I’ll be discussing potential playoff opponents later today, but I have been having a discussion with a number of people on Twitter about the possible playoff rotation and wanted to bring the issue up here. The schedule for the first round, no matter the opponent, is as follows:
Game 1: October 6th
Game 2: October 7th
Game 3: October 9th
Game 4: October 10th
Game 5: October 12th
The scheduled off days allow the Yankees to go with a three man rotation if they so choose, which is the plan that I would follow. The real question is the identity of the third pitcher, with AJ Burnett and Phil Hughes being the frontrunners for that spot. Here is how it would break down:
Game 1: Sabathia
Game 2: Pettitte
Game 3: Burnett/Hughes
Game 4: Sabathia (3 days rest)
Game 5: Pettitte (full rest)
Only CC would be going on three days rest, and Andy Pettitte would be slated to go in a pivotal Game 5. This setup allows the Yankees to best maximize their resources by using their ace and their battle-tested lefty twice each in the first round, limiting the exposure of the weaker elements of the rotation. While some may be concerned about using CC on three days rest, I think he showed last season that pitching on short rest is not a problem for him.
As for the 3rd starter, the right pick may depend on whether Game 3 is home or away. If it is an away game, Hughes is the obvious pick, as he has been strong on the road all year and seems to have an affinity for pitching in Texas. If Game 3 is at home, the gap between the two pitchers shrinks considerably, and I could see an argument for either. I would still prefer Hughes, as he is more likely to keep the team in a game even without his best stuff, while Burnett always has the specter of disaster hanging over him.
What would you do?
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