 2 is not as far-fetched as it might seem.Martinez is hitting .333/.429/.538 with two home runs and 13 RBI in 11 games this postseason, so there's no way he won't be part of the starting lineup.It's also worthmentioning that the versatile Holt was an excellent5-for-13 with two doubles, one triple and two home runs as a pinch-hitter during the regular season, so he has a chance to be a real weapon off the bench.On the pitching side, manager Alex Cora will need to decide whether to use Nathan Eovaldi in the eighth inning again if the score is close. The standout starter pitched a scoreless eighth in Game 1 and Game 2, and Cora didn't rule out a similar approach in Game 3, despite the fact that Eovaldi is currently in line for the Game 4 start."You never know," Cora told reporters. "Like I've been saying all along , we're all-in every day. If we feel there's a chance to close the door with them, we'll use him. The way it's mapped out, it's Rick in Game 3 and maybe Nate in Game 4. But Nate might come in in the eighth again. If we have a chance to be up 3-0 with him on the mound, and then [Craig Kimbrel], we'll do it. And then we'll figure out Game 4."If Eovaldi does wind up pitching on Friday, that could mean a start for Eduardo Rodriguez.One thing is for sure, there's no shortage of interesting storylines heading into Game 3 of the 2018 World Series.All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.
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