The Yankees have won 102 games and apart from their slow start, dominated the American League. But none of that matters now as Wednesday as they will begin their quest for a championship against either Minnesota or Detroit.
What will ultimately determine if the Yankees are successful in that quest is their starting pitching and that is an area for concern. C.C. Sabathia was wonderful in the regular season, but he was awful on Friday and sports a 7.92 ERA in the postseason. AJ Burnett has been inconsistent all season and he has never pitched in the postseason. Joba Chamberlain hasn’t been the same pitcher since late July and might not even make the postseason roster. Andy Pettitte is the one guy with a track record, but Joe Girardi may not use him until Game 3 of the ALDS.
Some will suggest that it won’t matter what the pitchers do. The Yankees certainly have plenty of offense, but offense tends to disappear in October and recent history shows us how important pitching is now. The 2002, 2003 and 2004 Yankees all won 100+ games but couldn’t bring home the ultimate prize because the pitching didn’t hold up. The Yankees’ fortunes this month are tied to Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte and Joba. Let’s hope they are ready to deliver.