At various points throughout this season, the Yankees have gone with a six-man pitching rotation.
This started towards the end of July, when the Yanks recalled Ivan Nova from the minors and inserted him into the rotation. The new strategy lasted through only one turn, as Freddy Garcia went on the DL to again leave just five starters.
However, with all six starters now healthy, skipper Joe Girardi has decided to stick with the six-man rotation for the time being, instead of making a decision on who should be moved to the bullpen. Presumably that choice would be Phil Hughes due to his past experience there, although most fans would probably call for A.J. Burnett to be removed from the rotation.
The problem with the six-man plan, aside from the fact that the Yankees' ace, CC Sabathia, has already voiced his displeasure with being taken out of his usual routine, is that it results in more bad starts for the Yankees.
Let's start with the effect on Sabathia. In the 18 starts this season that CC has made on a normal four days rest, he has a 2.69 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and a .591 OPS against. In his other starts he has a 3.26 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and a .748 OPS against.
Now, those aren't particularly bad stats, but they are significantly worse than his line on normal rest. The numbers don't lie: CC is much better when he is in his normal routine.
The other issue with keeping both Hughes and Burnett in the rotation is that the Yankees now have one of those two awful pitchers starting every third game, whereas if one was sent to the bullpen, the other would just be starting every fifth game.
When I say awful, I mean awful.
Both pitchers have an ERA over 5.00 since the All-Star break, as they've combined for a 6.51. This means that every third day, the Yankees should expect their bullpen to have to do some serious work.
Girardi's indecision on this matter is hurting the team right now. Why does he continue to insist upon sending two bad starters out there, especially when it also negatively affects his best pitcher? Girardi needs to make a decision soon; sending either Hughes or Burnett to the bullpen will make the Yankees better off than they are now.