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Cleveland Guardians' Aaron Civale to start Game 5 of American League Division Series vs. Yankees

Aaron Civale will take the mound for the Cleveland Guardians in their Game 5 matchup vs. the New York Yankees on Tuesday.

BRONX, N.Y. — While Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona had previously told reporters that Aaron Civale would start Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees, the team officially listed its starting pitcher as "TBD" once the postponement to Tuesday was made official.

But on Tuesday morning, the Guardians eliminated any question that ace Shane Bieber might get the starting nod, as the team announced that Civale would, in fact, start the winner-take-all matchup. Had Bieber started on Tuesday, he would have been pitching on three days' rest, something the 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner has yet to do in his career.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Francona expressed confidence in Civale. After struggling injuries throughout the 2022 campaign, the right-hander bounced back to end the season on a high note, tallying a 1.86 ERA in eight combined starts in the final two months of the season.

"He had a lot of bumps in the road this year, different things," Francona said. "Once he was able to pitch with health, he looked like the guy that was going to make an All-Star Team last year."

Francona's decision to stick with Civale was likely aided by the strength of Cleveland's bullpen, which should have all of its top relievers available on Tuesday. The two-time World Series champion manager even hinted that he wouldn't be shy to make a quick call to the bullpen, which is considered one of the Guardians' biggest strengths.

"I just told [Civale] last night, I said, 'hey, go pitch, you are probably going to see guys warming up in the pen,' and I said, 'don't let it [affect you] -- just pitch,"' Francona said. "'I'll come get you when I think it's the right time.'"

As for the Yankees, New York manager Aaron Boone is taking a different strategy, starting left-hander Nestor Cortes on three days' rest. In Game 2, Cortes tallied surrendered two runs and six hits in five innings pitched, in what was ultimately a 4-2 Guardians win in 10 innings.

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