Sep
14

Setting up the playoff rotation

By

With the Rangers’ loss to the Mariners last night, the Yanks’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot dropped to nine and their Magic Percentage hit 23.7. No longer are we worried that the Yanks won’t make the playoffs.

To that end, the Yankees can begin to set their postseason rotation. While their top three pitchers all have the ability to throw gems, the Yankees have to ensure that their pitchers are both ready for the postseason and well-rested for the postseason. We’ve seen A.J. Burnett struggle lately, and while Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia are rolling, keeping these two horses fresh and feeling good are of utmost importance right now.

If we take a look at the Yanks’ final 18 games and the way the pitching rotation shapes down, it appears as though the Yanks won’t have to juggle the starts. Take a look:

Date Game Pitcher
Sept. 11 vs. Bal Pettitte
Sept. 12 vs. Bal Burnett
Sept. 13 vs. Bal Sabathia
Sept. 14 vs. LAA Chamberlain
Sept. 15 vs. Tor Gaudin
Sept. 16 vs. Tor Pettitte
Sept. 17 Off Day  
Sept. 18 @Sea Burnett
Sept. 19 @Sea Sabathia
Sept. 20 @Sea Chamberlain
Sept. 21 @LAA Gaudin
Sept. 22 @LAA Pettitte
Sept. 23 @LAA Burnett
Sept. 24 Off Day  
Sept. 25 vs. Bos Sabathia
Sept. 26 vs. Bos Chamberlain
Sept. 27 vs. Bos Gaudin
Sept. 28 vs. KC Pettitte
Sept. 29 vs. KC Burnett
Sept. 30 vs. KC Sabathia
Oct. 1 Off Day  
Oct. 2 vs. TB Chamberlain
Oct. 3 vs. TB Gaudin
Oct. 4 vs. TB Pettitte
Oct. 5 Off Day  
Oct. 6 Off Day  
Oct. 7 ALDS (A) 1 Sabathia
Oct. 8 ALDS (B) 1 Sabathia
Oct. 9 LDS 2 Pettitte/Burnett
Oct. 10 Off Day  
Oct. 11 ALDS 3 Burnett/Pettitte

What jumps out at me is the number of off-days the Yanks have until the playoffs begin. This is, in reality, one of their hidden advantages right now. While the Yankees have 18 games left until the ALDS, the Red Sox, Angels and Tigers all have 20 each to play. A well-rested pitching staff can be a big weapon in the postseason, and by taking advantage of the days off and a comfortable lead, the Yanks stand to have just that.

So if the Yankees keep their pitchers on the current rotation, the team doesn’t have to change a thing to line everyone up for the postseason. Should we be worried, though, about pitchers getting too much rest? While last year, CC Sabathia threw three straight starts, including his NLDS Game 1 start, on three days of rest, this year, CC could be starting game 1 on six or even seven day’s rest. If Pettitte gets the Game 2 ball, he’ll have a full four days and Burnett will have 11 days off. If Burnett gets the Game 2 ball, he’ll have eight days off and Pettitte six.

The Yankees will probably want to go with Pettitte in Game 2 if the game is at Yankee Stadium because lefties enjoy a bit of advantage at the new park as they did the old. With that in mind, the team could juggle the rotation later in the season. Sergio Mitre or even Alfredo Aceves could take a spot start to make sure Burnett and Sabathia aren’t throwing in the playoffs after an extended layoff.

I, though, would rather see the team gives these guys some rest. With three starts left, Sabathia won’t approach his 250 innings he threw last year, but he should reach 230 IP. Burnett will probably top 200 innings for the second year in a row, and it will be the first time in his career he has reached the double century mark in back-to-back season. Rest at the end of the year can only help them.

Of course, if these are the Yanks’ most pressing concerns, they’re in good shape for the stretch drive. They will live and die by their pitching in October, and keeping everyone feeling good now will pay off next month.

Categories : Playoffs
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    I love it.

  • A.D.

    Excellent seeing things fall into place.

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

    When Jobbers bad is he AJ Burnett bad? Depending on how the next couple starts go I will be inclined to go

    CC
    Pettitte
    Joba
    AJ

    For the playoff rotation.

    • AndrewYF

      AJ as the fourth starter? Stop.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        WHY THE FUCK IS MY BURRITO TAKING THIS LONG TO COOK IN THIS MICROWAVE?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!

        • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

          Wtf does this even mean? Seriously? It would be better if you said oven or something.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            my joke

            ——-

            your head

            • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

              Usually with a microwave you set the time so why would anyone scream at the microwave that its taking too long?

              Its not a joke its a bad attempt a new meme

              • Chris

                It’s an old meme… I think it started during the Santana trade discussions

              • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                It’s like you get the joke and don’t get the joke at the same time, and you don’t get that you kinda get the joke. It’s really quite interesting and awesome.

                (And you’re just new to the meme, that meme is much older in RAB-years than you are.)

                • Mattingly’s Love Child

                  Where did this meme come from? I’ve obviously seen it here since I start showing up last winter, and I have what I think it means, but where the hell did it come from?

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  I don’t know when he originally said it, but maybe TSJC does. It’s funny for someone to accuse him of trying to start a new meme with that one, it’s probably one of the most popular/enduring memes around here.

                • Mattingly’s Love Child

                  Well I remember when I 1st started hanging around these parts, I was like WTF. But the memes definitely make this blog much more fun than most that I look at.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  It came merely from the inner workings of my twisted and addled brain. It references no work of art, television, or cinema. Just my own pointed non-sequitur.

                  I have had numerous non-baseball and non-RAB related discussions with people, lamenting the current microwave culture of American life. We often want all our problems solved immediately and want to be entertained endlessly; soon is not soon enough. As it relates to RAB, it’s just me lampooning the habit of Yankee fans demanding instant and total perfection, especially with young players. I began using it in reference to the prospect watching where, if, for example, Joba and Phil aren’t Cy Young contenders from the moment they throw their first ML pitch, or Brackman struggles to get his command while relearning how to pitch, something is somehow horribly and fatally wrong.

                  Things take time, and yet there are people (and not just young people; see below) impatient with even the most rapid progression of events, such as the interminably, insufferably long wait necessary to microwave a burrito for 2 minutes at a 7-11.

                  A mildly-humorous side-story: Several years ago I was at a conference of college students at a high-rise hotel in Chicago. When the sessions let out at 5 pm, invariably the thousands of collegians would then mob the elevator lobbies, waiting to get up to their rooms to change to go out and hit the city, causing a huge backup. One night, we’re sitting there in that elevator lobby when an older couple (in their 50’s) is waiting with us, and the gentleman is obviously annoyed that he’s being forced to wait several minutes for the backlog to clear at the elevators. He loudly says, “What the F#$% is taking so long!?!” A moment passes, and I deadpan to my buddy, loud enough for the whole area to hear, “You know, in Russia, people wait in line for bread… for DAYS.” Everyone starts snickering at him under our breath. Saw that guy two or three more times during the weekend, and he always got red in the face.

                  So, it short, I’m an asshole.

                • Mattingly’s Love Child

                  So, it short, I’m an asshole.

                  IETC because I’m also an admitted asshole. Probably part of the reason I enjoy this blog so much.

                  But thank you for the background/story/etc.

                  That was my own thought, everyone wants something, and they want it 10 minutes ago. Glad I haven’t been completely off-base.

                • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                  You figured out the burrito meme. Congrats, you’re a fucking genius.

                  (Also an asshole.)

                • Mattingly’s Love Child

                  :)

      • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

        When AJ has a bad game hes downright terrible. He taken his team out of the game offensively a good number of times throughout the season. Imagine in the playoffs he has one of his bad games and the Yanks are down 6-0 in the second. Jobas has had a lot of bad outings but AJ has alot of horrible games.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      Unless A.J. turns 2006 Josh Towers bad, he should be no lower than the third starter.

      • Chris

        Eh… he’s got a point. Joba has allowed more than 5 runs in 2 games this year. AJ has allowed more than 5 runs in 5 games. This isn’t a matter of AJ pitching deeper in games either – his longest outing of more than 5 runs was 5.1 innings. AJ has also allowed 5 runs 3 times to Joba’s 2.

        Maybe Girardi will have a quicker hook in the post season, but as they’ve been used in the regular season Joba is more likely to keep us in the game than AJ.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    4 more starts for Joba. He’s currently at roughly 3 IP/60 pitches now…

    Sept. 14 vs. LAA – 4/5 IP, 80 pitches
    Sept. 20 @Sea – 4/6 IP, 100 pitches
    Sept. 26 vs. Bos – no cap, just refine and prep
    Oct. 2 vs. TB – no cap, just refine and prep

    Too aggressive? Sound right? I’d like to give Joba the two home starts against two AL East opponents to let it all hang out and just go be a normal starter without worrying about anything, just prove your worthiness for the Game 4 start that will never happen since we’re sweeping the Tigers (or Rangers) in 3.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I like this.

    • the artist formerly known as (sic)

      sheesh, he’s getting close to the innings limit. at 139.1 right now.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        So, 4 more starts, at let’s say 4 IP, 5 IP, 6 IP, 7 IP… That’s 22 more innings.

        That takes him to 161.1 for the regular season. 170-175 including the playoffs, maybe.

        More than I’d like, but we’re locked into our present course of action at this point.

        All the more reason to sweep all three postseason series: So that Joba only pitches the clinching Game 4’s of the ALCS and WS, and has only 12 postseason IP and no more.

    • Makavelli

      Do you think all of this flipping and flopping is going to effect Joba for the playoffs?

      Joba was fine when he was on regular rest and he’ll presumably be “let loose” in the playoffs during his starts…but do you think the regular rest with decent pitch count to sporadic rest with somewhat limited pitch count to only 3 innings and 60 pitches is going to ultimately effect his ability to feel comfortable out there?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        No way of knowing yet.

        Sincerely,
        Theoretical Joe Morgan

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        Do you think all of this flipping and flopping is going to effect Joba for the playoffs?

        There hasn’t been any flipping and flopping. He made one start on extended rest, and since then, the Yanks have been pretty clear about their plans for him. “Flipping and flopping” is a media-driven narrative than has no basis in Yankee reality.

        • Makavelli

          Regardless of what it was…or is…he’s been coincidentally BAD since that extended break…

          • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

            He was bad before the extended break.

            In the three starts prior to a nine-day layoff, Joba threw 16 innings with a 6.75 ERA. He allowed 18 hits and 12 walks while striking out just 12. The layoff did not “make” him bad.

            • Makavelli

              Ok. Well he’s bad regardless then I guess…how do you get him to be “good” then?

              • Chris

                Give him extra rest.

                (It worked at the all-star break)

      • Ed

        Joba was fine when he was on regular rest

        No he wasn’t. He’s made 12 starts since the beginning of July. He had 3 dominate ones in a row right after the All Star Break. The other 9 were bad.

        Even with the 3 good starts included, he’s got a 5.22 ERA from July 5th onward.

    • Makavelli

      My previous post wasn’t necessarily in response to you’re post…but a question as to if your post DIDN’T happen…what do you think about Joba…

    • Makavelli

      But I love those “No Cap. Just refine and prep” starts before the playoffs. I think that is going to be key for his potential playoff starts. Only I think not playing in the ALDS and having all that rest until his first start of the post season might hurt him…

  • alex gonzalez

    i am all for any of those rotation setups. as long as i never have to see mitre start another game this year.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Oh yeah? And if Mitre gets a spot start to give someone that matters a rest, what are you going to do? Stop rooting for the Yanks?

      I’d rather see Mitre start than have the Yanks work A.J., CC or Andy into the ground.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’d rather see Mitre start than have the Yanks work A.J., CC or Andy into the ground.

        That.

        I’ll gladly take another Mitre 3 IP, 8 run stinkbomb if it lets us rest the arms of the guys who will be contributing in October.

        • AndrewYF

          What if a Mitre start is so bad, Damon tires out his legs running after all the extra base hits, and he gets injured?

          • alex gonzalez

            i drag mitre through the streets behind my horse and buggy.

            • jsbrendog

              ::golf clap::

            • Chris

              well played.

            • jsbrendog

              i have to say i laughed again reading this even though i knew it was coming

          • Tom Zig

            When Mitre is really bad, the ball is flying out of the park. Damon won’t be doing much running.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Good point.

            When Mitre starts, let’s give Damon, Jeter, and ARod the day off as well. Play Shelly in LF, Hairston at 3B, and Peña at short.

            If a Mitre start is waiving the white flag, why be half-assed about it? Those 30-something position players could probably use some time off as well.

            /seriousendrunaroundyournon-seriousrejoinder’d

            • Tom Zig

              Why even show up, just forfeit.

              • jsbrendog

                sad thing is that lineup/team would still be competitive against many other teams despite its suckitude on paper

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Here’s why:

                http://www.baseball-reference......8290.shtml

                /JohnSterling’d

                • Tom Zig

                  ICWUDT

                • Tom Zig

                  You guys do know I was being sarcastic right…

        • Whitey14

          Looks like the schedule makers (who are obviously pro Yankees) took care of some of the rest issues for you ;-)

      • alex gonzalez

        well we have a lot of offdays. can’t we just keep them on a regular schedule for if we enter the playoffs. if we are worried about too much work, maybe someone like sabathia can stop at 99 pitches through 6 instead of pitching 120 to go 8. especially aj so he find some consistency before the end of the regular season. i may support though one spot start by mitre if it means the result for the resting pitcher is far greater a benefit then me avoiding watching a painful game.

    • Chris

      i am all for any of those rotation setups. as long as i never have to see mitre start another meaningful game this year.

      There. Fixed.

      I hope we can all agree about this…

      • Kiersten

        So basically he can start any of the remaining 18.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        In world where internet violence rules the day, one man stands alone. He is Chris, and he is…

        http://www.hans-zimmer.com/fr/.....peace2.jpg

  • Makavelli

    Pettitte has a 3.52 ERA on the Road and a 4.69 ERA at Home. While AJ Burnett has a 3.65 ERA at Home and a 5.12 ERA on the Road.

    So it wouldn’t make much sense to pitch Pettitte at Home where he’s much worse…and pitch AJ on the Road…where he’s much worse. Regardless of how bad AJ is right now…why make Pettitte worse too?? And if AJ were to come back to form…wouldn’t he have a better chance at Home where he was seemingly more comfortable all year??

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      That’s a valid point, but see Kiersten’s response. Considering that the Yanks will probably be in Detroit, the road part of the home/road splits won’t matter as much.

      • Makavelli

        I agree. But you would think with how Burnett and Joba have been lately…we’d probably pick the B Format…no?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Remember, our pitchers are only half the equation.

          Whether it’s Detroit or Texas, I want to force them to either throw their fourth starter or bring back their ace on short rest. I still don’t see much reason why we’d pick the A Series.

          • Chris

            They need to get rid of all the rest days in the playoffs so teams need to pitch their 5th starters.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              +1

            • Mattingly’s Love Child

              Nah, I’d rather not see the garbage that is most teams’ 5th starters. Those are generally the sloppy, boring, unentertaining games. Yes, that is where the Yankees can use their wealth to separate themselves from the pack (having a better 5th than some people’s 4th). But baseball (like all sports)is all about the money. If people ain’t entertained, they ain’t gonna watch.

              • Tom Zig

                You mean you wouldn’t be entertained by the Yankees taking batting practice against Paul Byrd?

  • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

    “What jumps out at me are the number of off-days the Yanks have until the playoffs begin.”

    I thought for a split second that Steve Lombardi wrote a guest post for RAB.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      How’s that?

      • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

        He always begins his week summary posts with something along the lines of “What stood out to me the most.”

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          You know what really grinds my gears? You, America. F#$% YOU.

  • Kiersten

    If the Yankees take the B series, Pettitte should be the 3rd starter because Game 3 is more important than Game 2. But if they take the A series, then I would rather see Pettitte than Burnett in Game 5.

    • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

      +46

      My thoughts exactly.

  • Raf

    of course I’d like to see the top of the rotation resting up before the playoffs but hopefully it’s not too much. seems like the wild card teams would have a bit of an advantage due to playing hard through the end of the season compared to a team that takes the final two weeks easy. wouldn’t want to see the Yankees go into the playoffs flat.

  • Tom Zig

    One would have thought that AJ Burnett pitching on extended rest would be a bad idea…the stats say otherwise

    http://www.baseball-reference......038;t=p#dr

    • Chris

      AJ on regular rest: 3.61 ERA, 2.44 K:BB
      AJ on 5 days rest: 4.45 ERA, 1.75 K:BB
      AJ on 6+ days rest: 3.80 ERA, 2.24 K:BB

      It seems that extended rest is bad….

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        It does? Check your own numbers again. As long as A.J. gets more than five days of rest, he’s fine.

        • Chris

          He’s slightly worse on 6+ days rest than on 4 days rest.

          Nothing here is surprising, considering that it’s about equivalent to the overall league performance on longer rest.

          • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

            He’s slightly worse on 6+ days rest than on 4 days rest.

            The difference between a 3.61 ERA and a 3.80 ERA is 2 runs every 100 IP. That’s not much of a significant difference.

            • Makavelli

              Yeah but the ERA is misleading…if you look at all the other numbers with 6+ days rest…they’re actually pretty terrible…

              Up until recently, his ERA with 6+ days rest was actually in the mid 2.00’s.

              • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

                I think the problem is that some people are talking career and others this season. Take a look at this season’s splits. Small sample size warning, but he has generally be better with 5 days of rest or more.

                • Tom Zig

                  Well there was that debacle in Boston when he started on 7 days rest. But then again, it is an even smaller sample size.

            • Chris

              A difference in ERA of 0.2 is also roughly the difference between CC Sabathia and Jarrod Washburn.

              • Tom Zig

                Look at Jarrod Washburn’s ERA in Seattle and then look at it when he came to Detroit.

                Notice that Jarrod Washburn is never mentioned in the Cy Young discussion.

      • Tom Zig

        on 6+ days rest:

        BA: .228
        OBP: .314
        SLG: .348
        OPS: .663

        • Mattingly’s Love Child

          If those are bad, I don’t want to be good!

          • Tom Zig

            Sample size of 31 Games. So about a little under a season’s worth of starts.

            • Mattingly’s Love Child

              So I’d say that’s enough to feel comfortable with AJ after an extended layoff. Of course I’m uncomfortable with AJ with normal rest, so it doesn’t change much for me….

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    The whole point of September baseball is redundancy.

    Redundancy is good. Redundantly good. In other words, it’s good to have redundancy, and we have redundancy here. Which is good.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Yeah yeah yeah. It’s not my most lucid post ever. I know. I spent far more time than I intended on this SAS post, and my musings on the rotation drew the short straw.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Still pimping the SAS blog hard, eh? You pimp that hoe, Kabak. Pimp her good.

        Bishop Benjamin Don Magic Juan Kabak

    • Tom Zig

      nice work.

    • http://opensourcecomedy.net/images/melky_box.jpg Drew the Pretty Pretty Princess

      /Joe Morgan’d

    • Makavelli

      When I drink alone…
      Yeeahhh! I prefer to be redundant!

      Sincerely,
      George Thorogood

  • Charlie

    wow, both my comments are all gone

    • Tom Zig

      maybe had something to do with not being on-topic?

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Off-topic comments get deleted. Please review the commenting guidelines.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        And yet, Kabak kept my reply to the off-topic comment that got deleted… because it was awesome.

        Thanks, my man. You have a keen and discerning eye for talent. You’re like a cross between Brian Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer, with the only difference being the fact that you don’t have an “e” in your last name.

        I think you know what I’m talking about…

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Did I? It probably came after we deleted the others. Don’t worry. We’ll never do it again. :)

          • Makavelli

            Favorites!

            • Tom Zig

              Socialists!

    • Tom Zig

      Now you know…

      And knowing is half the battle.

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