The placing of Andy Pettite on the 15-day DL on July 20th as a result of a groin injury may have more of an impact than one would expect. Several pitchers in the Yankees’ rotation have experienced problems throughout the year, including Javier Vasquez (4.68 ERA, 7 losses) and A.J. Burnett (1 win in last 8 starts, including 6 losses). Pettite, even at his old age, had become one of the most reliable Yankee pitchers, earning an All-Star spot. With Petitte out, the Yankees are going to have to rely mainly on their ace, C.C. Sabathia, who hasn’t lost a decision since May 23rd, and has won 9 of his last 10 starts. Beyond Phil Hughes (11-3), the Yankees have no other solid starters, and might have to make some calls to AAA.
However unreliable the starting pitching is, the bullpen is worse. Beyond the 40 year-old Mariano Rivera, whose days are numbered, the bullpen is at most a ragtag group of youngsters sporting a 4.25 ERA, good for 17th in the league. The Yankees are going to have to do better than that if they want to repeat as World Champions (The bullpen had a 3.91 ERA last year). Available relievers and starters are also few and far between. The Yankees have to initiate a trade or hope for the best in picking up a mediocre free-agent reliever. For now, the Bombers will count on the stacked lineup including All-Stars Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, and Alex Rodriguez.
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