No, it is not all up to A.J.

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I had one earlier, but here’s one more little sharp jab at the “A.J.-Burnett-Will-Be-The-Death-of-Us-All” balloon:  he may not actually pitch too terribly much of tonight’s game.

Joe Girardi said last night that Burnett will have a short leash, so we can presume that he will not be allowed to give up five runs on eleventeen hits or whatever it is our worst fears of A.J. Burnett’s performance are.  It’s an elimination game, so you know Girardi will empty the pen if he has to and worry about Game 5 if and only if there is a Game 5.

So while, yes, Burnett having a good start is critical for the Yankees, he likely won’t be allowed to blow the game all by himself.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.