A Big Myth

As the Yankees inch closer to a playoff spot, I keep reading how this year’s “condensed” playoff schedule will require them to have four starters available. Let’s take a look at the schedule and analyze it.

Start with the ALDS, which shapes up like this (both ALDS’s are the same schedule-wise this year) And for fun, let’s put some names in for possible starters

Game 1 October 6th- Sabathia
Game 2 October 7th- Pettitte
Day off
Game 3- October 9th- Hughes
Game 4- October 10th- Sabathia on three-days rest
Day off
Game 5- October 12th- Pettitte on full rest

So the Yankees could get through the ALDS with three pitchers if they let Sabathia make one start on three-days rest.

On to the ALCS

Game 1- October 15th- Sabathia on full rest
Game 2- October 16th-Pettitte on three-days rest if Game 5 was played or Hughes
Day off
Game 3- October 18th- Hughes or Pettitte on full rest
Game 4- October 19th- Sabathia on three-days rest
Game 5- October 20th- Game 2 starter on three-days rest
Day off
Game 6- October 22nd- Game 3 starter on three-days rest
Game 7- October 23rd- Sabathia on three-days rest

This is essentially a replay of the 2009 World Series. Sabathia started Game 1. Pitched Game 4 on three-days rest and would have pitched Game 7 under the same conditions if it had been played. Burnett pitched Game 2 and Game 5 on three-days rest and Pettitte pitched Game 3 and Game 6 on three-days rest. Basically, we have seen this before.

Which brings us to the World Series
Game 1- October 27- Sabathia on three-days rest or Pettitte fully rested
Game 2- October 28- Sabathia fully rested or Pettitte fully rested
Day off
Game 3- October 30- Hughes fully rested
Game 4- October 31- Game 1 starter on three-days rest
Game 5- November 1- Game 2 starter on three-days rest
Day off
Game 6- November 3rd- Game 3 starter on three-days rest
Game 7-November 4th- Game 4 starter on three days rest

As mentioned above, this is what they did in the Series last year.

Now, I am not suggesting this approach- yet. I still think the Yankees need to see how everyone is pitching over the final 12 games. If AJ pitches well tonight, that would encourage me to consider giving him the ball in the playoffs. Also, I think the results of the ALDS will define the Yankees’ pitching plans. If they swept that series, I could see them employing a three-man rotation in the next two rounds. If they had to go five games, they would probably ease off and go to four guys. The point is, the schedule is still setup to allow them to pitch only three starters throughout October, if they want to.