12 Sep 2007
I think Mike Mussina earned another start tonight. He showed me enough that I want to see if he can do it again. The thing is, I also think the Yankees should keep Kennedy in the rotation, so why not just go to a six-man rotation for the rest of the year?
Think about it, the guys you are counting on in the playoffs, with the exception of Wang, could use the extra rest. Clemens’ elbow is a mess, I am not sure he should even start Sunday- more on that in a minute- and Pettitte probably wouldn’t get hurt from the rest. Wang is really the only guy who should pitch every fifth day since you don’t want a sinkerballer to get too strong. So, why not pitch Kennedy, Pettitte, Wang, Clemens, Hughes, Mussina, Kennedy for the next week and then start Wang against Toronto on the 21st? That would leave Wang, Pettitte and Clemens in line to pitch games 1,2 and 3 of the ALDS while you could audition Mussina, Hughes and Kennedy for the final playoff rotation spot.
As for Clemens on Sunday, I think the Yankees shouldn’t start him unless they have won the first two games of the series. At best, the Yankees will head into Boston 4-1/2 games behind the Red Sox. If they won the first two games of the series, they would be 2-1/2 back with a chance to cut the lead to 1-1/2. If that is the case, I could see the argument for starting Roger. Otherwise, I think it is better to bring him along slowly, with the goal of getting him on the mound for Game 3 of the ALDS. Wins are important, but pitching Roger Sunday in Fenway seems to be more about giving him one last game in Boston than what may be more important for the team as a whole.
The division was lost before July, the Yankees can have another crack at Boston, when it matters in October. Save Roger’s final Boston start for then.