That’s An Ace

CC Sabathia has been everything the Yankees could have hoped for and tonight he may have pitched his best game as a Yankee. A complete game with only four hits and 9 K’s in the do-or-die game of the ALDS is pretty special.

Give a tip of the cap to Buck Showalter and his Orioles. They gave the Yankees everything they could handle and I firmly believe that none of the Yankees’ success would have happened if Buck hadn’t molded them in the early 90’s. I am sure it is of no comfort for him now, but he was the guy who started Jeter, Rivera and many others on the road to success.

Now the Yankees have the advantage of staying home for the start of the ALCS, but they are at a big disadvantage pitching wise. We know Pettitte will go in Game 1 on regular rest. After that, the Yankees have some tough choices to make. Kuroda could go in Game 2, but he would be on short rest, he threw 105 pitches Wednesday. Otherwise, Girardi has to pitch someone other than the four guys who started in the ALDS (Lowe or Phelps? Girardi wouldn’t commit to anything in the postgame other than Pettitte tomorrow and he specifically refused to answer when asked what his options besides Kuroda would be for Game 2) And Game 3 isn’t any easier. They will face Verlander, that’s a definite. They could either pitch Sabathia on short rest, or Hughes or Kuroda on full rest. Something tells me this will come down to the disposition of the series after the first two games because the Game 3 starter is in line to pitch Game 7.

On the plus side, Sabathia’s gem tonight kept the bullpen rested. That is huge because Soriano and Robertson had each thrown three innings over the last two nights. Now, the Yankees can enter the ALCS with a relatively rested bullpen.

Here are some questions, in no particular order, the Yankees have to figure out in the next 23 hours.

1- Is Joba healthy enough to pitch in the ALCS and if not, who is his replacement?

2- What are they going to do with A-Rod? The Tigers have only righty starters. I suspect A-Rod gets into the lineup tomorrow. (Chavez was 0-for-3 with 2 K’s tonight.) In fact, I would bet he gets Games 1 and 2, but if his struggles continue, he will be back on the bench in Game 3 against Verlander.

3- Considering Swisher and Cano continued to struggle, but Granderson looked a lot better so is another lineup shakeup possible?

4- And obviously the Game 2 starter. That decision will probably also impact the bench because if the Yankees decide to use someone other than Kuroda in Game 2, I could see them adding another pitcher.

Whew, what a series. And now no rest before the next one. See you tomorrow!

UPDATE 11:20PM The Tigers have released their ALCS rotation: Fister, Sanchez, Verlander, Scherzer, Fister, Sanchez, Verlander

FIster has a 5.18 ERA against the Yankees in four career starts, but he pitched better in 2012 against them. The Yankees destroyed Sanzhez the one time they saw him this year and they also shellacked him in his one start against them as a Marlin. Verlander is deadly. Scherzer had pitched well against the Yankees until his one start this year when they hit him pretty well.

UPDATE 12:29AM The Cardinals just pulled off another amazing comeback, down 6-0 at one point and 7-5 in the 9th, they win 9-7. That means two things. 1- The Yankees are the only one of four home teams to win Game 5 at home. 2- The last three World Series winners are still alive in the playoffs. MLB is having a pretty good month, aren’t they?