Rain Could Wash Yankees Pitching Advantage Away

Plan to start Sabathia three times would die with rainout

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Oct 15, 2009  |  Updated 2:06 PM CDT
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Rain Could Wash Yankees Pitching Advantage Away

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There are probably more than a few Yankee fans who wish that some of the billions spent on the new Yankee Stadium had been set aside for a retractable roof right about now. Rain is in the forecast for Friday and Saturday, and a downpour is just about the worst thing that anyone rooting for the Bronx nine could hope for at this point.

It's not just the fact that it feels like its been about five years since the Yankees actually played a baseball game, a break in momentum that needs no extending, but it's the effect that a rainout would have on the schedule for the ALCS and the Yankee rotation. If the Yankees and Angels wind up moving a game to Sunday, the off-day between Games 4 and 5 would almost certainly be eliminated as a way to keep the same end date for the series.

That would eliminate the possibility of starting CC Sabathia three times in the series, force Chad Gaudin into a Game 4 start and cut the bullpen short an arm for much of the other six games. One of the biggest advantage the Yankees have over the Angels is the depth of their pitching staff, particularly in relief where the Angels have a shaky corps of arms. Starting Sabathia three times would be the best way to leverage that advantage.

They could still throw Sabathia three times, but it would force him to go twice on short rest rather than just once which isn't particularly desirable when you think about the prospect of a fatigued pitcher on the hill for Game 7. It would also mean one start on short rest for A.J. Burnett, which is probably the bigger reason why the Yankees would avoid that course of action. And, poof, just like that the Yankees advantage on the mound evaporates to make this series a lot closer on paper.

And all because of rain! Taco Bell can figure out an infinite number of ways to combine meat, beans, cheese and tortillas into new products and yet our proud men of the diamond still perform at the whim of the clouds.

This would never have happened if George Steinbrenner was still in charge. Okay, maybe it would have but we would have at least gotten an entertaining press release about how Mother Nature is an Angels fan out of the deal. Which would have made swallowing all the grey skies a little bit easier.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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