(AP) – The New York Yankees might have a busy weekend before getting a one-day break ahead of the playoffs.
After clinching an AL wild-card berth on Thursday night with a 4-1 win over Boston, the Yankees had their game Friday against the Orioles postponed by rain.
The makeup will be made up as part of a split doubleheader Saturday. The starting times at 12:05 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.
The teams then conclude the regular season with a matchup on Sunday afternoon.
Ivan Nova (6-10, 4.89 ERA) is scheduled to start the first game Saturday, followed by Luis Severino (5-3, 2.77). But that could change if Houston loses on Friday night, assuring New York home-field advantage in Tuesday’s winner-take-all, wild-card matchup.
”Nova would still be the first, but Sevi, we might do something different,” manager Joe Girardi said.
If New York (87-72) clinches that home game, then Girardi will likely rest his regulars.
”The most important thing going through this weekend is to clinch the home field for us,” he said. ”And in saying that, I don’t really have plans of playing any one person two games tomorrow. To me, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, that you would do that physically to the guys and risk injury (or) fatigue.”
Severino, who eagerly declared himself available to pitch the wild-card game before the rainout, has pitched well down the stretch. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in six of his last seven starts, going 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA over his last three.
The 21-year-old tossed six scoreless innings in Sunday’s 6-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.
"He can pitch," catcher Brian McCann said. "Everyone around here already knew that. He’s very impressive. He’s a professional. He works hard. He does a lot of things right. He’s lights-out."
New York will need that since it has a 5.60 ERA while losing 10 of its last 13 games at Camden Yards.
Nova, meanwhile, looks to avoid losing a fourth straight start after being reached for four runs – all scoring on a pair of homers – in seven innings of a 5-1 loss to Boston on Monday. He did beat Baltimore on July 22, yielding two runs and three hits in six innings of a 4-3 victory.
Baltimore (78-81) was eliminated from contention earlier this week and needs a three-game sweep to avoid a losing season.
Wei-Yin Chen (10-8, 3.35 ERA) will pitch the opener, followed by Ubaldo Jimenez (12-10, 4.10 ERA).
Chen is a pending free agent, meaning this could be the left-hander’s final appearance with Baltimore. In four years with the Orioles, Chen is 45-32 with a 3.73 ERA.
Manager Buck Showalter believes it should be more of the same on Saturday.
”I expect him to pitch the way he has most of his time here,” he said. ”He’s been very solid all year. Very proud of his health and the things he’s been able to maintain. Every time he’s take the mound for us, I like our chances.
”Very good evaluation, very good signing. Hopefully it will continue.”
Jimenez has enjoyed a bounce-back season after winning just six games in 2014 but had a three-game winning streak end Sunday when the Red Sox scratched out two runs in seven innings of a 2-0 win. He’s gone 2-1 in three starts against the Yankees despite an 8.16 ERA, though that came about mainly by getting tagged for seven runs in 2 1-3 innings of a 9-3 loss July 23.
The right-hander beat the Yankees on Sept. 9, giving up three runs in seven innings as the Orioles won 5-3. Jimenez has struggled against Carlos Beltran, who is 9 for 23 with three homers and two doubles lifetime against him.
Earlier Friday, Chris Davis was named Most Valuable Oriole in balloting by members of the media who cover the team. Davis leads the majors with 45 home runs and has 112 RBIs.
He also was named Most Valuable Oriole in 2013. Davis slipped dramatically last year, batting only .197, but has come up with a season that should make him a hot commodity during the offseason, when he too becomes a free agent.
”We couldn’t have been as competitive as we’ve been this year without him,” Showalter said. ”I think he was very disappointed at the right things that happened last year. He wanted to be there for the club all year and be somebody we could count on, and he was.”