Before the Yankees can build a four-man rotation for the playoffs, they have to settle on a five-man rotation for the rest of the season. The six-man experiment was cause by injury, timing and circumstance (wanting to limit veteran workload while delaying decisions on younger pitchers), but that experiment ends this weekend.
“It seems like everyone wants to determine, if we get to the playoffs, what are we going to do?” Joe Girardi said. “Who’s going to be two, who’s going to be three, who’s going to be four? I don’t think we’ll go to a six-man rotation then. I’m not worried about that, and I’m not going to talk about that. I’m not going to talk about that because it doesn’t make any sense. A, we’re not to the playoffs, and B, the way a guy is throwing the ball now may be totally different from what it is at the end of September. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
“We need to stay with the six-man rotation until we get through Baltimore, and then we’ll take a look at what we’re going to do.”
The lineup is more-or-less set now that Alex Rodriguez is healthy. The bullpen has weathered the injury storm and seems to be thriving. The bench has its pieces in place, minus a few September call-ups.
For now, cutting the rotation from six to five is the looming decision. Beginning tonight with Bartolo Colon, every starter gets one more turn. If the Yankees haven’t privately made their decision, their last pieces of evidence come in these next five days.
Bartolo Colon: Strong first half, seems to be fading under unfamiliar workload.
CC Sabathia: The ace, the only starter absolutely locked into place.
Phil Hughes: Back from injury, pitching like a legitimate No. 2 lately.
A.J. Burnett: The lighting rod for criticism, struggling as much as he did last season.
Ivan Nova: Emerging rookie, very much back in the mix after brief Triple-A demotion.
Freddy Garcia: Reliable all season, coming back from minor finger injury.
Associated Press photos