2012 ALCS: Starting CC Sabathia on Short Rest Won't Help New York Yankees

Phil WatsonCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 12:  CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees pitches in the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles during Game Five of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on October 12, 2012 in New York, New York.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The New York Yankees trail 0-2 in the American League Championship Series. The Detroit Tigers blanked the Yankees on Sunday 3-0 and return home for Game 3 on Tuesday.
It is officially desperation time for the Yankees. Down 0-2 and going against Tiger ace Justin Verlander in Game 3. New York currently has staff ace CC Sabathia set to pitch Game 4 on Wednesday at Comerica Park, but there has already been some discussion among fans that manager Joe Girardi should bring back Sabathia on short rest to pitch Game 3.

But pitching isn’t the problem for the Yankees through the 2012 playoffs. Hiroki Kuroda was perfect through five innings on Sunday but was the hard-luck loser because the New York offense continued to be woeful.

In seven postseason games this October, the Yankee pitching staff has sterling marks with a 2.38 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Pitching has most definitely not been the problem for New York.

No, the issue has been offense…or a lack thereof. The Yankee offense has been downright offensive in the postseason. New York scored four runs in the ninth inning of Game 1 to force extra innings but otherwise have been held scoreless for the other 20 innings of the series. That came after notching just 16 runs in five games while getting past the Baltimore Orioles in the Division Series.

On Sunday, the Yankees mustered four hits, with a double from Mark Teixeira, the only one for extra bases. This postseason, the Yankees are hitting just .205 as a team. Robinson Cano has been the worst of the bunch at 2-for-32. Curtis Granderson is 3-for-26, Alex Rodriguez 3-for-23, Nick Swisher 4-for-26 and Russell Martin 5-for-26. For good measure, part-timer Eric Chavez is hitless in his 11 at-bats.

Granderson has added to the woes with 14 strikeouts in his 26 at-bats while Rodriguez has fanned 12 times in 23 at-bats.

Starting Sabathia doesn’t address that. Starting Cy Young himself doesn’t address that. The Yankees opponents are hitting just .213 in the postseason and have scored 19 runs. That should be more than enough for the Yankees to be dominating teams.

Instead, they were pushed to the maximum by the Orioles and are in the direst of two-game deficits against Detroit. Down 0-2 and heading on the road for the next two (or three) games, New York’s pitching rotation simply doesn’t matter. What does matter is somehow getting the offense turned around.

This offense is making decent pitchers like Anibal Sanchez look great. It’s making good pitchers such as Doug Fister look like immortals.

It has to be quite frightening, indeed, for Yankee fans to contemplate how great Verlander—a top-five pitcher in the major leagues—will look against this punchless attack.

And starting CC Sabathia on short rest does absolutely nothing to change that.