NEW YORK -- The Yankees will open the American League Division Series on Thursday in Cleveland, a result of the Red Sox's selection of a longer scheduling option following their clinching of home-field advantage during the playoffs.
Boston selected to play the eight-day Division Series 'B' after their victory over the Twins and the Indians' loss at Kansas City. The option leaves the Yankees to play Games 1 and 2 at Cleveland on Thursday and Friday before returning to New York for Game 3.
"We were just going to sit back and see when we played," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We didn't have to make the decision. I don't know which decision we would have made if we were faced with it. Whenever they tell us we need to play is what we do."
The selection has ramifications on the Yankees' projected pitching rotation for the ALDS. Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang and left-hander Andy Pettitte will pitch New York's first two games as expected, and the Yankees continue to hope that right-hander Roger Clemens will be healthy enough to start Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.
Without an extra off-day, though, the Yankees cannot follow through on their idea to bring back both Wang and Pettitte to pitch in Games 4 and 5. Instead, a fourth starter -- possibly right-hander Mike Mussina -- will enter the equation for a possible Game 4, while Wang or Pettitte could come back to pitch a potential Game 5.
American League Division Series schedule
|Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Boston Red Sox|
|Wed., Oct. 3||6:30 p.m.|| Fenway Park|| TBS|
|Fri., Oct. 5||8:30 p.m.||Fenway Park || TBS|
|Sun. Oct. 7||3 p.m.||Angel Stadium|| TBS|
|*Mon. Oct. 8||9:30 p.m.||Angel Stadium|| TBS|
|*Wed. Oct. 10||8:30 p.m.||Fenway Park|| TBS|
|New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians|
|Thu., Oct. 4||6:30 p.m.|| Jacobs Field|| TBS|
|Fri., Oct. 5||5 p.m.|| Jacobs Field || TBS|
|Sun. Oct. 7||6:30 p.m.|| Yankee Stadium || TBS|
|*Mon. Oct. 8||6 p.m.|| Yankee Stadium|| TBS|
|*Wed. Oct. 10||5 p.m.|| Jacobs Field || TBS|
|* If necessary. All times ET.|
This is the first time Major League Baseball gave the team with the best record in the American League a chance to pick which schedule they wanted to play. The NL team with the best record will have that opportunity next year.
For now, the Yankees have an opponent, a destination and a date. Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said that the important piece in any five-game series will be getting off to a good beginning.
"You've got to play well when you start the series," Jeter said. "That's pretty much it."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.