Is the six-man rotation worth keeping?

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CC needs a rest. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Yankees are using a six-man rotation this week more out of necessity than preference, simply because they can’t pull Phil Hughes out of the rotation given the schedule. If they want to do that, they’ll have to wait until next Monday’s off day at the earliest. The White Sox pulled off a six-man rotation for a few weeks earlier in the year, but we usually don’t see big league teams employ them because a) rarely does a club have six quality starters, and b) they don’t want to take starts away from their top arms. Given this current Yankees team though, I think there’s some merit to sticking with a six-man starting staff beyond the next week…

The Upside

The Yankees didn’t make a trade before Sunday’s deadline, so the rotation you see now is (probably) the rotation you’re going to see later in the year. CC Sabathia is a given, but he’s also on pace to throw 250.1 IP through 34 starts. That’s 13 more than he threw last year, 20 more than he threw the year before, and three innings shy of his career high. I’m sure he could throw the 250+ IP with no problem, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. At some point they have to take their foot off the gas and give him extra rest.

Brian Cashman admitted to being in “no man’s land” when it comes to Bartolo Colon, who has already thrown more innings this year than he has in any season since 2005. I don’t worry too much about him physically breaking down (I figure if a 38-year-old breaks down, it probably was inevitable), I worry more about fatigue down the stretch. The Yankees would be in big trouble if Colon shows up in September barely able to crack 90 because he’s running out of gas. Some extra rest over the next two months would help a bit. A.J. Burnett (on pace for ~205 IP) and Freddy Garcia (~185) are fine in terms of innings, no much of a concern there. I’d be more worried about Garcia’s projected ~30 IP jump from last season if he wasn’t a velocityless junk-baller.

There’s also the element of having more time to evaluate Hughes. It becomes less less  a question if he bombs tonight, but if he pitches well or even just holds his own, the Yankees really would be doing themselves a disservice by not giving him some more starts. I suppose they could accomplish the same thing by using him in long relief, but that’s irregular work and won’t help control the workloads of everyone else in the rotation. By keeping him in the starting rotation, everyone benefits, especially the guys expected to be in the potential postseason rotation.

The Downside

Unless the Yankees suddenly decide they can live with a six-man bullpen, a six-man rotation will hamper their roster construction because they’ll have to carry 13 pitchers. I’m almost certain they could get away with just six relievers, but I have no reason to believe they’d try it. A 13-man pitching staff means just three bench players, and at the moment those three are Frankie Cervelli, Andruw Jones, and Eduardo Nunez/Eric Chavez. That’s fine for a short period of time, but Alex Rodriguez will be back soon and the Yankees are going to need a roster spot for him. They’re obviously not going to cut Chavez or Jones, and sending Nunez to Triple-A means they won’t have a true middle infielder on the bench. There’s not much flexibility there.

I guess the other potential negative would be giving the core starters too much rest, if such a thing exists. Between the five days off between starts and various off days, it could throw those guys off their rhythm. Starting pitchers are creatures of habit, they tend to have very set routines between starts and six-man rotation would be screwing around with that routine.

* * *

Rosters expand 30 days from now, and two off days this month make the schedule a little easier to navigate. They could stick with the six-man rotation for now and get by with the three-man bench until A-Rod comes back. He’s going to start baseball activities on Thursday, so you have to figure he’s at least two weeks away from rejoining the team because of a minor league rehab stint and all that. We’ll be in the middle of the month by the time he comes back, so then the Yankees could shift to a six-man bullpen for two weeks before rosters expand. There is an off day in there to make life easier, but there’s also a doubleheader as well. It’s doable, especially if they’re liberal with the call-ups and send-downs should they need an fresh arm.

Depending on who you ask, the Yankees have either a 96.6% or 97.9% chance of making the playoffs this season. They’re a game back of Boston for first place in the AL East, but the important thing is that they’re seven games (eight in the loss column) ahead of the Angels for the wildcard. That’s a pretty big margin for error, so it’s not like they desperately need every win. They can afford to manipulate their rotation a bit just to rest the top guys heading into September and (hopefully) October, and I think there are some very real benefits to employing a six-man rotation for the next few weeks. Enough of a benefit that it outweighs the downside.

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  • Hester Prynne

    No, not a good idea. If Hughes struggles tonight he’s going somewhere, AAA or bullpen because Nova has been solid. This will be the only time around for the 6 man rotation.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Damnit, I can’t believe I forgot to include “Phil Hughes must be demoted immediately, this travesty of justice must end now” from my list of Things Hester Prynne Says.

      I’m so stupid.

      • Hester Prynne

        So you think if Hughes lays an egg today that he’ll remain in the rotation? I think Girardi has hinted at a competition and Nova’s in the lead. You can’t do a 6 man rotation for the rest of the year due to the lack of bench players when A-Rod returns.

        • jsbrendog

          do you ever read the articles? seriously. just stop.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          So you think if Hughes lays an egg today that he’ll remain in the rotation?

          Depends on the size and quality of the egg. But seeing as how it’s still only August 2nd and not October 2nd, yes, I think Phil Hughes can and should stay in the rotation unless he gets absolutely bombed and regresses.

          You can’t do a 6 man rotation for the rest of the year due to the lack of bench players when A-Rod returns.

          That’s an interesting point you make. If only a blogger had taken your question of “Can you roll with a 6 man rotation for the rest of the year, or even for the next few weeks? Is that actually feasible?” and expanded it to a well-thought out blog post for us to read and discuss. If someone had done that, perhaps we would have a scenario where a 6-man rotation can be shown to be feasible for a good chunk of August and possibly beyond.

          If only…

        • Ted Nelson

          What is Hughes doesn’t “lay an egg?” Or… lays an egg meaning a shutout?

          Hughes has allowed 2 ERs in 3 of his 4 starts since returning from injury. Nova’s overall performance his last 4 starts has been pretty similar, with one of his 1 ER performances coming in CitiField against the Mets (one of baseball’s best pitchers parks). One of Hughes’ 2 ER games has come against Toronto (one of the best offenses in MLB).

          I think you are exaggerating the difference between the two. Nova may be in the lead, but a 6-man rotation would give the Yankees the opportunity to keep both up if they’re both solid starters.

          • Hester Prynne

            Nova doesn’t deserve to go back to the minors. He was displaced to make room for Hughes and thus far Hughes hasn’t been impressive. He was spotted a 12 run lead against Oakland and couldn’t make it out of the 5th. Tonight he’s facing another weak offense and needs to give a good showing to remain in the rotation. 6 man rotation is good for now because it allows us to push back Colon to Friday against Boston. After that, it needs to go.

            • Jerome S.

              He’s already lost tonight’s start, I’m afraid.

            • Jim S

              Do you read anything? Your response didn’t address anything Ted Nelson said at all.

              “Nova doesn’t deserve to go back to the minors” — regardless of whether this is true or not, you don’t use even anecdotal evidence to back up your point.

              Citing one start by Hughes as to why he hasn’t been impressive…ok then.

              You’re becoming a caricature of yourself. Either troll more cleverly or stop.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              After that, it needs to go.

              Simple question: why?

              Because Phil Hughes has sucked and doesn’t deserve a roster spot? Big deal. We’re 23 games above .500 with one of the three best records in baseball and a 97% playoff odds. We can afford to have shitty Phil Hughes as part of a 6-man rotation for a few weeks, we’ve built up plenty of wiggle room.

              And as Mike pointed out above in the article you seem to have not read, there are real, tangible benefits of keeping a 6 man rotation for as long as possible.

              Contrary to your axiomatic inflexibilities, Phil Hughes does not “have to” be demoted, even if he does not pitch well tonight.

              • Ted Nelson

                Yeah, I would ask the same question. There’s an argument against the 6-man, but pretending like it’s the worst thing in the world and could never do anything good for the team (building a strawman out of the opposite viewpoint) is not the way to make it.

            • Ted Nelson

              A. I never said to send Nova down… where did I say that?

              B. Hughes hasn’t been much less impressive than Nova.

              C. Hughes is recovering from injury and not pitching for a couple of months. You usually expect an adjustment period. I’m not convinced Hughes is even healthy yet, but what do I know?

              D. It will continue to line Colon up to face the Rays and Boston again later in the month… so if that’s your argument, you should consider being in favor of a 6-man.

    • Jerome S.

      This whole “reading” thing… when are you gonna try it?

      • Rick in Boston

        It’s on the list after “Responding to responses”.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        I find it deliciously humorous that some of the posters on here who use famous literary characters as their screennames (Hester Prynne, Jack Merridew) tend to ignore the text of the post and just repeat their same non-sequitur comments, whether they fit the conversation or not.

        • Klemy

          Well played.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Since the seventh man in the current six-man bullpen is Hector Noesi, I’d say sending him down makes the most sense, IMO. You can roll with an Ayala-Logan-Wade-DRob-Soriano-Mo sextet that handles all matchup possibilities and designate either Hughes or Nova as the emergency longman.

    With six starters, all of whom regularly pitch into the 6th inning nowadays anyway, a longman seems a bit superfluous.

    Even if we only do the six-man for a turn or two now, though, I’d love to see it brought back for September when rosters expand. Every bullet we save from CC, Colon, and Garcia is one they’ll (theoretically) have in October. Plus, we’ll have Whelan, Garrison, J.C. Romero, and possibly Manny Banny all around to soak up innings.

    Also, mark your calendars: September 1 is The Return of the Pants Lendleton Party.

    • jsbrendog

      i only read the first sentence of your comment hester pryne style.

      yes. agree,

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        jsbrendog, you ignorant slut.

        • jsbrendog

          this has been point and counterpoint. good night.

    • Crime Dog

      As much as sending Noesi down makes sense, its not gonna happen. The “need” (in quotes because as you layed it out, there is no need for a long man) for a long man isn’t going away. Joe is gonna keep Noesi around in the odd chance someone gets bombed early, or rain delays or what have you.

      And maybe that isn’t the worst thing in the world. I really hope Hughes isn’t going to the pen, or staying in the rotation based on this start tonight

  • Pants Lendelton

    Excellent piece. I worry about a Angels getting hot a tad bit though.

    • Jerome S.

      The Angels couldn’t get hot at this point if you stuck Mike Scioscia in a pot of boiling oil.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        With Weaver, Haren, and Santana, the Angels could get hot enough to catch Texas (even though they just turned the game into a 6-inning little league contest, ZOMG!!!).

        They can’t get hot enough to catch the Yankees for the wildcard, though, not unless we have some new serious injuries.

  • Alex

    “That’s fine for a short period of time, but Alex Rodriguez will be back soon and the Yankees are going to need a roster spot for him. They’re obviously not going to cut Chavez or Jones, and sending Nunez to Triple-A means they won’t have a true middle infielder on the bench. There’s not much flexibility there.” – Robinson Cano has been pretty sturdy the past few years (besides, Cervelli could play 2nd base if need be!) and so if Jeter needed a day off, is it unfathomable to consider moving A-Rod to SS and having Chavez play 3rd? This may raise some injury questions but that doesn’t seem unreasonable.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      If Jeter needed a day off, is it unfathomable to consider moving A-Rod to SS?


      Other things that are not happening that people should stop suggesting:
      Mark Teixeira to 3B
      Russell Martin to 3B (to clear a path for Montero to catch)

      • YankeesJunkie

        How about Posada at SS?

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          I’m willing to give that one a shot.

          He was a second baseman 15 years ago, I think he could pull it off.

          • Xstar7

            Andy Pettitte is a stahting pitcha.

          • YankeesJunkie

            I am thinking Martin 3B, Posada SS, Montero 2B, and Jones 1B would be the greatest infield ever. With Granderson or Gardner catching.

            • jsbrendog

              id rather see jones catch and granderson play 1b

            • Sarah

              Is Swish pitching in this scenario? Or Nunez?

      • Ted Nelson

        I don’t know about a full day off, but with Martin and Cervelli both having played IF (not to mention Jorge having played 1B)… A-Rod playing a few innings late in a game at SS in a pinch might happen.

        I could see maybe playing some roster-shuffling games with Nunez and Noesi, where Noesi gets sent down after he pitches in favor of Nunez who promptly gives Jeter a day off and is then switched back when Noesi is available to pitch, repeat.

        • Mike K

          But once Noesi was down he wouldn’t be available for 10 days, unless someone got hurt. If Pena were healthy any time soon, you may be able to do something alternating Pena/Nunez for the UIF, Noesi/? for the long man out of the pen.

          • Ted Nelson

            True, I forgot about that.

            Could alternate Nunez, Pena, and maybe even Russo on the one side and Noesi with other pitchers on the other maybe… but it is a lot more complicated than I originally thought.

      • “The Patriot” Del Wilkes

        What about…

        Brett Gardner as the actual Yankee Stadium landscape gardner?


        Ryan Pope to conduct mass before and after Sunday games?

        • Klemy

          I’m all for this if it saves money to spend in free agency.

  • YankeesJunkie

    Obviously the two biggest concerns with rotation are CC’s increased innings and Colon’s increased innings.

    On the front of CC while he is on pace for more innings the number of starts that he make (35 compared to 34) and 257 innings pitched sound scary. However, in terms of pitches thrown CC may throw on average of 3 more pitches a start from this year to last year and the increase in innings is more explained by his utter dominance and be able to get through innings on average less than 15 pitches.

    As for Colon, if he needs extra rest then just go out and skip his start outright. The Yankees have the luxury of five competent starters and giving Colon a big 9-10 rest might be more rejuvenating than a 5 day break. Along with the off days in September there will plenty of opportunities to rest for 5 days instead of 4 and as it seems likely that the Yanks will have a playoff berth locked up within the last couple weeks of the season the Yanks can cut all their starter’s workload a bit in the last couple of weeks.

    Just because the Yankees have six competent starters that does not mean they should use them all (unless they are CC clones then go for it) and the Yankees will have to make a decision on whether Hughes or Nova continues to start for the rest of the season. Skipping Colon and even Garcia’s start throughout the month should give them ample rest and time for the Yankees to make the tough decision between Hughes and Nova which still needs to be made.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Somehow, someway Hughes needs to straighten his act out. The Yankees must be prepared to replace either Garcia or Colon. Unfortunately, I believe Colon is more likely to crap out because of his infrequent workload the past few years. How would I accomplish this task of resting two pitchers and keeping them sharp. Do there regular routines but sit their butts down on game day. How many times over the next 8 weeks. I hazard a guess at three times. Garcia one rotation through then Colon alternating for six weeks. It sounds easy to accomplish but I don’t throw baseballs for a living.

    It would accomplish about 18 innings of savings for both of them. It might make them available for the playoffs.

    As one who hoped for Cashman to do nothing with the trade dateline talent and prices. I’m comfortable with the guys who would throw for us in the playoffs. It would be a perfect storm for us to win it all but I sat and watched the Yankees loss to the pirates back in 1960 as an 11 year old. The Pirates did not have great pitching just enough.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      How would I accomplish this task of resting two pitchers and keeping them sharp. Do there regular routines but sit their butts down on game day. How many times over the next 8 weeks. I hazard a guess at three times.

      That sounds like a horrible idea.

      • LarryM.,Fl.


        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Because pitchers (like many other athletes) are creatures of habit, and regular rest—including actually pitching on every fifth day—is part of the plan to keep them healthy and effective. Changing that plan in your unconventional way has a great risk of backfiring spectacularly and actually leading to greater injury risk, not lesser injury risk.

          Skipping a starter three times in the span of a few weeks, while still having them do all their normal off-day routines, probably doesn’t accomplish an actual goal of lessening wear and tear on their arms, it just contributes to rust/ineffectiveness (and probably leads to a slightly higher chance of injury on their starts after the skipped starts since they’ll be prone to overthrowing with an arm less tired than they’re accustomed to and looking harder to establish feel having thrown only sporadically for two months).

          Rolling with a six-man for a turn or two in August (and possibly again in September) or pushing back the whole rotation following off-days/rainouts seems like a much safer option than having a 38 year old pitcher do something he’s never done before (being intentionally skipped while fully healthy three times in 8 weeks).

          • LarryM.,Fl.

            Thank you for your reply, your plan has merit but I don’t see any significant innings savings which I believe Colon will need.

            • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              I believe we’d like to save a few innings on Colon’s arm, but saying that he “needs” significant innings savings is probably wrong.

              Bartolo Colon didn’t break down in prior years because he was pitching too many innings, he broke down because he was hurt and it thus curtailed his innings. If Colon is now healthier (and it appears he is), he doesn’t really need his innings limited.

              Don’t confuse symptoms with diseases.

              • Damix

                Do you see a difference between breaking down and tiring?

                I think Colon has proved to this point that his shoulder will at least be structurally ok this season. If something was to go wrong, I think it would have been in the first few hundred pitches he was throwing 95 for.

                Tiring is another ball game though, what is his endurance level after not pitching this much in so long?

  • Ted Nelson

    Good balanced article. Agree. There are some potential downsides, but I think the rest, getting a look at Hughes AND Nova, plus lining the rotation up so that Colon, Sabathia, and Garcia start all 9 games against the Red Sox and Rays to get them ready for the playoffs… that outweighs the negative for me too.

    I would say they need to just suck it up with a 6 man bullpen. Option Noesi down probably and try to get him a little more work… which would be yet another benefit of this alignment.

    If they stick with 5-man, I’d rather see Hughes in AAA than MLB. More so than even the regular work, would be a chance to worry more about process than results. Throw the pitches they want him to throw without worrying if they get hit 3,000 ft.

    • Ted Nelson

      Also… a lot of starters seem to be *more* effective on 5 days rest even if they superstitiously feel it hurts them.

      I recall Garcia being a guy who pitched better on 5 days rest last season.

      Would be interesting to see the current starters performance on longer rest vs. normal rest vs. short rest before deciding. Small samples probably, but might show something.

  • jsbrendog

    but the important thing is that they’re seven games (eight in the loss column) ahead of the Angels for the wildcard. That’s a pretty big margin for error, so it’s not like they desperately need every win

    the 2007 and 2008 (i think) mets are crying. a lot.

    • Rey22

      Not to worry though. They’re the Mets :P

  • MannyGeee

    so, does being creative with Colon/Nova/Hughes over the next few weeks, keeping AJ/CC/Garcia on schedule while getting 2 previously injured guys some rest and having some long man flexibility? do something like 1/2/3/4/5 1/2/3/4/6 1/2/3/5/6, rinse, repeat?

  • Mike Myers

    Apparently you guys missed a few games. The Fransico Kid is our future 2B. Just dump Cano…he doesnt see enough pitches.

  • The Oberamtmann

    I said – repeatedly – during the offseason that I expected Hughes to have a pretty bad year due to the innings spike and fatigue. I don’t really care what they do with him this year, and I think he’ll have trouble for the rest of it. I DO expect him to be completely back on his game *next* year. So pleasepleaseplease no B-jobbing Hughes.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      B-Jobbing…that’s a blast from the past.

  • yoo-boo

    6 starters a rotation can be done just fine as long as Sabathia will pitch on 4 day rest regularly. Nova and Hughes will have a small job in bullpen between starts. Colon and Garcia to take an extra day rest until September. Colon and Garcia have to have plenty gas left on the tank for playoff games.

    I somewhat believe that 6 man rotation will be terminated quickly when Arod is back from DL in few weeks. Hughes should be the one that goes down to Triple A.

    18 winners of last year? What about Burnett who had pitched well thrice during the 2009 victory and was demoted out of number two spot during 2010 playoff season. What about Vazquez who had rebounded nicely for Braves prior to joining Yankees? Girardi needs to remind himself that Hughes has been a joke since 2010 all star break as Hughes does not deserve the spot in the rotation right now.

    Girardi needs to stop breast-milking Hughes.

    • Jim S

      I’m pretty sure you meant breast-feeding.

      But your version is a much funnier image.

    • Fin

      Can you milk a Hughes?

  • vin

    I wouldn’t mind a 6 man rotation in August with Noesi going down to start in SWB. By then, either Phil or Nova has claimed the final roster spot and the other can move to the pen for the remainder of the season (I can’t believe I’m typing that).

    I just remember in ’09 CC claiming that the starts he made on 5 days rest in September helped him stay fresh. Of course, I’m not sure what else he would say. He’s not one to stir the pot… but still, maybe he was being honest.

    Line up the playoff starters the final 2 weeks of September with regular 4 days rest to prepare them for October.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Oh, yeah, I’m in favor of as much 6-man rotation as possible from now through mid-September, but the last two weeks of the season are always all about lining up for the postseason and making sure each starter’s rest days are lined up perfectly for maximum sharpness in the ALDS.

  • Brandon

    I never thought innings pitched was a good reference to a pitchers workload.I mean a pitcher could pitch a complete game shutout and only throw 80 pitches. If he did that every start for say 35 starts thats 315 innings pitched. Seems like a lot of work but really its only 2800 pitches. CC has thrown exactly 3587 pitches each of the past two regular seasons.So how many pitches they throw is far better assessment of their workload. Say CC gets another 8 starts(with 6 man rotation) at his current average of 7 1/3 innings a game, that means hes on pace to throw 3457 pitches and 244 innings. Thats 7 more innings pitched while throwing 100 less pitches then last year. His average pitches a game the past 3 seasons are 108,105.5,105.5. The most pitches CC has thrown in a season was 3814 back in 2008, so if the Yanks can limit CC to 8-9 more starts his workload should be less then hes used to. (Sorry for the long run-on analysis)

  • hornblower

    A six man rotation is ideal for this team now. CC goes every five and the rest take it from there. Burnett has no bitch with the way he has thrown and the others are happy for the work. The older guys need the rest and the younger ones will pitch when they are called upon.

  • Cy Pettitte

    taking starts from CC to give them to Phil/Nova is never a good idea.

    • Jim S

      Unless you’re goal is to win the World Series and not one particular game, and by giving a CC start to Phil/Nova you let him rest and save his arm for more important games down the line, in addition to finding out more and more about what you have in two young, promising arms, which you can afford to do, because you have built up an 8 game lead(in the loss column) over the Angels.

      This message has been brought to you by the Advertising Council for Run on Sentences That Take Too Long to get the Message Across.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        This message has been brought to you by the Advertising Council for Run on Sentences That Take Too Long to get the Message Across.

        The song you are about to hear is sponsored by NASWIPP: N#$%as Against Smoking Weed In Public Places, a subdivision of IKSRTFO: I’m Knockin’ Somebody Right The Fuck Out.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      False. There’s tons of instances where taking starts from CC and giving them to Phil or Nova is a good idea.

      One such example: When CC’s workload is high, Phil and Nova need work/time to improve their games and get in postseason shape to possibly contribute to the playoff roster or earn an ALCS start, and when the team has a large cushion in the wildcard race and has a playoff spot all but locked up.

      A scenario like, oh, say, the one we’re in right now.

      Whatever decreased likelihood of winning a particular game in August/September we incur by pitching CC/Bartolo/Freddy less and Burnett/Nova/Hughes more is offset by the benefits of accumulating slightly less wear and tear on CC/Bartolo/Freddy’s arms and giving Burnett/Hughes/Nova more ocean on which to right their ships.

      Giving Hughes/Nova more chances to be good pitchers by October 1st >>>>> winning every single possible inning of August baseball

      • yoo-boo

        Sabathia is in CY Young race so it is another reason why his start should not be skipped. I don’t recall he did pitch on 3 day once this season. He has been very economical on pitch count. And more small and big reasons.

        Unless he either is projected to finish the season with 300 innings pitched or is misplaced in the line toward the end of regular season for a playoff rotation, he is not going to be skipped.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Sabathia is in CY Young race so it is another reason why his start should not be skipped.

          We’re not paying him to win Cy Youngs, we’re paying him to win playoff games.

          Sabathia being in contention for an individual award: utterly irrelevant to how the team should decide to plan his innings for August and September.


          • Plank

            That’s true in reality, but part of managing stars (in any profession involving celebrities) is managing their egos. I’ve never heard any indication that Sabathia would object to being used any particular way, but players aren’t robots. If he feels like the Yankees aren’t using him in the way he feels is best, it’s possible it could hurt him, the team, or negotiations in the off-season.

            Again, I’m not saying that it is likely to happen, but just dismissing that aspect of player management is unrealistic.

  • Mike HC

    I don’t see it as making a major difference either way because we are at the end of the season anyway. Nova and Hughes might both be in the pen for the playoffs anyway if CC, Colon, Garcia and AJ end up being in the playoff rotation. So getting one of them some bullpen reps in September is really not a bad thing. If Hughes keeps getting bombed, he is not going to be a viable post season starter, might as well see if he can contribute to the playoff pen this year and get him back starting next year. If he pitches well, maybe get Nova used to the pen routine again in time for the playoffs.

  • Cuso

    Just my two cents:

    Keep CC & Burnett or regular rest and maneuver the other four in consecutive order around their two starts.

    It will be beneficial to Colon and Garcia. It will be a way to stretch Nova through the end of the season without innings concerns.

    And as for Hughes….who the hell knows. He can only blame himself for this 6-man predicament.

    For whatever reason, Burnett sucks (more than usual) with additional rest if memory serves. Just keep CC & Burnett every 6 days and maneuver the rest is my opinion.

    I know it’s more work for Joe/Larry. But that’s why they get paid the big bucks.

    • Rick in Boston

      How is it Hughes’ fault that the Yankees are running with a 6-man rotation? Because he got hurt?

  • nsalem

    I think it is imperative to return Noesi to his SP role whether it is with the Yankees or SWB. He has shown that he can pitch in he Major Leagues and we have invested 4 or 5 years into him bringing him along as a starting pitcher. We have done it in more or less the right way bringing him from 48 inning in 2008 to 117 in 2009 and to 160 last year. In 2011 he has only pitched 55 innings and If he stays on this path as a ong man he will wind up the year with round 100 innings and it will be a year or two of wasted development to getting him back to the 200 innings he could have achieved as a starter this year at SWB. Besides being unfair to Noesi the Yankee’s are now in the process of devaluing a key resource if they choose to keep him in the bullpen. The well chronicled maneuvering which we foisted on both Chamberlain and Hughes has not served the Yankee’s and the pitchers much good and I hope we are not making the same error with Hector. The other party in this saga, who was sent to the desert and allowed the time and patience to develop as a starter far from the madding crowd seems to be on the right path. He was the least likely to succeed and has succeeded the most.

  • Gonzo

    Wasn’t there a post about ow Freddy Garcia is a much better picther on extra rest? It doesn’t seem to be an issue this year for him. Doesn’t hurt to plan ahead though.

    • Cris Pengiuci

      Definitely recall seeing that. There’s pros and cons to the 6-man rotation. From what I’ve read (and yes, I have read), I see more positives in sticking with the 6-man rotation for as long as possible to provide rest to those that need it and allow others to work on their issues and then return to the 5-man to align for the ALDS. I’m a fan!

  • JohnC

    I don’t like Garcia starting against the Red Sox though. He’s already beenlit up twice by them. They are too disciplined a hitting team to be fooled by his assortment of changeups and splitters. I’d rather see gim go against the White Sox and Nova start one of those games against Boston this weekend.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      [The Red Sox] are too disciplined a hitting team to be fooled by his assortment of changeups and splitters.

      Fun Fact: Boston has actually hit power pitchers about the same (.277/.363/.459) as they’ve hit finesse pitchers (.288/.355/.459).

      Fun Fact #2: Randy Wolf, Jeff Karstens, and Paul Maholm (and their combined assortment of 87 mph nothingballs that rivals Freddy’s) have all secured wins against the Red Sox this season.

    • nsalem

      Everybody on this staff has pitched poorly against the Red Sox this year (including CC). I think maybe we should just forfeit all of the games and take the weekend off. Due to the power of mimicry you have singled out Garcia. Please get over your Fredjudice’s and realize pitchers who can’t break a pane of glass with their fastball can still beat the Red Sox.

  • tomaconda

    totally o/t but i just read that Hideki Irabu committed suicide and hadnt seen mention on this sight

  • Plank

    I like the idea of having a 27 man roster, but before the game, the team has to declare 25 pitchers eligible for the game. If that happens, I can see a 6 man rotation becoming more popular.

    The fact that the Yankees have so many similarly valuable pitchers of the 4/5 ilk makes a bigger rotation make sense, but for the vast majority of teams, it will simply take starts away from good pitchers to give them to bad pitchers.

    • vin

      Couldn’t agree more.

  • Hardy

    If you want to rest starters, just get them out one inning earlier than usual (the old “pitching when tired is dangerous” school).
    If Hughes is considered a starter for the rest of the year, the Yankees should send down Nova, else they should move Hughes to the pen.