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While the Yankees must win Thursday’s ALDS Game 4 in order force a Game 5 against the Rays in their ALDS matchup, they’re already making plans for that potential winner-take-all game on Friday. 

Specifically, ace Gerrit Cole sounds ready and willing to make the start on short rest for the Yankees.

Cole, who signed a $324 million free agent contract with the Yankees last winter, pitched to a 2.84 ERA/151 ERA+ during the regular season with 94 strikeouts in 73 innings. Throw in his still elite spin rate and dominating stuff, and Cole’s still very much a certifiable ace.

While he wasn’t quite his usual self in his Game 1 start against the Rays (6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 8 SO, 2 BB), he’s still the best the injury-compromised Yankee rotation can offer. Of note is that Cole has never made a start on fewer that four days’ rest, regular season or postseason. In that sense, he’s venturing into the unknown, but making the necessary adjustments has surely been under consideration since Cole exited that Game 1 start. 

Again, though, before any of this matters the Yankees must even the series with a win in Game 4. 

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