Another good start by A.J. further alleviates concern

A reshuffled rotation to give CC rest
Replacing Jerry Hairston

After Andy Pettitte finished the sixth inning on Monday, there was a sense of relief. He was going on nine days’ rest in an attempt to rest his fatigued shoulder, something that concerned anyone with a stake in the Yankees’ chances. Andy passed his test, and will have two more tune-up starts before the playoffs. Next up on the checklist: A.J. Burnett. After a few rough starts in the past two months he’s looked good in his last couple of starts, helping ease concern.

As with Pettitte’s start, A.J.’s latest start wasn’t his best. He didn’t make it out of the sixth, allowing 10 baserunners along the way. But he worked out of trouble most of the time, using a sharp curveball to keep the Angels hitters off-balance. Burnett ended the day with 11 strikeouts, a sign that he had his best stuff. He also threw about 65 percent strikes, a good sign for his control, though the three walks don’t help that case. Of the Angels’ seven hits, only two were for extra bases.

We’ve seen Burnett at his best this season. He’s had stretches — well, one notable stretch — of absolute dominance. Unfortunately, he’s also had skids where it seems a team of David Ecksteins can rock him. He had a few of the latter at the end of August and into September, but over his past two starts A.J. has been much better. Jose Molina thinks it’s his last four starts, noting that one bad pitch, the grand slam to Brian Roberts, tainted Burnett’s start against the Orioles. In any case, his recent outings help the Yankees brass sleep a bit easier over the season’s final week and a half.

This doesn’t completely erase the concern. If we’ve learned anything from Burnett this season, anything can happen in any given start. Bad A.J. might show up and give up seven runs over four innings. Good A.J. might show up and dominate through seven. Or we might get that happy medium, the six-inning, three-run A.J. that walks a few too many guys but limits the damage. What alleviates the concern is that A.J. isn’t going into the postseason riding a losing streak.

It’s hard to believe, but Burnett has just one more start in the 2009 season, the middle game of the Kansas City series. The Yanks might juggle, starting Burnett on the season’s final day so he doesn’t have a huge gap between his final one and his first playoff start. If A.J. looks anything like he did yesterday or last Friday, it will go a long way in boosting confidence in the team heading to the playoffs.

Next up on the checklist: Joba Chamberlain. The team’s fourth starter draws the Red Sox on Friday and then the Royals on the 30th before packing it in for the regular season. How he looks in those two starts could determine whether the Yankees take the long or the short ALDS, though it seems they’re preparing for the long series. Joba would not pitch until the ALCS, meaning he’d pitch a maximum two games in the playoffs. That eases concern right off the bat, no?

A reshuffled rotation to give CC rest
Replacing Jerry Hairston
  • pete c.

    That bastion of baseball intelligence the Hartford courant stated last sunday that since “Burnett is built for the post season” Yankee fans should stop obssesing about his performance in the regular season. I guess that makes him the Billy Smith of baseball. Who’s Billy Smith?

    • pat

      Islanders dynasty goalie.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Who’s Billy Smith? (safe)

      • Matt ACTY/BBD


        I see what you did there.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIN West Philadelphia, born and raised,
          On the playground is where I spent most of my days…

          • pete c.

            Close but no cigar TSJC, pat nailed it. Billy Smith was a Bigtime money player, the Islanders rode Chico Resch through the season because Smith couldn’t make a save if his life depended on it. But once the playoffs started nothing got by him, hence the comparison. Power to the people baby.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              What the f#$% is hockey?

              • PinstripesForeverDougie

                Hockey is a great winter time sport enjoyed by patrons around the world for over a 100 years. It is the national pastime of Canada and is probably the best sport to be witnessed live and in person.



                P.S. I’m sorry if you were joking TSJC, but please never mock Hockey. It’s got enough real detractors, already.

                • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


                  Huh? Wha?

                  Sorry, I didn’t hear what you said, I just dozed off watching some crap called “hockey”. What were we talking about?

              • Pete C.

                All do respect; the Rangahs on a blog talking about Billy Smith.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Any love for the proposal I set forth in the CC/Reshuffled rotation thread?

    Oct. 2 @ TB Sabathia for 3 IP and Kennedy for 3 IP
    Oct. 3 @ TB Pettitte for 3 IP and Gaudin for 3 IP
    Oct. 4 @ TB Burnett for 3 IP and Joba for 3 IP

    Everyone gets some necessary final tuneups for the ALDS but nobody gets gassed or taxed…

    Thumbs up or thumbs down?

    • Mike Axisa

      I think that works. Although should Joba have the audacity to pitch well in relief of Burnett, the B-Jobber will be back in full force.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        We’ll have to remind everyone that Kennedy, Gaudin, and Joba are not relief pitchers, they’re just second starters. We’re scheduling two co-starters each day, spring-training style.

      • Matt ACTY/BBD
        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I’ll go ahead and move the Terriost Threat Level Advisory up to Orange.

          • Tom Zig

            They’re winning again, aren’t they

    • sam

      CC would go 5IP to get his 20th win

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Dumb (not you, the idea), but probably correct. (Matt ACTY/BBD agrees with you. )

        Personally speaking, getting CC ready for the playoffs >>>>>>>>>>>>>> getting CC an arbitrary number of wins. Then again, I’m not CC and I’m not the one who will need that arbitrary number to build a case for the HoF eventually, so, whatevs, sure.

        Oct. 2 @ TB Sabathia for 5 IP and Kennedy for 2 IP
        Oct. 3 @ TB Pettitte for 3 IP and Gaudin for 3 IP
        Oct. 4 @ TB Burnett for 3 IP and Joba for 3 IP

        • Matt ACTY/BBD

          Matt ACTY/BBD agrees with you.

          Which means he’s instantly correct.

        • Nady Nation

          Going back to your comment in the last thread – you go Andy over AJ in game 2? Just curious, since their home/road splits are somewhat drastic.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Meh, even that can still be SSS issues. I go with whomever is on a better rest schedule. I don’t want either of them throwing with excess rust or on short rest.

            I don’t think it really matters, though, it’s a tossup. Some home-road splits from just one season in YS3 doesn’t make me drastically alter my plans. They’re both equally good starting pitchers at the moment when you look at the totality of their body of work, so it’s a tossup.

            Put it this way: Sure, the splits would make you want to start AJ at home and Andy on the road, but if I’m Joe Girardi, I’m not going to break my neck to make it happen that way. I still have confidence in AJ pitching on the road and Andy pitching at home.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              I’ll co-sign on all of this. I’ve mentioned a few times around here that I prefer AJ in game 2 and Andy in game 3 due to the home/road splits, but I’m more concerned that they start on their normal rest. To me, you cut down on as many variables as you can so that they’re all starting in comfortable, routine situations. If all things are equal, I prefer AJ in game 2 and Andy on the road in game 3. If all things are not equal, I throw the home/road concerns out the window.

  • Will

    The schedule of the ALCS is such that the Yankees can once again go with three pitchers if they are willing to have CC go on three days rest for one start. At this point, I would put Joba in the pen for the post season and plan on riding the top-3 through October.

    • Accent Shallow

      I don’t think I’d like to see Sabathia on short rest outside of an elimination game. I think of that as a “break glass in case of emergency” option. It’s there, but it’s not necessary under normal circumstances.

      • Matt ACTY/BBD


        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Sabathia isn’t scheduled to throw on short rest until the ALCS at the absolute earliest, if ever.

          Sept. 26 vs. Bos Sabathia (5 days of rest between starts)
          Oct. 2 vs. TB Sabathia (5 days between starts)
          Oct. 7 ALDS (A) 1 Sabathia (4 days between starts)
          Oct. 8 Off Day
          Oct. 9 LDS 2 Pettitte/Burnett
          Oct. 10 Off Day
          Oct. 11 ALDS 3 Burnett/Pettitte
          Oct. 12 ALDS 4 Sabathia (4 days between starts)
          Oct. 13 Off Day
          Oct. 14 ALDS 5 Pettitte/Burnett

          Besides, it’s moot. We’re sweeping the LDS.

          • Joba Powers (all I needs is a jheri curl mullet)

            We’re sweeping the LDS.

            My fan confidence goes to 11.

          • croma01

            Girardi has options going into the ALDS. He could theoretically start Burnett Game 1, CC Game 2, Pettite Game 3, and bring Burnett back for Game 4. That either saves CC for a possible Game 5 or saves him to be the Game 1 starter in the ALCS.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Girardi has options going into the ALDS.

              He does.

              He could theoretically start Burnett Game 1, CC Game 2, Pettite Game 3, and bring Burnett back for Game 4. That either saves CC for a possible Game 5 or saves him to be the Game 1 starter in the ALCS.

              That’s not one of them. That idea is not a smart idea.

  • jsbrendog

    step 1: sweep lds

    step 2: sweep alcs

    step 3: sweep ws

    step 4: profit.

    • Tampa Yankee

      step 5: steaks and blowjobs?

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


  • AndrewYF

    Say the Yankees win Game 5 of the ALDS. That means Sabathia started Game 4, and Burnett Game 5. Sabathia wouldn’t be able to start Game 1 of the ALCS on normal rest. Do you start Sabathia on 3-days rest, or Pettitte on 4-days rest, and have Sabathia start Game 2 on normal rest? I’m guessing that’s what would happen. Then you get Burnett for Game 3 on 4-days rest, and then you have to start Joba/Gaudin. Then Pettitte, Sabathia, Burnett on normal rest.

    I’m intrigued by the possibility of starting Sabathia three times in the ALCS, if the Yankees do sweep the ALDS. Sure, he’d be pitching on 3-days rest for Game 4, but then you have him on normal rest for a possible Game 7. That’s much more appealing to me than having Pettitte take the hill for a Game 7.

    • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

      Pettitte for game 1 of ALCS in that scenario

      Short rest is a bad idea in almost every situation – its only slightly less bad with CC.

      I’d take CC on 3 days rest over Joba or Gaudin in an elimination game but not over AJ or Pettitte.

      Remember that the aim is to win the WS and every start on 3 days could have a negative effect on the rest of the starts. Furthermore CC is signed up for 6 more years at $140m, I doubt the Yankees will start him very often on short rest. He should really only see 120 pitch games in teh post season and we should try to keep him contained to 230 innings a year

  • mryankee

    Loss of Hairston is no big deal he was a marginal contributor at best. I am really hoping Joba has a good showing tomorrow night, great opportunity for him. Pitching against the Sox and Lester is a challenege he should rise to if he is going to an ace type pitcher. I am also glad to see Girardi press Joba a bit maybe that will wake him up. As Bill walsh said “this is the pros and we dont have to keep you”

  • Bob Michaels

    Joba flat out Stinks, no effort at all, looks like a batting practice pitcher. Should return to the little league for further seasoning along with the Geniuses who proposed the JOBA RULES.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      LOUD NOISES!!!!!!!!

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