Playoff rotation comes into view


As the Yanks prepare for a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays to close out the season, the playoffs are looming large in the minds of the Bombers and their fans. With the pitching match-ups set for this weekend, we know a firm sense of the Yanks’ plans and can debate the merits of the Andy-and-A.J. decision.

Earlier this week, the Yankees announced that CC Sabathia would start on Friday night in search of his 20th win. Most of the Yanks’ A team will back him up. On Saturday, Andy Pettitte will take the ball in a final regular-season tune-up, and on Sunday, A.J. Burnett and the ALDS Game 1 lineup will earn themselves at least a few innings of time on the field. And so, as I’ve done once a week or so for the last few weeks, we extrapolate.

It’s safe to assume that the Yankees are going to take the longer ALDS series to avoid the Joba/Chad Gaudin decision that looms not as large as we might think (but more on that when and if the time comes). The pitching rotation, then, looks a little something like this:

Date Game Pitcher
Oct. 2 vs. TB Sabathia
Oct. 3 vs. TB Pettitte
Oct. 4 vs. TB Burnett
Oct. 5 Off Day  
Oct. 6 Off Day  
Oct. 7 ALDS 1 Sabathia
Oct. 8 Off Day  
Oct. 9 LDS 2 Pettitte
Oct. 10 Off Day  
Oct. 11 ALDS 3 Burnett
Oct. 12 ALDS 4* Sabathia
Oct. 13 Off Day  
Oct. 14 ALDS 5* Pettitte

We know that Chip Caray and Ron Darling will be manning the broadcast booth for the Yankees vs. Tigers/Twins. Now we have a pretty good idea who will be pitching.

On Wednesday, Joe tackled the Andy-and-A.J. debate and came to the conclusion I would have drawn. “I like A.J. as much as the next guy, he wrote, “but with the season on the line, I’d rather have Pettitte on the mound.”

Personally, we’d all rather have CC Sabathia on the mound in the a do-or-die Game 5, but Game 4 could be just as important. Either the Yanks will try to close the door on the Tigers or Twins or the Bombers will have to win Game 4 to force Game 5. CC fights the bill for that match-up.

There is an interesting twist to the post-season pitching previews as well that I didn’t include in the chart. Right now, the Tigers hold a two-game lead over the Twins. In an ideal world, these two teams will tie so that they have to play a game on Tuesday. In an also-ideal world, the Twins will be a game behind the Tigers come Sunday. That day, you see, is Justin Verlander’s next start. If the Tigers face a must-win situation, they will start Verlander on Sunday, and he won’t be available to pitch on regular rest until Game 2. Although that would line him up to pitch Game 5, I’d take my chances with the rest of the Tigers’ rotation.

If the Tigers win a pair this weekend or if the Twins drop two to the Royals, the point will be moot. Verlander can rest until Game 1, and we’d have ourselves a good old fashioned pitcher’s battle to start the playoffs. I’m ready. Are you?

Categories : Playoffs


  1. Accent Shallow says:

    I’m still not entirely thrilled with choosing the longer series, but Joba seems to have made it not a choice at all with how poorly he’s pitched as of late. While I like Gaudin, I certainly don’t trust him enough to see him starting a playoff game (unless the Yankees are up 3-0 in the ALCS or World Series).

    I am a big fan of Andy, but I think I’d rather see Burnett twice in the ALDS, if necessary. Power pitching tends to win out in the playoffs, and Andy is very hittable.

    • Jersey says:

      But Andy’s been pretty steady, and even when he’s hittable he can control the damage. Burnett, on the other hand, has the occasional meltdown, and you know he’ll be wound up given it’s his first postseason start. He probably doesn’t want AJ pitching in a critical spot in his first-ever playoff series, power pitcher or no.

      • Jersey says:

        Should be “Joe probably doesn’t want..”

      • Accent Shallow says:

        Sure, they could both blow up, but does 6 IP 5 runs get more palatable if those runs are all in the second inning (what Burnett might do), or spread out across four separate innings (Pettitte). While we’d like to avoid a repeat of 2007 ALDS game 1 (where they hit Sabathia, but Wang’s implosion made that moot), I’m not entirely convinced that AJ is that much more likely to crap the bed than Andy is.

        • Jersey says:

          Well, I think the X factor is whether AJ keeps himself in check, or if he’s over throwing and wild from nerves/emotion/energy. And who’s to say til he’s out there, but the thought scares me.

  2. crawdaddie says:

    Girardi will switch Burnett and Pettite so that AJ goes twice.

  3. Right now, the Tigers hold a two-game lead over the Twins. In an ideal world, these two teams will tie so that they have to play a game on Monday.

    Remember, thanks to FavreBowl I at the Metrodome on MNF, that potential one-game playoff would be on Tuesday, not Monday.

    WHAT IF THERE’S A TIE IN THE AL CENTRAL? A one-game playoff would be played in Minnesota because the Twins went 11-7 against the Tigers.

    With Detroit leading by two games, a tie would be possible if the Twins sweep their three-game series against the Royals and Detroit loses two of three to the White Sox, or if the Twins win two of three and the Tigers are swept.

    A tiebreaker game would likely be played on Tuesday because of the NFL’s scheduled Monday Night Football game between the Packers and Vikings at the Metrodome.


    • Way ahead of you. It’s already been corrected. Someone took the time to email us instead of calling us out publicly on an error. :)

    • Accent Shallow says:

      While this pisses me off as a baseball fan (potential playoff being displaced for MNF), I like it as a Yankee fan, since the winner gets no rest prior to facing the Yankees.

      I like to think that the NFL would move the game if it were, say, Bears at Vikings, but of course, we can’t displace Favre.

      /all academic unless the Twins force a playoff, of course

      • I like to think that the NFL would move the game if it were, say, Bears at Vikings, but of course, we can’t displace Favre.

        Probably true. The NFL specifically schedules the MNF game the day after the season to be a divisional game, so they can flip-flop the teams home and away dates if they ever needed to free up a stadium for a previously unscheduled baseball game (i.e., this EXACT scenario), but it’s not automatically flipped, it’s only done so at the NFL’s discretion. And they don’t want to harsh the buzz of the Minnesota crazies who have been geeked up for this game since the moment Favre arrived.

        Now, it probably makes more sense from a casual fan standpoint to have the MNF game be a game IN Green Bay, because Favre playing the Pack AT LAMBEAU is a bigger ratings bonanza, but it’s always better to have the Monday night TV sked to yourself instead of sharing it with baseball, so Goodell was wise to force the MLB game to Tuesday night so he has a better captive audience.

        Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read to you the overnight and the share for all these potential TV scenarios and compare them to horse racing and tennis.

        Mike and the Mad Dog

  4. Chip Caray sucks.

    Anyway, I’ll be missing the first part of game 1 because I have work til 8 on Wed. night. Me = angry.

    • Jersey says:

      Could always be worse: you could have class from 7-10p.

    • I, for one, am glad the Yanks are going to pick the A series. Otherwise, I’d miss Game 1 due to the Springsteen concert on Thursday.

      • CountryClub says:

        NICE! And you get to hear the Born to Run album as it was meant to be heard. Wait until they do Meeting Across the River into Jungleland.

        • Yup. No offense to “Darkness” fans seeing that album (tonight I think), but Born to Run is far superior.

          • CountryClub says:

            I can’t argue with your opinion; I’m a huge fan of both albums. Born is obviously more optimistic in tone. But I dig dark Bruce too.

            • The other thing about Darkness is that many of the hits — Badlands, The Promised Land, Prove It All Night — are in semi-regular rotation on his live shows. It’s far more rare to see Thunder Road, Tenth Ave. Freeze Out and the lesser-played parts of Born to Run than it is to hear parts of Darkness.

              • Rick in Boston says:

                I’ve managed to not hear Thunder Road on three different tours, but have been ‘lucky’ to hear Dancing in the Dark on all three.

                It’s like going to the Yanks and not seeing Jeter but getting Angel Berroa instead.

                • CountryClub says:

                  Yeah, Dancing in the Dark is rough. But the majority of the crowd gets into it. Like you, I went a bunch of shows without hearing Thunder Road. But he played it when he was at the Spectrum a few months ago.

              • CountryClub says:

                Ben, I think you’re right about the hits. However, it’s the lesser known songs from Darkenss that he never plays that I would love to see. I’ve seen him play everything off of Born to Run at one time or another. But I’ve never seen Racing in the Street or Factory or Something in the Night or Streets of Fire.

                Anyway, I’m hoping he does something similar when he plays his 4 shows at The Spectrum in 2 weeks. This is probably the last tour with the E Street Band for a while, so i want to catch them at least one more time.

          • Is he doing The River at all? That’s my favorite Bruce album.

            • Nope. Two nights of Born to Run; two nights of Born in the USA; one night of Darkness.

              • Rick in Boston says:

                Ugh…two nights of USA? I’d rather him do one night of River instead.

                That said, seeing Jungleland live is probably at or near the top of my all time favorite concert moments.

                • No love for The Wild, The Innocent and The E-Street Shuffle or Greetings from Asbury Park? I’d love to see those live.

                • Rick in Boston says:

                  I’m torn about those live. There are some obvious highlights (Kitty’s Back, E Street Shuffle, Rosy), but I think the lyrical content of a lot of the songs doesn’t make for great crowd interactions. Would I love to see him do The Angel or Lost in the Flood again? Sure. But I’d rather him do those in one of the half-arena setups he had during his last solo acoustic tour.

                • CountryClub says:

                  Lost in the Flood is a great song live. But I get your point.

                • LosingOurHeads says:

                  My favorite Springsteen album is the Wild The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. Followed by The River. Chances are that two-nighter will never happen.

    • AndrewYF says:

      I’m pretty sure the game will be starting at 8, or later.

  5. I’m still thinking that Burnett goes Game 2 on regular rest.

    • Accent Shallow says:

      I’d prefer to see this. Plus, gets Andy some extra rest, which can’t hurt, due to the creaky shoulder.

      (I can’t recall hearing anything about his elbow this year. That has to be good news, right?)

      • Yep. Pettitte would get 7 days off. He’s proven that he can handle long rests. A.J. has been in a rhythm lately, and you might as well let him continue going on the standard four days’ rest.

      • Ed says:

        I don’t remember Andy saying anything about his elbow since the year after his surgery in Houston. And that’s was more of a “I wasn’t 100% recovered this year” statement than a complaint.

    • Mr.Jigginz says:

      Joe,I totally agree with you…I think they’re going to give Andy the extra rest and pitch him in the third game because of his little issue with the shoulder at the end of the year.

    • Count Zero says:

      I like this rotation as well — maybe for different reasons.

      The way I see it, Game 3 is (a) often pivotal and (b) on the road. I prefer Andy’s vast postseason experience in both those scenarios.

      I hope it’s a moot point because we’re up 2-0 — just sayin’.

  6. Let’s extrapolate this shizz.

    Oct. 2 Sabathia || Edwin Jackson
    Oct. 3 Pettitte || Alfredo Figaro (no, seriously)
    Oct. 4 Burnett || Justin Verlander probably Rick Porcello
    Oct. 5 Off Day
    Oct. 6 Off Day
    Oct. 7 ALDS 1 Sabathia || Verlander
    Oct. 8 Off Day
    Oct. 9 LDS 2 Pettitte || Jackson
    Oct. 10 Off Day
    Oct. 11 ALDS 3 Burnett || Porcello
    Oct. 12 ALDS 4* Sabathia || Verlander
    Oct. 13 Off Day
    Oct. 14 ALDS 5* Pettitte || Jackson

    Oct. 2 Sabathia || Edwin Jackson
    Oct. 3 Pettitte || Alfredo Figaro
    Oct. 4 Burnett || Justin Verlander
    Oct. 5 Off Day
    Oct. 6 Off Day
    Oct. 7 ALDS 1 Sabathia || Jackson
    Oct. 8 Off Day
    Oct. 9 LDS 2 Pettitte || Verlander
    Oct. 10 Off Day
    Oct. 11 ALDS 3 Burnett || Porcello
    Oct. 12 ALDS 4* Sabathia || Jackson
    Oct. 13 Off Day
    Oct. 14 ALDS 5* Pettitte || Verlander

    Oct. 2 Sabathia || Edwin Jackson
    Oct. 3 Pettitte || Alfredo Figaro
    Oct. 4 Burnett || Justin Verlander
    Oct. 5 Off Day
    Oct. 6 Off Day || Rick Porcello
    Oct. 7 ALDS 1 Sabathia || Jackson
    Oct. 8 Off Day
    Oct. 9 LDS 2 Pettitte || Verlander
    Oct. 10 Off Day
    Oct. 11 ALDS 3 Burnett || Porcello
    Oct. 12 ALDS 4* Sabathia || Jackson
    Oct. 13 Off Day
    Oct. 14 ALDS 5* Pettitte || Verlander

    Oct. 2 Sabathia || Jeff Manship
    Oct. 3 Pettitte || Nick Blackburn
    Oct. 4 Burnett || Jeff Duensing
    Oct. 5 Off Day
    Oct. 6 Off Day || Scott Baker
    Oct. 7 ALDS 1 Sabathia || Carl Pavano
    Oct. 8 Off Day
    Oct. 9 LDS 2 Pettitte || Blackburn
    Oct. 10 Off Day
    Oct. 11 ALDS 3 Burnett || Duensing
    Oct. 12 ALDS 4* Sabathia || Baker
    Oct. 13 Off Day
    Oct. 14 ALDS 5* Pettitte || Pavano

    (I think the Twins would roll with 4 pitchers even in the A series, because there’s not much difference between their guys and it gives them a different look.)

  7. CT Yankee says:

    I Think Burnett Goes game 2


    and Andy goes game 3


    The splits are too profound to ignore

  8. ADam says:

    As for the Broadcast Schedule… I really like that its Caray and Darling… I can’t and I wont listen to Joe Buck/Tim McCarver Rip the Yankees up and Down… for joba rules/payroll/New Yankee Stadium Homeruns… and Praise the Red Sox and or Angels as the class of MLB… That’s assuming we get that far…( Ill have the game on mute and listen on the radio)

    …. Anyway.. I’m looking forward to Chip and Ron call the games… Chip Caray actually gives the yankees a little credit for thier farm teams/player development imagine that…… As Joe Buck will only mention Tex’s Salary 457 times throughout the series… So for my money and My time… I’ll take Chip Caray over Joe Buck….

  9. currambayankees says:

    I’ve been ready for the playoffs for a while now. Can we just skipt the next three games and go straight to the Post Season? I am sick tired of waiting, it’s technically been 2 calendar years since our last playoff game.

  10. currambayankees says:

    Well almost 2 calendar yrs.

  11. hal says:

    Anybody think that by picking the longer series the Yanks could potentially eliminate the “7th inning” guy and use Hughes/Mo over 3 innings to seal the deal. Those extra days could lend itself to that scenario in G1 & G2.

  12. Paul O'neill says:

    i would take the short series. our offense is better than the tigers. i want to see verlander as least as possible

  13. TheZack says:

    God I hate that long schedule. Two freaking days off after the first two games! That is going to feel like a lifetime. And then ANOTHER day off. ARRGGH! I just hope the Yanks are up two after those first two games…

  14. mryankee says:

    The only problem with AJ being the number 3 starter. if the Sox face the Yanks he will go game 3 in Boston, where he has sucked. If he goes game 2 in NY he will go game 6 in NY.

    • If we get there, the Yanks will have days off to reset the rotation. We’ll worry about that when/if the time comes.

      • mryankee says:

        Now that we can see the Tigers are the likely opponent-besides Verlander and I have been a big fan of his. I think in that series AJ would be better pitching game three. Most likely he will face Porcello or Robertson. The question then is how does Pettite matchup against Jackson.

        • Rick in Boston says:

          How the pitchers match up to each other isn’t the issue, it’s how well the hitters do. And the Yankees do well against all Tigers pitchers.

          You’re a big fan of Verlander? I couldn’t tell.

          • mryankee says:

            Yeah I know the funny thing about that was way beack when in the beginning of the season I asked if anyonecould throw 97-100 throughout a game. I was told no way no pitcher can do that-well I guess he is the only one who can? Having said that CC will match up well against him.

  15. Bo says:

    Still think girardi will go Burnett and the upside in game 2.

  16. LosingOurHeads says:

    So Detroit’s strategy will be to not set Verlander against ZZ?

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