New York Yankees' GM Brian Cashman Says A.J. Burnett May Get ALCS Start
Now that the ALCS matchup has been determined after the Texas Rangers sent the Tampa Bay Rays packing with a 5-1 victory last night in St. Petersburg, the Yankees have a decision to make. During the ALDS against Minnesota, a five-game series, the Yankees were able to go with a three-man pitching rotation of CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes.
In a seven-game ALCS, the Yankees will have to go with a four-man rotation. If they don't, they'd have to start Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes on short rest. For Sabathia, this isn't a big deal. He has repeatedly demonstrated an ability to pitch on short rest during his time with the Yankees and the Milwaukee Brewers. But it's a much bigger problem for Pettitte and Hughes.
The Yankees would be slow to force Pettitte, who answered a lot of questions with a great performance in Game 2 of the ALDS, to go on three days rest—mainly because he is coming off a recent injury. Also, Hughes has already thrown more innings this season than ever before.
Enter A.J. Burnett.
Brian Cashman confirmed the Yankees would use a four-man rotation when the ALCS begins Friday night in Arlington, Texas and told fans to "be prepared" to see Burnett. Cashman expressed confidence in his pitcher, who struggled to a 10-15 record and 5.26 ERA during the regular season.
If C.C. Sabathia pitches Game 1 on Friday night, and the rest of the rotation stays the same, Burnett would pitch in Game 4 and Hughes would have to pitch a decisive Game 7 if the series went that far. Hughes looked good in his first career postseason start on Oct. 9 against the Twins, but at the age of 24, is a Game 7 start too much to ask?
Against the Texas Rangers during the regular season, Burnett went 1-0 with a 2.50 ERA in three starts and held their offense to a .232 BAA. If the Yankees are looking at the stats, then things are looking good for Burnett to get the start. Not that the Yankees have much of a choice.
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