The format of the 2020 playoffs and its lack of off-days adjustments how groups strategy their five-game sequence. It’s virtually sure that the Yankees, and maybe each different staff, will flip again to their Recreation One starter if confronted with a winner-take-all recreation. This frees up the staff’s fifth starter for work out of the bullpen, and every staff should decide on how greatest to make use of that participant. Within the case of the Yankees, that participant is Jordan Montgomery, and he’s a robust match as a situational lefty.
With the announcement that Deivi García can be pitching Recreation Two of the American League Division Collection, there may be now little debate over who the Yankees’ 4 starters can be as they play 5 days straight within the 2020 playoff format. Gerrit Cole is prone to take the ball in a possible Recreation 5, and Montgomery can be obtainable from the bullpen. The Yankees ought to be aggressive in how they use him.
Baseball has taken steps to neutralize the worth of a lefty specialist this season by forcing pitchers to face three batters. The Yankees noticed this play out with Luis Avilan earlier this season because the lefty pitcher held lefty hitters to a .399 OPS, whereas on the identical time watching righties rake to the tune of 1.241 OPS in a small pattern measurement.
The present Yankee bullpen displays the transfer away from situational lefty pitchers. Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman are the Yankees’ late-game mixture and are additionally their solely left-handed pitchers. Each gamers are adept at neutralizing right-handed hitters in addition to lefties.
With no devoted lefty within the bullpen, the Yankees ought to flip to Jordan Montgomery to be their specialist. On the season, he held left-handed hitters to a .614 OPS, which is decrease than different bullpen choices like Adam Ottavino, Luis Cessa, Jonathan Holder and Jonathan Loaisiga. Montgomery additionally did that whereas having to work via the lineup a number of instances. Towards lefties, he options his sinker and his curveball at the next charge, the latter of which is statistically his most potent providing. In a shorter position, he could possibly be much more aggressive and trim down his arsenal to give attention to his greatest pitches.
In contrast to the standard lefty specialist who might not have the weapons to neutralize a right-handed batter, Montgomery has the instruments and expertise to work via the eventualities which are pushing some lefties out. Working as a starter for his profession makes Montgomery greater than able to negotiating a pinch-hitter or a pair of righties that comply with left-handed batters. Opponents’ 84.7 mph exit velocity in opposition to Montgomery put him within the prime 5-percent of the league for all pitchers on the season.
The Yankees could possibly be planning on holding Montgomery in reserve for the state of affairs the place both a starter is knocked out early, or a recreation heads deep into further innings. Each conditions are potential, however the extra probably state of affairs is that Montgomery can assist bridge a niche by shutting down a robust left handed hitter in a key spot.
Jordan Montgomery is unlikely to see motion as a beginning pitcher within the American League Division Collection, however he nonetheless has worth to supply the Yankees. With Britton and Chapman probably dedicated to the previous couple of innings of the sport, Montgomery is the lefty who can be utilized in a matchup state of affairs. The probability of him offering a giant out in that spot is a lot better than holding him again and ready for the lengthy aid look.