By these measures, the Yankees come away looking like the most balanced team in the American League, with the Rangers making a strong case as well. And contrary to popular belief, it’s actually Boston who could desperately use some pitching help, as their rotation is a bona fide disaster right now.
But of course these numbers include 5th starters and spot starters who aren’t likely to be making starts in the playoffs, and the postseason is as much about individual matchups as overall rotation strength. So let’s look at each team on the level of the four individuals most likely to comprise their playoff rotations. The list of players I’m assuming comprise this list as of now are as follows:
For this exercise, we’ll just use each starter’s FIP so far:
Again, the Yankees stack up pretty darn well in each matchup, and look even better when you consider the possibility of Sabathia starting on 3 days rest, thereby maximizing the number of starts he can make. The Angels would have the clear advantage by this standard, but they’re currently on the outside looking in and probably don’t have the bats to catch Texas in the West. The Red Sox again come out looking like they’re in a precarious position, with the worst third starter by far and a less than stellar fourth starter as well, considering that it’s Aceves. Boston could decide to give that start to Tim Wakefield, but he’s currently rocking a 5.08 FIP.
Of course, the real worry for the Yankees is that Colon and Garcia can’t hold up that long and that you can’t count on Burnett not to suck when his number’s called. And those are fair concerns, there’s just not really anything you do about them. If the Yankees can get an upgrade to the rotation at a reasonable price that would be great, but ovepaying for someone because you worry the clock might strike midnight too soon isn’t a wise way of doing business. Not to be too hokey, but sometimes you just have to roll the dice and hope the baseball gods smile upon you.
Thankfully the Yankees match up quite well against the other teams in the American League, so they’re as good a bet as anyone else to win the World Series right now.