Do Yankees need Wandy for rotation?

August, 22, 2011
8/22/11
5:19
PM ET
Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the Yankees have no interest in Wandy Rodriguez, even though the Astros left-hander reportedly cleared waivers.

The Yankees, of course, have plenty of starting options. Once Freddy Garcia returns from an injury rehab assignment, they'll have six starters. CC Sabathia is the only left-hander, which led me to wonder: Would a second left-hander improve the Yankees' chances of winning the World Series?

I simply looked at the past 20 World Series teams -- winners and losers -- to see how many of their postseason games were started by lefties.



Only three teams did not have a postseason game started by a left-hander -- two of Tony La Russa's Cardinals teams and the 2004 Red Sox. The 2007 Red Sox also had just one start from Jon Lester, Game 4 of their World Series sweep over the Rockies.

There isn't too much to take away from this study. Of the 301 games these teams played, 103 were started by left-handers (34 percent), about the same percentage you see during the regular season. Of course, 44 percent of those left-handed starts came from just three pitchers -- Andy Pettitte, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. The trend for lefties, however, has been increasing in recent seasons, with 59 percent of World Series teams' postseason games started by lefties over the past three years.

But that's a small sample size. I don't think you can read anything into that trend. The bigger question is if Rodriguez would be a better matchup for potential playoff opponents. The answer there: Not really. The Rangers have a .781 OPS against lefties, .779 against righties. The Tigers: .761 versus lefties, .750 versus righties. And the Red Sox: .803 against lefties, .802 against righties. Plus, considering that Rodriguez is more of a finesse lefty who changes speeds instead of a power lefty like those who have had success in recent postseasons, it makes sense for the Yankees to pass and live with what they have.

Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter @dschoenfield.

David Schoenfield | email

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