CLEVELAND (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Yankees are going to find out if the price they paid for Sonny Gray was worth it.
Gray will make his postseason debut for the Bombers in Game 1 of the AL Division Series against the Indians in Cleveland on Thursday night.
Acquired from Oakland at the July deadline for a few upper-echelon prospects to help the Yankees’ playoff push, Gray will face Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer in the opener. Bauer was a surprise choice to pitch by manager Terry Francona, who elected to use the right-hander ahead of ace Corey Kluber.
“From the moment I stepped foot in the clubhouse, it was something that I was hoping to do,’’ Gray said of starting a Yankees playoff series. “I got that (postseason) vibe right away…my first day in New York.’’
Gray went 4-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 11 outings for New York. Including his time with Oakland, the 27-year-old right-hander was 1-2 with a 4.86 ERA in three starts against Cleveland this season. Prior to the trade, Gray threw six shutout innings against the Indians at Progressive Field on July 14.
“If you look at some of the outings against them, (Gray) fared as well as any pitcher that we have,” Girardi said.
The Yankees will start CC Sabathia in Game 2 against Kluber. Sabathia spent eight seasons with Cleveland and twice pitched in the postseason for the Indians.
The 37-year-old Sabathia went 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA this season. He has a 9-5 record in 18 career postseason starts.
Masahiro Tanaka will take the ball in Game 3 on Sunday in the Bronx. The Japanese right-hander had a down regular season, going just 13-12 with a 4.74 ERA, but is coming off a seven-inning, 15-strikeout performance against Toronto on Sept. 29.
Luis Severino, who didn’t survive the first inning of the Yankees’ 8-4 win over the Minnesota Twins in the wild-card game on Tuesday, will pitch Game 4.
“I was asked, ‘Could you bring him back Friday (in Game 2)?’” Girardi said of his 23-year-old ace. “I just think, with his workload and what he’s done this season, it’s probably not in his best interests, and the full rest will probably do him some good.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)