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2011 MLB Playoffs: Not Starting CC Sabathia in Game 2 Will Hurt the Yankees

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 30:  CC Sabathia #52 of the New York Yankees pitches in the rain against the Detroit Tigers during Game One of the American League Division Series at Yankee Stadium on September 30, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images
Rob ManiseroCorrespondent IOctober 17, 2016

The rainout of Game 1 has had a profound effect on the Yankees starting rotation. For one, AJ Burnett now is slated to start Game 4. But an even more pressing matter is when to pitch CC Sabathia.

Joe Girardi says it will happen on Monday, for Game 3. That's the wrong move.

The main reason for pushing CC back to Monday is simple: Joe doesn't want the big man to get hurt. It is a legitimate reason, but when it comes to the playoffs, I believe it's better to use as much of Sabathia as possible.

It would be wrong to ask CC to come back in Game 1 and pitch in any scenario. But if there is anyone who could return on Sunday, it's Sabathia. He has proven to be the ultimate workhorse for the Yanks over the past three years, and the playoffs is where he earns his salary. So why not give him the chance?

In the current scenario, Ivan Nova is set up to pitch a possible Game 5 on Thursday. Nova has been an amazing surprise, but no one has any idea how he will react to the playoff pressure. On the other hand, CC is a proven postseason pitcher, and having him pitch Game 2 will set him up for a possible return in Game 5 on three days rest. Once again, if there is any pitcher in the Majors who can do this, it's CC.

Girardi seems to be managing with the ALCS in mind, which is never a good idea. Even if CC has to go in a Game 5 situation, he is then perfectly set up for Game 3 of the ALCS. Ideally, the Yanks would love to win the series before getting to a Game 5, but the playoffs have to be taken one game at a time.

On top of not being sure about Nova, AJ Burnett is now a part of the rotation. More often than not, bad AJ will show. He's the guy who throws 100 pitches in four innings with six or seven walks. That means the pressure is on Freddy and Nova to deliver big outings.

Not pitching CC twice in this series could come back to haunt Girardi and the Yanks. Protecting your pitcher during the regular season is one thing, but when the goal is to win the World Series, the time for that is now over. Give Sabathia the ball on Sunday, and give the Yankees the best chance to win the series.

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