Which starter goes to the pen in the Playoffs?

Would Phil’s short-arm delivery be more effective in the Pen?

In many years this question would have a cut and dry answer but this year’s staff has seen a lot of fluctuation.  A couple of weeks ago, Pettitte seemed like he may not be ready following his broken ankle, but now he’s pitched brilliantly.  In the course of the same couple of weeks, Nova went from a forgotten starter on the DL,  to a likely playoff starter and back to limbo.

The opponent and ballpark may sway the decision to go with a certain pitcher and will surely affect the order of the starters.  For instance, Phil Hughes 11-4, 3.74 era – 1.18 whip at Home and severe problems with RH hitters will likely have Girardi looking to start him in the Bronx.  But, who is going to be the odd man out in the likely 4-man playoff rotation?  Sabathia & Kuroda have to be 2 definites as they have been 1 & 2 in the rotation for most of the year.  CC went through a rough stretch upon coming off the DL but his last 2 starts have been fantastic.  Kuroda has not had a good September but was a rock from May through August.

Andy Pettitte’s only question is his health.  And so far, in his 2 starts since coming off the DL, he looks great.  He’s yet to give up a run, throwing 75 and 88 pitches, respectively.  He’s only scheduled to get 1 more regular season start but that should be enough for him to get the green light for the playoff rotation.  Andy’s only made 11 starts on the season but he seems to provide a spark to the team when he’s on the mound as they are 8-3 when he pitches.  His playoff experience, guile and determination make him a must-start in my opinion.

That leaves Hughes and Nova.  Nova looked like a brand new man on Sept. 15th.  He unveiled a new motion, increased velocity,  crisper breaking pitches and much improved command.  But he threw it all away by getting knocked out after 2.1 innings in his next start.  He still has time to prove himself with 2 starts remaining but can he do enough to pass Hughes? Phil has had a respectable year and leads the team in victories.  Unfortunately, his propensity to give up HRs and his odd reverse platoon splits might make him a bad matchup against a team like Baltimore with a lot of RH power.

There’s a lot more to consider and as we have seen recently, a starter’s stock can plummet or rise with one performance.  Often we are swayed by the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately-attitude but usually looking at a pitcher’s complete season gives you a better idea of his value.  Who would you use as starters in the playoffs and will it depend on the matchups?  Has Pettitte shown enough to play his usual Game 3 starter role?  If Nova pitches like he did on 9/15 over the next 2 starts, is he in the rotation?  Does the fact that Hughes has a history as a lights-out relief pitcher make it smarter to start Nova with Hughes in the pen?  All things to consider and comment on below……let’s hear it.

  W L ERA GS IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
                       
Hiroki Kuroda 14 11 3.34 31 207.1 1.133 8.2 1.0 2.0 6.9 3.38
CC Sabathia* 14 6 3.42 27 192.0 1.161 8.4 1.0 2.0 8.9 4.42
Phil Hughes 16 13 4.10 31 186.2 1.243 9.1 1.6 2.1 7.8 3.66
Ivan Nova 12 7 4.94 27 165.2 1.461 10.2 1.5 2.9 8.1 2.76
Freddy Garcia 7 6 5.30 17 105.1 1.396 9.6 1.5 3.0 7.3 2.43
Andy Pettitte* 5 3 2.71 11 69.2 1.120 7.8 0.9 2.3 8.4 3.61
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/27/2012.
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About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on September 27, 2012, in Analysis, Personal Opinion, Player Analysis. Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. nova will be the long man,…… garcia the short man in case of injury,…. hughes the 4th starter if problems with days off

    the rotation will be cc, andy, kuroda

    anyone of them gets in serious trouble,.. you bring in nova as the lonmg man, someone that can pitch inning 4-7, and hold the other team down,…. while the yankees make a come back

    thats it,.. you have to save nova for the pen in case a team gets out early through the first 3-4 innings and the other team just is seeing the ball out of the starters hand too well,..

    you can reverse it to hughes,.. hughes is the 4th starter,… nova the long man, in the post season

    much like the mets used fernandez in game 7 of the 86 world series,.. the mets went down,,.. they brought inj fernandez as the long man,…. and before you knew it, strawberry and knight homered,.. and the mets were world champoions

    although fenandez i believe did start game 3 or 4 in fenway,…

    and wiobn it, if my memory is correct

    nova isnt that good to come back as a long man in a game 7

    you reserv e noa back as the long man, in case you neec lights out pitching in a game you get behind in the first 4 innings

  2. in other words, nova may not be good ebnough to both start and long relieve in the same series,… so you hold nova back, as your ace for long relief, in a game you need , just in case,.. and it probablky will turn out to be a game 7

  3. If you had Hughes with the most wins at this point in the season raise your hand.

  4. In a 3 game series I want.

    C.C.
    Kuroda
    Pettitte

    and Hughes in the pen ready to go if one of those 3 gets in any trouble.

    • i disagreee,……. nova has the better stuff,… hughes mustr be a 4th starter,.. but you dont bring him in , in the 3rd or 4th down 3 runs,…

      you bring in nova to pitch inning, 4, 5, 6, 7,… lights out

      this is the world sweries man,….. maybe a game 7,….. you dont pitch hughes in long relief

      you go with the best stuff

  5. First round rotation:

    CC, Kuroda, Pettitte, Hughes

    Bullpen:

    Nova, Garcia.

    • I would not have predicted Hughes would lead this team in victories. However, he also leads the team in losses with 29 decisions in 31 starts.

      Kuroda should have led the team in Wins but got poor run support. Kuroda was their best pitcher for a good portion of this season but has not been good this month giving up leads far too often.

    • You got the mix I would name as my 4 starters. But a word of caution should be used. I want to give the pitchers a chance to win or lose their place in the starting four.

    • I would go with Nova and Phelps in long relief in the pen.

  6. right, but in any series, you pitch nova in a ganme 4 as a starter, you cant bring him back in a gamne 7 in the 4th or 5th inning,

    you hold him back, cause he is better than hughes and garcia,….. til you need a lights out hold-down guy

    it is a compliment to nova

  7. hughes is the 4th starter if necessary,.. garcia is the injury starter if necessary,… and nova is the lights out long man if necessary

    novas roll is the most importanbt roll,.. cause it could come in a game 7

    thats it,

    it will be up to girardi though

  8. dickey got his 20th just now,…… he could become the first knuckleballer in history to win a cy young

    one more start to go

    • Jeter throws a better knuckleball i would bet on that.

    • As an ex pitcher I have a problem with Dickey being the CY Young winner. He is the only knuckleballer in the majors. What other sport has this kind of uniqueness in their sport? Gio Gonzalez is the Cy Young winner in my book, he is on a contender and has some of the best stuff in baseball. Sabermetrically he is ahead of Dickey also. Dickey was a sub par pitcher with Texas and was on his way out of baseball until he picked up the knuckler. I just look at Gio as more of a Cy Young typer pitcher, Dickey is a trick pitch pitcher.

  9. I would do it this way. Who has the best stuff when on their game? For me it will always be Nova when compared to Hughes and Phelps so he gets the start.

  10. nope, the fact nova has the best stuff,..puts him as the long stopper,.. to win the world series,..

    • You have no clue about anything do you?

      The long stopper – LMAO!

      Girardi will never use a long stopper!

      What a role to have…I am the long stopper!

  11. Ha ha …….what is a long stopper…..a 7’3″ Mariano Rivera?

  12. TWASP,, NOTR SURE HOW OLD YOUY ARE,.. BUT WANT TO KNOW WHAT LONG STPPOER IS,.. PULL OUT GAME 7 OF THE 1986 WORLD SERIES

    I THOUGHT I MADE MYSELF CLEAR

  13. Ok Jim , a long stopper is a metal circle you put in the bath tub to stop the water from going down the drain.

  14. NO, .. IT IS A STARTER LIKE SYD FERNANDEZ,.. THATS HAS A LIGHRSX OUT FASTBALL,.. AND CAN COME IN A GAME 7 IN THE 4TH INNING, AND PITCH 3,4,5 IUNNINGS, AND SHUT THE OPPONET DOWN,….. WHILE GIVING YOUR OWN TEAM A CHANGE TO COME BACK

    THIS IS NOVAS ROLL THIS SEASON,… UNLESS GIRARDI MESSES IT UP

  15. I’ve heard it called the long man in the BP. Never the long stopper. He’s the guy you bring in when your starter is getting beat up early.

  16. I think I agree with the ghost of Free Hankies……… Nova has the best stuff when he’s on…start him 3rd in the playoffs. Hughesnwas untouchable out of the pen , make him the long STOPPER if we need early relief for CC or Andy or Corona.

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