The trickiest thing when managing a starting rotation is attempting to strike the ever delicate balance of rest and optimization. While a four man rotation–hence, three days rest–may get a teams ace more starts, it’s possible that, unless closely monitored, the pitchers will get overworked. But even with today’s five man rotations, there are occasionally opportunities to skip the fifth starter and give that start to the staff’s ace. We saw the Yankees use this strategy last April, as they were able to take advantage of some off days. This April, the Yankees have just two off days, and only one will allow them to skip the fifth starter.
Before going any further, I’m going to make one assumption, and it’s that the rotation will look like this:
Now, here’s how the schedule will line up, with that day’s potential starter.
4/6 @ Rays: Sabathia
4/7 @ Rays: Kuroda
4/8 @ Rays: Nova
4/9 @ Orioles: Pineda
4/10 @ Orioles: Hughes
4/11 @ Orioles: Sabthia
The 12th is an off day, but there’d be no reason to skip Kuroda, so everyone will be working on extra rest this time through.
4/13 vs. Angels: Kuroda
4/14 vs. Angels: Nova
4/15 vs. Angels: Pineda
4/16 vs. Twins: Hughes
4/17 vs. Twins: Sabathia
4/18 vs. Twins: Kuroda
4/19 vs. Twins: Nova
4/20 @ Red Sox: Pineda
4/21 @ Red Sox: Hughes
4/22 @ Red Sox: Sabathia
4/23 @ Rangers: Kuroda
4/24 @ Rangers: Nova
4/25 @ Rangers: Pineda
On the 26th, the Yankees have an off day before they start a three game homestand against the Tigers. There are two options they can roll with. The first option is to disregard the off day and have players go with an extra day of rest. That will look like this:
4/27 vs. Tigers: Hughes
4/28 vs. Tigers: Sabathia
4/29 vs. Tigers: Kuroda
4/30 vs. Orioles: Nova
The other option is to disregard Phil Hughes’ 4/27 turn in the rotation and keep CC Sabathia on normal rest. That would look like this:
4/27 vs. Tigers: Sabathia
4/28 vs. Tigers: Kuroda
4/29 vs. Tigers: Nova
4/30 vs. Orioles: Pineda
Doing this would mean Hughes pitching on the 1st of May and CC on the second, on his normal turn to restart the rotation.
Both possibilities have their advantages. The first one allows starters to get an extra day of rest and allow them to ease into the new season. The second one allows the Yankees to get their (nominal) three best starters to pitch against a good team. I could live with either one, but more of me is inclined to go with the latter because, hey, more CC starts. And, frankly, I don’t know if I can stand to watch Phil Hughes give up more homers to Miguel Cabrera.
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TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees