You can say a lot of things about the New York Yankees. They've got the most money, their offense is unbeatable, the list goes on and on. However, one thing you can't say is that their starters are a lock every time they take the mound.
A.J. Burnett has been up and down, Hughes has been shaky but good for the most part, and Javier Vazquez was demoted to the bullpen.
This has arisen many issues like, "Who starts Game 2? Well they go with three starters like last year, or four?"
Joe Girardi, who has already received much criticism from New York's fan base, will undoubtedly receive more once he announces his choice. They will play game 162 still trying for the division win, and they can do so if the Rays lose and they win, but manager Joe Girardi will most likely be worrying about his playoff roster.
The Yankees will be trying for their 28th title, and this is the how the playoff rotation should look like for New York.
This by far is the most obvious choice. CC is probably the front-runner for the AL Cy Young, and it's obvious why.
Sabathia has a 3.18 ERA, and tied for most major-league wins (21), and has 197 strikeouts, along with throwing more than 237 innings of work. If that doesn't deserve the name "ace,' then I don't know what does.
CC has already been awarded the Game 1 start for the ALDS, and if needed, could pitch Game 4 on three days rest. He is a lock for every start to go at least six innings, and to at least keep New York in the game.
There's not much to be said about CC, except for one word: DOMINANT.
Phil Hughes has been a solid for the Yankees this year, usually throwing well every time out, and even had a chance for a no-hitter against Oakland. He started the season like an ace, going 11-2 with a 3.65 ERA.
Phil Hughes threw an inning of shutout ball against the Red Sox Saturday, and eventually got the win, his 18th of the year. He has thrown much better away than home, with a .240/.630 stat line away versus a .248/.754.
Hughes also has a significantly better ERA on the road, having a 3.52 earned average away versus 4.66 home; also, Phil has allowed 20 of his 25 home runs at home. He's gone at least seven innings in three of his last four starts, and in his last time start went six innings and only gave up one run while allowing three hits.
So, having him pitch away in Game 2 on the road is probably the best choice for the Yankees, and to say you have an 24 year old 18-game winner has to be a plus, as well as a sign of good things to come, which is what will happen if Hughes starts Game 2.
Before going done with a groin injury in July, Pettitte was on his way to a Cy Young type season. He already had 11 wins, and with an ERA under three, many argued that the Yankees one, two, and three pitchers were all going to get 20 wins.
The postseason is no stranger to Andy, and last year winning all three clinching playoff games for the Yanks proved it. He makes hitters swing and miss with a cutter similar to Mariano's, but then again, it is Mariano.
In Andy Pettitte's start yesterday, he threw four-plus innings and struck out nine, but he had little control as the Yanks beat the Red Sox 6-5. This was a big plus for the Yanks as they know now that their Game 2 starter is ready for action, and this goes a long way for their postseason hopes as well as winning the divisional title.
Pettitte will probably be fine with pitching Game 3, and if the Yankees are in a pressure situation, he would be the man you want out on the mound; and you can already tell that the home crowd will be behind him.
There has been much debate over the Yankees number four spot for their rotation, and its clear why. The fourth spot was A.J.'s to lose, and he has basically done everything you could do to lose a spot in the rotation. Time in and time out, Burnett does a lackadaisical of throwing the ball. He is lucky to go five innings, and by that time he's probably already given up four runs.
Yankees fans have to search far, but there was a time when Burnett was doing better then C.C. You have to remember early last year when Sabathia and Wang has both lost the first two games of the season, and Burnett was the savior. He would repeatedly be the "stopper" when the Yankees would have a losing streak. Hard to remember, isn't it? Well now, the Yankees would be oozing with happiness if Burnett could just go 6 or so innings and only give up two or three runs in the postseason. At that time, if the yanks were behind, you could easily see them coming back. But is it likely for that to happen? Yeah, about as likely as the Pirates winning the Pennant next year.
And then there's Ivan Nova. Called up to replace Javier Vasquez, Nova made his first Major League start in Toronto. He was fantastic, going 5 and a third innings and only giving up 1 run. Later that month, Nova got his first win against Chicago, and has pitched well every time out.
Right now, it looks as though Burnett would get the start in game 4 of the ALCS if New York makes it, but, if he doesn't do well, you could definitely see Ivan pitch in a 3-0 or two games to one lead for the Yankees. However, knowing Joe Girardi, that would be the only way we see Nova in the starting role again this year.