Yankees announce playoff rotation, Ivan Nova to start Game 2

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Last night Joe Girardi revealed his plans for the Yankees’ playoff rotation, announcing that CC Sabathia will start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Tigers followed by rookie Ivan Nova in Game 2 and veteran Freddy Garcia in Game 3.

Not exactly how the Yankees’ brass saw their October pitching shaking out back in spring training.

Because of the scheduling Sabathia and Nova will likely both be able to make a second start in the opening round, meaning the Yankees can rely on a three-man rotation while demoting A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, and Phil Hughes to the bullpen.

Last season the Yankees had Sabathia atop the rotation, followed by Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes, and Burnett in the fourth starter role started just one of their nine playoff games.

Anthony DeSclafani crushed a grand slam for his first career home run

Anthony DeSclafani
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Reds right-hander Anthony DeSclafani put on a show during Saturday’s matinee against the Cubs. Up 2-1 in the third inning, the hurler hooked a Brian Duensing fastball over the left field fence for his first career home run — and first career grand slam:

Grand slams are impressive no matter the player or situation, but they’re made all the more special in rare circumstances like this one. Not only is DeSclafani the first pitcher to deliver a grand slam in 2018, but he’s the first Reds hurler to do so in nearly 60 years. Per MLB.com’s Brian Scott Rippee, right-hander Bob Purkey was the last to hit a slam for the Reds in 1959, when he took Cubs reliever John Buzhardt deep in the third inning of a 12-3 drubbing.

The 28-year-old righty had a decent outing on the mound as well, holding the Cubs to two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings before passing the ball to reliever Michael Lorenzen. Entering Saturday, he carried a 2-1 record in three games, with a 4.60 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 8.6 SO/9 across 15 2/3 innings — not too shabby for someone who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2016.

The Reds currently lead 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh.