In 2009 the Yankees had a three-headed monster in CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and A.J. Burnett. This allowed skipper Joe Girardi to use a three-man rotation in the postseason, and the results speak for themselves.
Currently, the same group is still in pinstripes but unfortunately is not as reliable.
Let’s look at the three amigos individually.
The Yankees’ No. 1 is CC Sabathia, who is still an ace. Many believe that Sabathia should and could win the AL CY Young for 2010—no debate on that statement. Sabathia is the reason the Yankees are in the postseason in 2010.
Whatever the reason, A.J. Burnett is not the same at all. Whatever is distracting him seems to not be Yankee-related; at least that is assumed at this point.
In August and September the team lost nine of 11 games that Burnett started. Over that two-month period, Burnett gave up 70 hits, 46 earned runs, 10 home runs, and walked 26. The odd stat out was Burnett’s 48 strikeouts, which is still decent.
Everyone was hopeful before his last start, presuming Burnett would continue taking baby steps forward. Instead he fell apart worse than ever, and Burnett’s place in the dynamic trio is seemingly now Phil Hughes‘ spot.
The veteran of the group, Andy Pettitte, was having a phenomenal season. He posted a 2.88 ERA until he suffered an injury to his hamstring on July 18, which kept him on the DL for three months.
Arriving back September 19th at Camden Yards, Pettitte pitched six innings. He looked good, even though the team lost the game. In his next start things went horribly bad, as Pettitte gave up seven hits, six earned runs, and one home run to the Red Sox over four innings. Pettitte said his back was stiff, and being on the DL that long, it is not surprising.
Pettitte’s start tonight against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park will answer a lot of questions, and all of Yankees Universe will be watching.
Seriously looking at the bigger picture, what other options does Girardi have if Pettitte struggles for the second time?
Okay, all joking aside, Pettitte is the most winning postseason pitcher in the history of MLB. That is no joke. It does give Pettitte a “bye” if he implodes in Boston.
Still, the fact remains that it would be nice for the Yankees to get a solid five or six innings from the southpaw before heading into October.
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