MLB Playoffs: Cole, Yanks 0-2 vs Astros, Phils lead Pads 2-1


The Associated Press



New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of Game 1 of an American League Division baseball series, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of Game 1 of an American League Division baseball series, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)


San Diego Padres' Jurickson Profar reacts after striking out during the ninth inning in Game 3 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (43) reacts after walking Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger during the second inning in Game 3 of an American League Division Series baseball game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)


Once again, Gerrit Cole will try to save the season for the New York Yankees.

New York’s $324 million man will start at Yankee Stadium on Saturday with his team trailing Houston 2-0 in the AL Championship Series. Cristian Javier pitches for the Astros.

In the NL Championship Series, Kyle Schwarber and the Philadelphia Phillies lead the San Diego Padres 2-1 going into Game 4.

Cole, who helped lead the Astros into the 2019 World Series, topped the majors with 257 strikeouts this season while going 13-8 with a 3.50 ERA.

The right-handed ace beat the Guardians in the Division Series opener and, with the Yankees trailing 2-1 in the best-of-five series, won Game 4 at Cleveland to force the series back to the Bronx. Cole was warming up in the bullpen in the ninth inning just in case when New York won the deciding Game 5.

“I got showered with beer and hit in the head with french fries as we got the last out,” he said. “So there’s a part of every baseball player that I think just really enjoys making the fan base happy, just enjoys making the people in the ballpark happy.”

The Astros won the first two games of this best-of-seven series at Minute Maid Park. Houston is 5-0 this postseason.

“Certainly feel no one better than Gerrit to hand the ball to get us right back in this,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Javier will have had 10 days’ rest since a 21-pitch relief outing against Seattle in the Division Series opener. His last start was Oct. 1.

The 25-year-old Javier started and struck out 13 in seven innings of a combined no-hitter in a 3-0 win at Yankee Stadium on June 25. Cole took the loss in that game.

Here’s what else to know about the MLB playoffs Saturday:

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE (All times ET)

ALCS Game 3. Houston at New York Yankees, 5:07 p.m., TBS

NLCS Game 4: San Diego at Philadelphia, 7:45 p.m., FOX

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Jurickson Profar thought he was going to first base and possibly keying a ninth-inning rally for the San Diego Padres. Instead, he was ejected and headed back to the dugout.

With a runner on first and no outs and San Diego down by two runs in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series, Profar tried to check his swing on a full-count pitch from Phillies reliever Seranthony Domínguez.

Profar tossed his bat and began his trot to first, but he was ruled to have swung by third-base umpire Todd Tichenor. Profar slammed his helmet, yelled an expletive at Tichenor and then kicked his helmet before being ejected by plate umpire Ted Barrett.

Domínguez retired the next two batters to finish a 4-2 win that gave Philadelphia a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven matchup.

“It should’ve been a walk,” Profar said.

Padres manager Bob Melvin didn’t dispute the umpire’s decision – but didn’t necessarily agree, either.

“Originally, it looked like it might have gone. Go back and look at it, maybe the bat didn’t get out there. It’s a close call, tough one. But maybe not,” he said.

Mike Clevinger starts for the Padres in Game 4 against Phillies lefty Bailey Falter.

BOTTLED UP

Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. is having his start in the ALCS pushed back by a day after becoming the latest player to be injured in a postseason celebration.

McCullers sustained a small cut to his throwing elbow after being hit with a bottle during the team’s clubhouse party after winning the AL Division Series.

“Unfortunately, after the victory in Seattle, I caught a spare champagne bottle to the elbow bone,” McCullers said.

“It was really no one’s fault,” he said. “It was just an accident. So, it’s not a huge deal.”

McCullers had some swelling, so Houston switched him from starting Game 3 on Saturday to Game 4 on Sunday.

Earlier this month, Phillies reliever David Robertson missed the NLDS after straining his calf jumping to celebrate a home run by Bryce Harper in the Wild Card round.

AHOY, SKIPPER!

Bruce Bochy is returning to the dugout after a short retirement, hired by the Texas Rangers as their new manager.

Texas was one of three teams to firm up their managerial plans on Friday. The Cleveland Guardians said Terry Francona would be back in 2023 and the Toronto Blue Jays took the interim tag off manager John Schneider and gave him a three-year contract.

The Chicago White Sox, Kansas City and Miami still have managerial openings.

The 67-year-old Bochy hasn’t managed since 2019, when he stepped away after 13 seasons and three World Series championships with the San Francisco Giants.

Bochy agreed to a three-year contract. Fourth-year Rangers manager Chris Woodward was fired Aug. 15 and the team went 17-31 under interim manager Tony Beasley. Texas has had six straight losing seasons.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of Game 1 of an American League Division baseball series, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/10/web1_129980406-5a1f5f65199f43179c5d839de65105ec.jpgNew York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers against the Cleveland Guardians during the first inning of Game 1 of an American League Division baseball series, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

San Diego Padres’ Jurickson Profar reacts after striking out during the ninth inning in Game 3 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/10/web1_129980406-6265de5e109b48148f84aaf382626845.jpgSan Diego Padres’ Jurickson Profar reacts after striking out during the ninth inning in Game 3 of the baseball NL Championship Series between the San Diego Padres and the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (43) reacts after walking Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger during the second inning in Game 3 of an American League Division Series baseball game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/10/web1_129980406-5d0d23cb3b764953a0291baebf469435.jpgHouston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. (43) reacts after walking Seattle Mariners right fielder Mitch Haniger during the second inning in Game 3 of an American League Division Series baseball game Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Associated Press