Jon Lester has been among the best pitchers in baseball since beating cancer.
Even with a number of injuries and question marks surrounding their rotation, the Red Sox starters are clearly better off than the Yankees.
If this was a debate of aces, Sabathia would probably win out because of how consistently dominant he's been in pin stripes.
The problem for the Bombers is that the rest of their rotation is made up of guys who weren't really in their long-term plans a couple of years ago.
Ivan Nova has emerged as a dependable pitcher, but they would've moved him in a trade if they could've brought back rotation help.
Bartolo Colon and Freddie Garcia have pitched better than anyone could've expected, as both came to the Yankees on minor league contracts and had to earn their spots on the team.
Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett are enigmatic at best.
With no clear-cut No. 2 starter in New York, the Red Sox get the edge in rotation. They at least can answer the question of who takes the ball second in a short series.
Josh Beckett has re-emerged as the team's ace and likely would take the ball in Game 1 of a playoff series.
And while Sabathia might be the best overall pitcher on either of these teams, Beckett turns it up in the playoffs and has already won two World Series.
Having Jon Lester capable of taking the ball in Game 2 gives the Red Sox an enormous advantage in the early games of a series.
Erik Bedard and John Lackey will fight for the third spot in Boston if Clay Buchholz is unable to return, putting the Sox in the same end-of-the-rotation conflict as the Yankees.
They get the advantage here because they have a better firm plan in place earlier in the rotation.