Wednesday, September 19, 2012
First Pitch: Mother Nature hates the Yanks
By Wallace Matthews
She must, mustn't she?
Last year, it was a rainstorm that washed away a great start to Game 1 of the ALDS against the Tigers, and even though the Yankees wound up winning the game when it resumed the next day, CC Sabathia was never the same pitcher as he was in the first two innings of that first game.
This year, the rainout came in a lower-profile game -- last night's game with the playing-out-the-string Toronto Blue Jays -- but at nearly as inopportune a moment, because that was supposed to be the game that returned Andy Pettitte to the Yankees' starting rotation, and more importantly, put him on schedule for four regular season starts before the start of the postseason.
Now, Pettitte and the Yankees will have to get by on three, which may not turn out to be a big deal, and they will have to play a late-season doubleheader, which may.
Managers hate doubleheaders for a lot of reasons, but mainly for these two: 1) You have to use a lot of pitchers, and sometimes the same pitchers twice in the same day, and 2) They are difficult to sweep. In nine doubleheaders over the past three seasons, the Yankees have swept three and split six.
In fact, the odds are that most doubleheaders will wind up being splits, and for a team like the Yankees, embroiled in a hot divisional race with the Baltimore Orioles, a day of spinning your wheels is a wasted day.
Plus, with an aging roster like the Yankees' you certainly don't want to be playing guys like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez in two games. So expect to see at least one game without Jeter -- nursing a sore ankle, Jeter certainly won't play both games, even as the DH -- and one without A-Rod.
And with Andy Pettitte starting the first game, limited to about 75 pitches, and David Phelps, the Game 2 starter, rarely getting through six innings, plan on seeing plenty of bullpen, too.
So to borrow one of the manager's favorite phrases, "It's not ideal" to have to play a doubleheader at any point of the season. To have to play one now could, in fact, be quite damaging to the Yankees' postseason hopes.
But as Girardi said yesterday, "Whaddaya gonna do?"
Question of the day: Rafael Soriano has done an extraordinary job as the replacement for Mariano Rivera, with 40 saves in less than five months' work this season. However, if Soriano opts out of the final year of his 3-year, $35 million deal, what would you do? Give him a raise? Extend his deal? Both? Or let him walk? Let us know in the comments section below.
Up now: Some blog items off last night's rainout, and in case you missed it, you can always catch up with my column on Pettitte from Monday evening.
Coming soon: Early clubhouse due to today's rescheduled game, which begins at 1:05 p.m. Pettitte (3-3, 3.22) faces RHP Henderson Alvarez (9-12, 4.91). That game is on the YES Network. In Game 2, Phelps (4-4, 3.39) faces LHP Ricky Romero (8-14, 5.87). That one is on MY9, first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Check in all day long for lineups and news out of the clubhouse, and as always, thanks for reading.