While the rainout of Game 1 is certainly frustrating to us as fans, it’s got to be even more frustrating for Joe Girardi, as the loss of Sunday’s off day creates a host of problems for the Yankees’ manager to navigate now, and has turned this ALDS on its head.
The first problem, obviously, is what to do with C.C. Sabathia. The big guy is saying he’ll lobby for the ball on Sunday, which would in theory allow him to pitch again in Game 5 on short rest, but my guess is the Yankees’ won’t push their ace that hard, and we won’t see C.C. until Monday night, which would then be the only game of the series he can start. Secondly, playing four days in a row will force the Yankees to use four starting pitchers instead of three, and my guess is that means A.J. Burnett will start Game 4 if necessary. Both teams are being given the chance to reset their rosters, so the Yankees could add Bartolo Colon if they want, but for some reason I’m pretty sure it will be Burnett Girardi asks to take the hill if they do play a Game 4, though I would expect them to add another pitcher to the bullpen.
But the big problem for the Yankees is that playing four days in a row will significantly limit Girardi’s ability to aggressively deploy his bullpen. Under the traditional ALDS format that includes no more than two straight days of play, Girardi could have pushed Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, and Rafael Soriano in the late innings, safe in the knowledge that he wouldn’t have to ask them to pitch any more than two days in a row. Now, without an off day for at least four days, Girardi will have to be more judicious and take care to not overwork any of those guys. That totally negates a big advantage the Yankees had coming into the series, and puts a lot more pressure on Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, and whomever the fourth starter they (potentially) ask to take the hill might be.
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