Whither Goest The Starting Rotation?

July 19, 2010 – 7:58 pm

NYY 9, Tampa Bay 5. What a whacky start to the second-half of the season this series was. In game one you had CC Sabathia getting the short end of a good pitchers’ duel with James Shields, but then the red-hot Nick Swisher single handedly won the game with a game-tying home run in the eighth and then a walk-off single in the ninth. Then in game two, Bad A.J. makes his regularly scheduled appearance and puts the Yankees in an 0-4 hole after just three innings, and then to no one’s surprise the bullpen proceeds to give up another six runs to make sure the game will indeed end up in the loss column. And then in game three, Andy Pettitte puts the Yankees in a quick 0-3 hole in the first inning, then leaves the game with a groin injury in the third inning — but lo and behold, the bullpen actually finishes the last 6.2 innings giving up just two runs (a bullpen “quality start” if you will) and the offense comes alive for 9 runs on 12 hits and the Yankees win the game, 9-5, and the series, 2-1.

Old F*rtsSo in spite of Yankee starters going less then three innings in two games, and the Yankee ace getting out-pitched in the other game, the Yankees still won the series from the second-place Rays and increased their division lead to three games. The Rays have got to be kicking themselves, as they certainly blew a golden opportunity to re-gain the AL East lead for the first time since June 12.

But for the Yankees there wasn’t a whole lot of cause for celebration, as all of a sudden there are questions about the starting rotation, which has no doubt been the key to getting them to where they are right now. CC is still rock solid as the No. 1 starter, but beyond that it’s now quite muddled. Pettitte is probably going to be out for at least a month, and at his age, not only could it take longer for him to get back, but who knows if at that point he will still be as affective as he has so far this season. After Pettitte, you have the unpredictable combo of Good and Bad A.J. Burnett. Any notion that Dave Eiland got him straightened out was pretty much dashed with Saturday’s start. And after that, you have Javier Vazquez who has pitched very well of late, but you never know when/if he is going to slip back in to his early season funk. And in the No. 5 position there’s Phil Hughes, who has slacked off some from his very fast start, and who is also going to be on an innings limit for much of the remainder of the season. Bottom line is that what was clearly the the biggest strength of the team is now one huge question mark. How things can change fast in this game!

Photo: Yahoo! Sports

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