BUFFALO – Jordan Montgomery is looking at his final start before the postseason exactly how he should: as one last chance to show the Yankees he is worthy of receiving a postseason start.
Even with Aaron Boone later saying of the 27-year-old "he’s in our rotation" if the Yankees make it past of the best-of-three wild-card round, which starts Tuesday.
"I feel I’m throwing the ball well, a lot better than my stat line shows," said Montgomery, who is 2-2 with a 5.12 ERA in nine starts, including 0-1 with a 6.28 ERA in his last four starts. "(Want to) use my start tomorrow to try and show my stuff."
With far fewer scheduled off days built into postseason than in past years, the Yankees will presumably need at least four starters. Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka and J.A. Happ are assured playoff starts but there’s some uncertainty regarding who would come next. There’s Montgomery, of course, but also rookie phenom Deivi Garcia and his electric right arm.
"It’s possible, yeah," Boone said of a possible bullpen role for Montgomery. "We’ll discuss that. He’s obviously going to start at some point, but everything’s on the table."
Montgomery, who debuted in 2017, was available out of Joe Girardi’s bullpen in the 2017 postseason but never got in a game.
"Been waiting since ’17," Montgomery said of a playoff assignment. "Definitely would like to eliminate the walks (Thursday), my focus being to fill up the zone with as many strikes as I can and (effectively) change speeds…I feel pretty good where I’m at mechanically and where I’m at with my pitches."
Frazier solidifies spot
Clint Frazier, even with the return of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, has made himself a lineup fixture as he continues to swing and productive bat and show off a vastly improved glove in the outfielder, whether it’s been in left or center. And in doing so, talk about some of the prospect’s off-the-field issues from the past couple of years, have disappeared completely.
"He’s funny, makes me laugh every day," Boone said before Wednesday’s game. "Just proud of the player he’s developing into…he’s just much more of a complete player. You’re seeing a really talented player starting to come of age a little bit."
Frazier, who started in left Wednesday and hit ninth, came into the night having reached base in 30 of his 35 games this season, hitting .286 with eight homers and a .957 OPS.
Veteran reliever Zack Britton said by far the toughest part of this COVID-19 season has been not seeing his wife or the couple’s three children – ages 5, 3 and 1, he said – with a fourth child on the way.
"It’s been really tough, haven’t seen my wife or kids in a long time," Britton said Wednesday. "I understand a lot of people are going through (the same thing) but that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s been multiple months now…But I signed up for it. I had the ability to opt out. my wife said (I should play). When we win the World Series, it will make it all worth it."