When the Yankees announced earlier today that they added Cody Eppley to their bullpen for the ALCS, the speculation was that David Phelps would start Game 2 tomorrow. That’s not the case.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Hiroki Kuroda will make the start in Game 2 on three days’ rest. Kuroda, who has never started a game on short rest in the majors, allowed two runs over 8 1/3 innings while throwing 105 pitches in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Orioles on Wednesday.
There’s some concern that Kuroda was tiring down the stretch, as he threw a career-high 219 2/3 innings during the regular season and stopped throwing bullpen sessions between starts, but this is a gamble the Yankees had to take. If the Yankees go up 2-0 in the series, they could possibly push CC Sabathia back to Game 4 rather than have him go on three days’ rest in Game 3 on Tuesday. Kuroda is also lined up to start Game 6 or 7 on regular rest.
Phelps and Derek Lowe are both available as piggyback options if Kuroda struggles or runs out of steam early tomorrow.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.