10 Jan 2008
With the Yankees needing to limit the innings of the three kids in 2008, why not use a six-man rotation for part of the season? I fooled around with the concept using the actual schedule and you could make it work and still use Wang and Pettitte for their maximum starts. I won’t bore you with the actual spreadsheet I did (yes, I know I need help) but if you keep Wang and Pettitte on their usual turns they would each start 17 times over the first 81 games. Kennedy, Hughes and Joba would start 12 and Mussina 11. (I made Mussina the 6th starter)
Assuming 6-7 innings per start you would project Kennedy, Hughes and Joba to be somewhere around 78 innings pitched at that point. Since I don’t think the Yankees want to put Hughes or Joba over 160, it works well and they can always increase Kennedy’s workload down the stretch if they so desire.
Now, there are a couple of problems. First, in some instances, pitchers would have up to nine days in between starts. That is sure to get someone like Mussina cranky. And, this assumes that everyone is healthy and the weather is good. Otherwise, things could get really messy.
But, when I think about it, I would like to see the Yankees at least try it. Guarantee that Wang and Pettitte will always make their regular starts and use four for the final three spots. You protect the young arms innings-wise and get some use out of Mike Mussina. Maybe Mussina tanks, maybe someone gets hurt, but in both instances you can just go to a regular five-man rotation and then figure out how to reduce workloads later. The thing to remember is, Hughes and Joba will be working with an innings limit in 2008, so you can’t run them out there for 33 starts. How would you go about limiting their innings?