Girardi not thinking about playoff rotation yet

Girardi not thinking about playoff rotation yet

Girardi not thinking about playoff rotation yet
TORONTO -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi hasn't settled on how he'll map out his rotation next week, a week that will feature an eight-game homestand and a Wednesday doubleheader against the Rays.

But the bigger question is how Girardi will map out his rotation going into the playoffs -- or, more specifically, how he'll plan it out so that CC Sabathia starts the first postseason game.

With the team's magic number to clinch a spot at six entering Saturday's game against the Blue Jays, that's a subject Girardi is staying away from. But considering Sabathia is slated to start one of the two Wednesday games at Yankee Stadium on normal rest, that would put his next turn for Sept. 26 or 27 -- depending on whether the Yankees go with a five- or six-man rotation -- and that would mean he'd have to pitch on short rest to start Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Sept. 30.

"We just haven't decided what we're going to do," Girardi said. "We're going to see where we're at and what we're going to do. Let's just wait."

Girardi, of course, wants to make sure his club clinches before he even thinks about the playoffs. But some advanced planning must be done if he hopes to maximize his usage of Sabathia in October.

To have Sabathia pitch Game 1, the Yanks' manager seemingly has two options:

1. With Sabathia already at 32 starts and 230 innings, he could pitch him just one more time this season and have him be on extended rest going in. If he starts Wednesday, as expected, that would mean it's eight days between starts heading into Game 1. If he starts him later in the week, he'd have an extended layoff in each of his next two turns.

2. Sabathia pitches on short rest at some point. Either he starts on Wednesday, then goes on three days' rest Sunday against the Red Sox -- maybe on a reduced workload -- to be lined up for the playoffs, or he makes his last regular-season start on Sept. 26 and goes into the playoffs on short rest.

Sabathia has a 4.56 ERA in his last eight starts, seven of which have come with an extra day of rest. Throughout that time, Girardi has checked on his ace periodically, and even gave him an extra day after throwing 111 pitches against the Blue Jays on Sept. 4 -- a start that came five days after throwing 128 against the Red Sox.

But if Girardi is thinking ahead to the postseason -- and his meticulous nature would point to that -- he isn't speaking about it publicly.

"I can't tell you exactly what I'm going to do [for the playoffs], because we're not in that situation," he said. "We've got to see after his next start how he feels. You're asking a hypothetical question and I can't answer it, because I don't know where we're going to be and I don't know how he's going to feel after his next start. Let's just wait and see after he starts on Wednesday, then we'll look at Friday and Saturday and decide what we're going to do."