ARLINGTON, Texas — The Yankees will be without one of their most consistent bullpen arms in the Division Series, which begins Tuesday at home, and perhaps beyond.
Ron Marinaccio, who posted a 2.05 ERA in 40 appearances this season — with 56 strikeouts in 44 innings — was placed on the injured list Tuesday morning with a stress reaction in his right shin, an affliction the reliever has dealt with on and off much of the season.
“Hoping he would be eligible if we get to the Championship Series,” Aaron Boone said before the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Rangers, a 5-4 victory. “So we just made that kind of difficult decision right now. He definitely wants to try and pitch through it. And there's probably even some thought that he could pitch through, it's kind of a gray area, but you also worry about it turning into a stress fracture.”
Albert Abreu took Marinaccio’s spot on the roster for the final games of the regular season. The Marinaccio injury puts Aroldis Chapman back in play for a postseason roster spot, though the lefthander is still considered a long shot. Chapman did assist his cause Tuesday afternoon, striking out two in a perfect seventh.
“Today helps, to go out there and run through the heart of their order,” Boone said between games. “Frankly, we’ve seen that outing more often than we've seen the struggles, but the struggles have been there as well that you can't discount.”
Rookies Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza homered in the first game, with the former cracking his sixth of the season and the latter blasting the first long ball of his career.
“That was a dream,” a giddy Cabrera said of watching Peraza, a teammate with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, hit his first big-league homer. “That guy, we were in Scranton talking about this all the time.”
Cabrera, who went 1-for-3 in both games to improve to 12 for his last 39 (.308), has all but secured himself a spot on the postseason roster with his play since being called up Aug. 17. He’s reached base in 29 of his last 35 starts and has played six different positions.
Peraza went 2-for-4 in the afternoon game, improving the infielder to 15 for his last 36 (.417) and then went 0-for-4 in the second game.
“So happy, it’s so exciting to be able to connect there for my first homer with the team I love,” Peraza said through his interpreter. “Little by little contributing here and finding ways to get the job done.”
With nine strikeouts in six innings in Game 2 on Tuesday night, Gerrit Cole finished the regular season with a franchise-record 257 strikeouts in 200 2/3 innings. He broke the record of 248 strikeouts (in 273 2/3 innings) set by Ron Guidry in 1978.
A few differences: Guidry went 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA and 13 homers allowed that season. Cole is 13-8 with a 3.50 ERA and 33 home runs allowed, including a 428-foot two-run shot by Leody Taveras in the fifth inning that handed the Yankees a 3-2 loss to the Rangers.
Cole has struck out 500 in 382 innings the past two seasons, an 11.8 K/9 ratio.