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Final Regular Season Series Rotation Sets Happ Up For Wild Card Game Start

New York faces off against the Oakland A’s in Wednesday’s Wild Card Game.

The New York Yankees and manager Aaron Boone have not yet announced their choice to start the do-or-die Wild Card game next Wednesday against the Oakland A’s. However, prior to Thursday’s afternoon game against the Rays, the Yankees announced their starting rotation for the regular season’s final series against Boston.

J.A. Happ will take the mound in the series opening against the Red Sox. He will be followed by Lance Lynn on Saturday and Luis Severino on Sunday in the regular season finale.

That set up would leave Happ on regular rest for the Wild Card game on Wednesday. It appears the lefty is the Yankees choice, and he might just be their best option.

Severino pitched the like the ace is he earlier in the season, but a second half dip pushed him out of the running a bit. He has pitched much better of late. However, by pitching in Sunday’s game against Boston, Severino would be on only two days rest for Wednesday. That takes him out of the picture.

Masahiro Tanaka was the clear favorite to start the Wild Card game after pitching to a 1.80 ERA over six starts from Aug. 16 to Sept. 14. His past two outings however have been less than desirable and the Yankees may not want to take that chance with Tanaka in a one-game scenario.

Since being acquired by the Yankees in a trade with Toronto on July 26, Happ has been their most consistent pitcher. He is 16-6 with a 3.57 ERA in 30 starts this season. As a Yankee, Happ has a 6-0 record and 2.34 ERA in 10 starts.

The argument many fans use against Happ pitching the Wild Card game is his success against the Red Sox. The Yankees would face Boston in the Division Series if they get past Oakland. Happ has pitched very well against Boston throughout his career and having him available to pitch twice in a best-of-five series could be a significant advantage for the Yankees.

However, the opposing argument, is if the Yankees don’t win the Wild Card game, there would be no Division Series for them to compete in. While nothing is official at this point, all signs point to J.A. Happ being the starter for Wednesday’s American League Wild Card Game.

In 11 games (nine starts) against the A’s in his career, Happ is 4-1 with a 3.47 ERA.

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