Friday, August 04, 2006

Projected Rotation

I'm getting excited. Real excited. Excited to the point where I have to take a step back and realize that although the Yankees are playing some of the best ball in the Majors right now, anything can happen in two months. Cliché, yes, but all too true.

I think I'm harping on this more emphatically than just about any other sports writer I know or have read: the Yankees are in for one helluva 22-game stretch this month. Absent a rain out, the team is going to be all sorts of tired at some point during this three-week stretch. To think that none of the five starters will have a meltdown start is quite naïve.

Because there's not much interesting to write about today – and because I don't have enough time to do adequate research for a substantial column – let's peek at the projected rotation throughout this horrid stretch of 22 games in 21 days (well, 25 in 24, since I'm going to start with this weekend). The city name denotes an away game, team name a home one.

DateOppPitcher
8/4BaltimoreRandy
8/5BaltimoreMussina
8/6BaltimoreWright
8/7OFF!
8/8ChicagoWang
8/9ChicagoLidle
8/10ChicagoJohnson
8/11AngelsMussina
8/12AngelsWright
8/13AngelsWang
8/14AngelsLidle
8/15OriolesJohnson
8/16OriolesMussina
8/17OriolesWright
8/18BostonWang
8/18BostonPonson*
8/19BostonLidle
8/20BostonJohnson
8/21BostonMussina
8/22SeattleWright
8/23SeattleWang
8/24SeattleLidle
8/25AnaheimJohnson
8/26AnaheimMussina
8/27AnaheimWright

* He's the only guy available who wouldn't be on short rest, and you don't want to be pitching on short rest during a stretch like this in August.

Of course, this whole table could be moot should Joe decide to juggle the rotation during the off-day. I wouldn't advise it, since you want to (intangibles warning) keep everyone in a groove entering a stretch like this.

This is, of course, a best-case scenario. And when you look at it, the matchups aren't terrible. Wright misses Boston, though Ponson will be forced into action. The biggest disappointment, I'd say, is that Mussina won't pitch against Chicago, which gives me the feeling that Joe will, in fact, juggle the rotation to set that up.

You'd also like to get Wright-Lidle-Randy against the Orioles. I'm wondering aloud of any of these can be accomplished with the utilization of the off-day.

UPDATE!!

DateOppPitcher
8/4BaltimoreRandy
8/5BaltimoreMussina
8/6BaltimoreWright
8/7OFF!
8/8ChicagoWang
8/9ChicagoJohnson
8/10ChicagoMussina
8/11AngelsLidle
8/12AngelsWright
8/13AngelsWang
8/14AngelsJohnson
8/15OriolesMoose
8/16OriolesLidle
8/17OriolesWright
8/18BostonWang
8/18BostonPonson
8/19BostonJohnson
8/20BostonMussina
8/21BostonLidle
8/22SeattleWright
8/23SeattleWang
8/24SeattleJohnson*
8/25AnaheimMussina
8/26AnaheimLidle
8/27AnaheimWright

*This start, in my mind, is dependent on circumstance. If the team is doing well through this stretch and have won the first two games against Seattle, I am in favor of pitching Ponson in this spot, sliding Johnson back to pitch the opener against Anaheim. That will set up the series as Randy-Moose-Lidle, which I like a ton better than Moose-Lidle-Wright. Of course, there's the possibility that Seattle is playing better than Anaheim at this point, making the substitution moot.

It will be of the utmost importance to get Ponson into some games – preferably in relief of 5-Innings Wright – prior to the Boston series. If he's going to pitch, you don't want him pitching with rust in such an important series.

Then again, the rotation can be juggled so that Wright pitches in the Boston series instead. Pitching Ponson against the Orioles would be the alternative here, which works for me on two levels. First, it's against a much shittier team. Second, it's against Ponson against his old team, one who he believes wronged him. It may not be true, but that's what he believes. Might as well give him a shot against them.

DateOppPitcher
8/4BaltimoreRandy
8/5BaltimoreMussina
8/6BaltimoreWright
8/7OFF!
8/8ChicagoWang
8/9ChicagoJohnson
8/10ChicagoMussina
8/11AngelsLidle
8/12AngelsWright
8/13AngelsWang
8/14AngelsJohnson
8/15OriolesMussina
8/16OriolesLidle
8/17OriolesPonson
8/18BostonWang
8/18BostonWright
8/19BostonJohnson
8/20BostonMussina
8/21BostonLidle
8/22SeattleWright
8/23SeattleWang
8/24SeattleJohnson*
8/25AnaheimMussina
8/26AnaheimLidle
8/27AnaheimWright