This is a tough break for Rodriguez, as the 24-year-old has missed extended time in three of the past four seasons due to knee issues. That will likely be the case again in 2018, as his estimated recovery timetable lines him up for a return sometime in May or June. A more concrete timetable should become available once he gets back into a throwing program. Rodriguez compiled a 4.19 ERA and 150:50 K:BB in 137.1 regular-season innings in 2017.
Lance McCullers will make the start, but will likely be on a pretty short leash, with Peacock poised to come in and eat a few innings before the Astros hand the game over to their top bullpen arms. Peacock gave up three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out four in 2.2 innings in his lone postseason appearance against the Red Sox in the ALDS.
He has only made one appearance this postseason -- a three-inning effort in mop-up duty against the Red Sox in the ALDS. Brad Peacock, who was the other option for this start, will be available out of the bullpen, likely piggybacking McCullers' start before the game gets turned over to Houston's top relievers. With that in mind, it is unlikely that McCullers will be asked to face the Yankees' lineup a third time in this outing.
Severino was removed from his previous start after being hit on the wrist by a comebacker. While there was some initial concern regarding the injury, Severino said he felt great afterwards and ultimately wasn't sent for additional testing. He's set to play catch prior to Monday's game, and if everything checks out fine, he should be available to pitch Game 6 -- assuming the Yankees are able to extend the series.
It seems like the Yankees just wanted to play it safe with Severino after he was hit by a comebacker. He should still be considered day-to-day for the time being, but apparently feels 100 percent.
A Yulieski Gurriel liner hit Severino on the final play of the fourth inning and manager Joe Girardi ultimately opted to pull the young ace. Tommy Kahnle has entered the game in relief and a further update on Severino figures to be made available later Saturday.
Morton will follow Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander, respectively, in the Astros' rotation for the series against New York. He will be coming off six days of rest after starting in Boston on Monday. During that game, Morton allowed two earned runs off seven hits and two walks over 4.1 innings.
Gray will be more than well rested for his second start of the postseason, as the 27-year-old last toed the rubber for Game 1 of the ALDS on Oct. 5. He allowed three runs on three hits and four walks while striking out two over 3.1 innings during that outing.
Severino will face Justin Verlander in Game 2, with Dallas Keuchel and Masahiro Tanaka toeing the rubber against one another in the opening game of the series. While the 23-year-old struggled in his first career postseason start, he was able to bounce back and earn the win in his next outing -- a seven-inning gem against the Indians in which he struck out nine and allowed three runs on four hits to keep the Yankees' season alive.
This will place Sabathia right on schedule for normal rest following his outing against the Indians on Wednesday. The veteran has been a reliable presence that the club desperately needs, and will follow Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino, respectively, in the rotation for the ALCS, with Sonny Gray slated for Game 4. If this series winds up going the distance, it's likely that Sabathia will be back on the mound for a decisive Game 7 on Saturday.