Oct 5, 2010, 10:48 AM EDT
A.J. Burnett is in the second season of a five-year, $82.5 million contract, but the Yankees don’t even trust him enough to start Game 4 of the ALDS and will instead bump Burnett from the rotation while using CC Sabathia on short rest.
And it’s tough to blame them, because Burnett is 1-7 with a 6.61 ERA in 12 starts since August 1 and finished the season with a 5.26 ERA in 33 starts overall.
Including the playoffs Sabathia has made six career starts on three days’ rest, going 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA, and the 6-foot-7 southpaw told the Yankees he’d be “prepared to do that” if he got enough rest down the stretch.
Beyond bumping Burnett from the rotation the decision to bring Sabathia back on short rest for Game 4 also means that Andy Pettitte is lined up to start twice in the series, both in Minnesota, working Game 2 and (if necessary) Game 5. Phil Hughes will pitch Game 3.
Pettitte has pitched more innings and won more games in the playoffs than anyone in baseball history, but he’s also 38 years old and has started just three times since missing two months with a groin injury, giving up 11 runs on 22 hits in 13 innings. Hughes was great in the first half, but may be worn down from a career-high workload and has a 4.90 ERA in the second half. In other words, even while avoiding Burnett the Yankees still have some question marks in the postseason rotation.
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