Article by Marco Levine.
In baseball, a team can live or die by how the starting pitching does in the season. At least, three or four good starters are needed to turn in a winning year. Last season, the Yankees pitching staff was good enough to get them into the playoffs. There will be changes made for this year. What follows is a look at the 2011 pitching rotation.
First is C.C. Sabathia. He was the work horse of the staff in 2010. That fact can become a bad thing. What the question is to be answered is will his arm withstand the season without any problems. The Yankees need him to be the ace once again.
The number two pitcher will be Phil Hughes. Last year, he was able to win 18 games and make the All-Star game. This year should be better for him since the so called “training wheels” are off. There should be no inning limits on him this year. Can the Yankees expect 20 wins from him in the 2011 season? Only time will answer that question.
If Andy Pettitte decides to come back to pitch this year, he will be third pitcher for the Yankees. He proved last year to all that he can still pitch after having a great record until he was injured. He should be counted upon to win 15 games. The Yankees need for him to return this season.
A.J. Burnett stands as the number four starter. Normally he would be a number one or two pitcher. Since he had a real bad year in 2010, his position is lowered in the rotation. Hopefully, he worked on his pitching over the winter and will continue to improve his skills in spring training. If he does not improve, it may be a long year for him and the Yankees.
The final spot besides the one that would open up if Andy Pettitte retires can be taken from a number of people. The list includes: Ivan Nova, Andrew Brackman, Sergio Mitre, Bartolo Colon, and Mark Prior. Each pitcher offers different things.
First, Ivan Nova is still a rookie and would have inning limits. As for Andrew Backman, he has not pitched in the major leagues at all. Additionally, Sergio Mitre, can serve better as a long reliever. Bartolo Colon and Mark Prior have had great success in the past but both of them are coming off major injuries. It will be interesting to see who wins a spot(s) in the rotation.
If 2 or 3 of the starting pitchers have a bad year, the season may not be a success for the Yankees. Many people will agree that the projective starting staff should be able to lead the Yankee to the playoffs. After spring training is over and the 5 starters are named, all will be left is for the umpire to say “play ball”.