Why Keep The Roster The Same?

The Yankees announced today that they will pitch Phil Hughes in Game 2 and Andy Pettitte in Game 3. They also added that they will most likely keep the roster as is.

That’s a mistake because the four players they have ready to go in Tampa (Nunez, Alby, Ring and Nova) could all play a valuable role in the ALCS.

Let’s start with Nova, to me the clearest candidate for activation. Joe Girardi has already said that he doesn’t view Sergio Mitre as a long reliever. Well if he isn’t a long reliever, what value does he have for this team? The Yankees have Robertson, Chamberlain and Wood as righties out of the pen in a close game to set things up before Rivera. They have Moseley to pitch in a blow out. But what happens if they need another long guy? What happens if Pettitte gets lifted early in Game 3 and AJ is AJ in Game 4? They obviously would throw Mitre for as long as he could handle it, but wouldn’t it make more sense to just have Nova there and ready to go for five innings? After all, Mitre isn’t going to see the mound unless something goes wrong.

Ok, assuming you don’t see the need for Nova, then how about Alby? Alby was amazing as a closer in AAA this year and you would think he could be a lot more effective than Mitre if the Yankees needed an inning or two from a reliever.

Failing that, how about Royce Ring? The Yankees are going to start righties in 3 of the possible 7 games. The Rangers really only have one lefty hitter, but he is a killer. Josh Hamilton absolutely killed the ball in 2010, putting up an OPS over 1.000 and a slugging percentage over .600. He did most of his damage against RHP, hitting an insane .401/.447./.716 against them. Against lefties he was reduced to a much more human .271/.331/.458. Boone Logan gets the first shot at him, but wouldn’t it make sense to have another lefty ready to go- just in case Hamilton gets up again in a tight spot? With all the righties in the Rangers lineup, you know Logan is a one-batter pitcher in the ALCS.

And finally, how about Eduardo Nunez. If the Yankees need to pinch run, he would be their best option. Wouldn’t a speedy guy make more sense on the bench than say Austin Kearns?

The Yankees have until 6pm Friday to change their minds.