The postseason in minor league baseball is kind of a strange thing. The best teams lose their best players to call-ups, and the rosters that earned spots in the postseason take on a completely different look for the most important games of the year.
To be honest, I liked that about covering Triple-A. Things change, often suddenly, and that’s part of the experience. Everyone understands and accepts what’s going on. I don’t like the phrase “it is what it is,” but it is what it is.
The Yankees top three affiliates all advanced to the postseason this year. High-A Tampa got started with a win last night. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Trenton get started tonight.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre opens the International League playoffs against Columbus. The first two pitchers they’ll face should be familiar: David Huff was hit in the head by an Alex Rodriguez line drive earlier this season, and Zach McAllister was traded by the Yankees to complete the Austin Kearns deal.
Even after September call-ups, the Triple-A Yankees still have some familiar names on the roster. Kevin Russo and Chad Huffman are both there after spending some time in the big leagues this season, George Kontos is there in his first year back from Tommy John surgery and Justin Christian is with Scranton after making his big league debut with the Yankees a few years ago. Of course, the roster also includes top position prospect Jesus Montero and third baseman Brandon Laird, who had a real breakout year down in Double-A.
Tonight: Columbus LHP David Huff (8-2., 4.36) vs. Yankees RHP D.J. Mitchell (2-0, 3.57)
Thursday: Columbus RHP Zach McAllister (9-12, 5.29) vs. Yankees RHP David Phelps (4-2, 3.07)
Friday: Columbus RHP Yohan Pino (10-9, 5.75) vs. Yankees LHP Kei Igawa (3-4, 4.32)
Saturday: Columbus RHP Paolo Espino (3-3, 5.62) vs. Yankees RHP Hector Noesi (1-1, 4.82)
Sunday: Columbus RHP Corey Kluber (1-1, 3.27) vs. Yankees RHP Lance Pendleton (2-1, 4.24)
Down in Trenton, the Double-A Thunder are opening against New Hampshire and facing top Blue Jays pitching prospect Kyle Drabek in Game 1. Of course, all eyes will be on Game 2, when Andy Pettitte makes a rehab start for Trenton.
Trenton has lost some key players to injuries and call-ups this season — most recently, Corban Joseph went on the DL — but the roster still has Austin Romine, Dan Brewer, recently promoted Pat Venditte and an impressive rotation that includes three of the top arms in the organization in Betances, Banuelos and Brackman.
Tonight: Trenton RHP Dellin Betances (0-0, 3.37) vs. New Hampshire RHP Kyle Drabek (14-9, 2.94)
Thursday: Trenton LHP Andy Pettitte (rehab) vs New Hampshire LHP Zach Stewart (8-3, 3.63)
Friday: Trenton LHP Manny Banuelos (0-1, 3.52) vs. New Hampshire RHP Randy Boone (5-10, 3.98)
Saturday: Trenton RHP Andrew Brackman (5-7, 3.01) vs. New Hampshire RHP B.J. LaMura (5-6, 3.73
Sunday: Trenton RHP Cory Arbiso (5-5, 4.38) vs. New Hampshire TBA
Those are headshots of Montero and Romine