Frankie Montas’ time with the Yankees may not be exactly what general manager Brian Cashman had expected when he traded for the starting pitching at the deadline, but the Bombers are more than happy to see him back for the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros.
Though his role will be a bit different than the one he was originally brought in for. Montas was available out of the pen for the Bombers after returning to the roster from a shoulder injury. He hasn’t pitched since Sept. 16 and Boone had said prior to the playoffs that he would likely use Montas in a reliever role due to the limited time they had to get him any starts prior to the start of the postseason.
“I think I’m going to be out of the bullpen, but I told them whatever they want me to do, if they want me to be an opener, a starter, whatever, a reliever, whatever they want me to do, I’m willing to do whatever just to help us win,” Montas told reporters ahead of Game 1 on Wednesday.
When asked if he could go 50-60 pitches, the righty said that he’d likely be able to go two innings-plus if called upon. Pushed about his usage for the whole series, Montas seemed confident he’d have more than one outing in him against the Astros.
“I feel pretty good right now, so if they need me to pitch back-to-back games, I’ll be ready for it,” he said.
The Yankees could use all the reinforcements they could muster going into the league championship series against the high-powered Astros offense. New York’s bullpen depth has been limited and was tested by the Guardians during the five-game series.
Wandy Peralta and Clay Holmes proved to be key contributors late in games for the Yankees, but having Montas available in a bind is a solid option as well for manager Aaron Boone.
Montas also has a familiarity with the Astros having played with Oakland Athletics. Montas is 8-5 with a 3.40 ERA in 15 career games against Houston and he has a 3-2 record and 3.86 ERA in six appearances at Minute Maid Park.
His success against the Astros wasn’t something that he was really focused on.
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“I feel like I have the same mentality every time I go out there and pitch,” Montas said. “I had success here, but I feel like if I’m on my A game if I’m throwing strikes and I’m hitting my spots and I’m throwing the pitches I want to throw, pretty much I’m going to have success.”
Seeing Montas pitch like the ace that they had expected would be an added bonus for the Yankees, who hadn’t seen much out of the starter. He has gone 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA in eight starts in pinstripes before the injury sidelined him.