Jordan Montgomery hasn’t pitched since Sept. 24 and has never appeared in the postseason, so the left-hander will have his work cut out for him Thursday when he starts Game 4 of the ALDS against the Rays.
“I’m excited to get an opportunity,’’ Montgomery said prior to Game 3 at Petco Park in San Diego. “I’ve been waiting since 2017, especially once I got hurt [the next season]. I’m excited to go out there and pitch.”
Montgomery has certainly had to wait longer than anticipated to make his playoff debut, but he was sidetracked by Tommy John surgery in 2018 and was out until late last season.
His 2020 season has been uneven and he finished with a 5.11 ERA.
Some of Montgomery’s advanced numbers were better than his results, and the left-hander often pointed to the soft contact he created, even in outings that didn’t go well.
But his worst start of the year came against the Rays — when Montgomery yielded four runs, including two homers, in just two-thirds of an inning Sept. 2 in The Bronx.
“They have a lot of good hitters, put together good [at-bats] and good swings on good pitches,’’ Montgomery said of Tampa Bay’s lineup. “They make you be extra pinpoint.”
That could be a challenge considering how much time off Montgomery has had since he last pitched.
He warmed in the bullpen in Cleveland during the wild-card series and said he was “pretty sharp” heading into Thursday.
“I’ve been staying ready mentally since I’ve been in the bullpen,’’ Montgomery said. “This deep into the season, I’m pretty confident about where I am right now.”
After the Yankees mishandled Game 2, when they pulled Deivi Garcia after one inning and went to J.A. Happ to start the second, Montgomery said he hasn’t been told of a similar plan for Thursday.
“I have no idea,’’ Montgomery said of how he’ll be used. “I treat it like it’s my game and go out there and give it my all.”
That attitude isn’t surprising, since it’s a game he’s been thinking about for some time.
“This is what I’ve been working, really, my whole career for,’’ Montgomery said. “Especially when I wasn’t out there for a while. You get a little antsy and want to get out there even more.”
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