First Pitch: Start Phelps in playoffs?

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
7:00
AM ET


Yes, the question assumes a big if -- that the Yankees even make it to the postseason -- but if they do, they're going to need pitching.

And right now, two pitchers, CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, are guaranteed starting spots and a third, Phil Hughes, is pretty much assured of one, too.

The assumption is Andy Pettitte will return as effective as he had been when he went down in June, but that may be too big an assumption to make about a 40-year-old pitcher coming off a one-year layoff, even one as dependable as Pettitte.

So if the Yankees need a fourth starter for the ALCS -- again, assuming they get that far -- the Question of the Day is, would you entrust that spot to a youngster like David Phelps?

There are compelling reasons to consider it -- his ERA is an impressive 3.42 in nine starts, and his strikeout-to-walks ratio is an outstanding 45/13. He has true swing-and-miss stuff and a live arm.

And there are compelling reasons to dump it right into the trash, the biggest being the fact that his 5 2/3 inning stint Wednesday night was the longest of his career.

Still, Phelps is an intriguing option for the postseason, either in the rotation or out of the 'pen. So what do you think? Would you take a chance on a 25-year-old with a thin resume but great stuff in a postseason game? Let us know in the comments section below.

Up now: The news on Derek Jeter's injury in last night's game, as well as my column on why Jeter's utter disdain for the idea of injuries may be his most admirable quality of all.

Coming soon: Mark Simon with a W2W4 on the matchups for tonight's series, and road-trip, finale, which pits Hughes (14-12, 4.13) against LHP Felix Doubront (10-8, 5.21). The clubhouse opens at 3:40 p.m. and I'll be there to get the latest on Jeter's condition and tonight's lineups, plus Joe Girardi's pregame news conference, so check in often. And as always, thanks for reading.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAB. Gardner .281
HRM. Teixeira 18
RBIM. Teixeira 50
RB. Gardner 68
OPSB. Gardner .813
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135