CLEVELAND -- After leaning on their bullpen for 8 2/3 innings in a memorable American League Wild Card Game against the Twins, the Yankees added pitching reinforcements by preparing left-handers Jaime Garcia and Jordan Montgomery for contributing roles against the Indians in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan.
With Garcia and Montgomery added to the 25-man roster for the ALDS, which begins with Game 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET (FS1) on Thursday at Progressive Field, the Yankees will carry a 12-man pitching staff. They had 10 hurlers for the AL Wild Card Game, with left-hander Chasen Shreve, outfielder Clint Frazier and infielder Tyler Wade now inactive for the ALDS.
"I think that it all starts with the pitching," outfielder Brett Gardner said. "You look at a guy like Jordan Montgomery, who we didn't really know what to expect coming into Spring Training, and he ended up giving us -- I think he went over 150 innings (155 1/3). That's what it's all about."
Garcia and Montgomery both figure to offer length to a taxed Yanks bullpen, with manager Joe Girardi saying that he would try to stay away from using Chad Green, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle in ALDS Game 1. Garcia was acquired from the Twins on July 30 and went 0-3 with a 4.82 ERA in eight starts down the stretch.
Though he was not prominently mentioned in roster discussion leading into the season, Montgomery won a spot in the rotation on the strength of a strong spring that established the 24-year-old as a consistent strike thrower. He was 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA in 29 starts, leading all AL rookies in starts, strikeouts (144) and innings.
"I think for a young man who was not necessarily in the rotation plans when Spring Training started, I think he's pitched really well and won some really big games for us; some games where we were struggling," Girardi said. "I think he's grown a lot as a player, and I think he's learned a lot. I think he's had a good year."
After Gray starts Thursday's opener, the Yanks elected to have Sabathia start opposite Corey Kluber in Friday's Game 2 in what appears to be a nod to the home-road splits between Sabathia and Tanaka. Sabathia pitched to a 3.18 ERA on the road this season, compared to a 4.20 ERA at home. Tanaka had a 3.22 ERA at home, and he pitched to a 6.48 ERA on the road. Severino would start a potential Game 4 after lasting just one-third of an inning in the AL Wild Card Game in his postseason debut.
There are strikeouts galore here, but Garcia and Montgomery have hardly any experience out of the bullpen; Garcia has pitched in relief for just 11 of his 185 Major League appearances, while Montgomery did it just four times in 62 Minor League outings. That means Girardi will have to offer both pitchers ample time to warm up and would probably only use them in long-relief situations. Betances struggled with his control down the stretch, becoming too reliant on his breaking pitches. Warren appeared just once after Sept. 1, but he said that he's capable of throwing 40-45 pitches in an outing.
Bird missed most of the season due to injury but has come on strong in September, and his left-handed stroke has been a welcome addition to the lineup. Castro hit .300 this season, while Frazier hit 11 of his 27 homers after joining the Yankees in July. Girardi has called Gregorius "the captain of the infield," and his 25 homers surpassed Derek Jeter for the most by a Yanks shortstop. The switch-hitting Headley was on the bench for the AL Wild Card Game but has played at both infield corners. Torreyes offers versatility at second base, shortstop and third base, as well as an experienced cameraman for dugout celebrations.
Girardi wanted to use his best defensive outfield against the Twins, so he had Gardner in left field, Hicks in center field and Judge in right field while using Ellsbury as a DH. Girardi may elect to do the same against Cleveland. Gardner hit a career-high 21 homers, plus one in the AL Wild Card Game. Hicks set new career-highs in runs (54), doubles (18), homers (15), RBIs (52) and walks (51) despite missing most of the second half with a pair of oblique injuries. Ellsbury hit .337 with 21 runs scored in a terrific September. Judge, of course, is a lock for the AL Rookie of the Year Award and he could also win the AL MVP Award.
Sanchez receives a lot of flak for his blocking -- his combined 69 wild pitches and passed balls led all Major League catchers, but he also ranked fourth in the Majors with a 3.43 catcher's ERA while throwing out 19 of 56 potential base stealers. Sanchez's 79 runs, 33 homers, 90 RBIs and .531 slugging percentage were all tops among big league catchers. Romine is a solid defense-first backup who offers occasional pop.
Holliday was a big part of the Yankees' attack in the first half, but his playing time dwindled in the second half due to injuries and the Yanks' acquisitions. The 37-year-old veteran sat for the AL Wild Card game, though Girardi said he likely would have started Holliday against a lefty.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.