Masahiro Tanaka’s ALCS chance to save Yankees is here early

Aaron Boone needs his postseason ace to once again play the Hiro for the Yankees.

Wednesday’s postponement enables Boone to turn back to Game 1 starter Masahiro Tanaka on regular rest Thursday night in Game 4, rather than employ an opener, as the manger originally had planned.

Tanaka pitched six shutout innings in the Yankees’ 7-0 win Saturday in the ALCS opener at Minute Maid Park. His career postseason of ERA of 1.32 is third all-time in the team’s postseason history (minimum 30 innings), behind only Mariano Rivera (0.70) and Monte Pearson (1.01).

With his team leading 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, Astros manager A.J. Hinch similarly will hand the ball to Zack Greinke, who the Yankees reached for three runs over six innings in the Game 1.

Justin Verlander also has been moved up to pitch Friday’s Game 5 at the Stadium. He “likely” will oppose Yankees lefty James Paxton, Boone said.

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