Ken Rosenthal took a look at the playoff pitching rotations for all of the teams currently holding playoff spots, and he comes off sounding rather bearish on, well, everyone. Most teams, according to the Fox Sports reporter, have a great 1-2 combination, but beyond that, it’s a toss up.
The Yankees, as we noted earlier this week, will have a choice to make between the longer and shorter ALDS schedule. One will allow them to start CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte or A.J. Burnett in four of the five games while the other will force them to rely on Joba Chamberlain for one outing. At the same time, if the Yanks play the Tigers — and with the Red Sox holding a three-game Wild Card lead, Detroit is looming large for the Yanks — Detroit would benefit from the short series as well.
Anyway, take a look at what Rosenthal has to say. I don’t agree with his assessment:
Joe Torre favored using Pettitte in Game 2 when he managed the Yankees. Left-handers rate an edge at the new Yankee Stadium, just as they did at the old. While Joe Girardi might be reluctant to go with two lefties back-to-back, Pettitte currently is pitching much better than Burnett. The Tigers hit lefties about the same as righties, which is to say, not all that well.
As for Chamberlain, if the Yankees started him in Game 4, they almost certainly would be forced to use their bullpen early. If they skipped him, they might further reduce his chances of pitching deep into a game in the American League Championship Series.
Two years after developing Chamberlain into a bullpen weapon, the Yankees have effectively squandered him as an asset, overmanaging him while restricting his innings, transforming him from an aggressive intimidator into a confused kid.
The B-Jobber talk is, simply put, absurd. Chamberlain isn’t a “confused kid.” In fact, the Yankees have been very clear with Joba about his role for much of the last two seasons. In fact, the only time he didn’t make his regularly scheduled turn in the rotation was last month when he got some extra rest. Joba’s problems this year — reduced velocity, reduced control — have absolutely nothing to do with some false narrative that he was “jerked around.”
In the end, the Yanks’ playoff hopes are going to fall a little more heavily on the arm of A.J. Burnett than we would hope. Pettitte and Sabathia have acquitted themselves well lately, and the two lefties will be well-rested come October. If Burnett straightens himself out and finds his groove, the Yanks will have as a good a 1-2-3 punch as any team out there, and Joba won’t matter as much. The Yanks have won the World Series with Kenny Rogers in their four spot, and they’re a better team this year than they have been in a while.