I thought this was an interesting list:
Year Number Yankees Pitchers With 25+ Games Started 1999 5 Hernandez / Irabu / Cone / Pettitte / Clemens 2006 4 Wang / Johnson / Mussina / Wright 2003 4 Pettitte / Clemens / Wells / Mussina 2000 4 Clemens / Pettitte / Cone / Hernandez 1998 4 Pettitte / Cone / Wells / Irabu 2007 3 Pettitte / Wang / Mussina 2004 3 Vazquez / Lieber / Mussina 2002 3 Mussina / Wells / Clemens 2001 3 Mussina / Clemens / Pettitte 2005 2 Johnson / Mussina
You expect to see 1998-2000 and 2003 at the top of this list. And, you expect to see 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007 on the bottom half. But, how did 2006 sneak up there with 1998, 2000, and 2003?
The answer is Randy Johnson. The Big Unit was terrible in 2006 (5.00 ERA and -15 RSAA) – but, he kept going out there for a regular turn. (Jaret Wright was actually much better than Johnson in ’06 – with an ERA of 4.49 and -2 RSAA.) So, really, 2006 (in terms of their placement on this list) is a freak…thanks to Randy.
Therefore, if you discount 2006, there’s a case to be made, based on this list order, that, when the Yankees manage to get 25+ starts out of 4 pitchers or more, since 1998, they’ve been a World Series club.
Another feather in the cap of rotation stability?
One would hope that Pettitte, Wang, Hughes and Mussina – and perhaps Kennedy too – could all make 25+ starts each, this season. It’s not a huge reach. But, if only three of them manage at least 25 starts this year, it could mean bad news in the Bronx (again) come October.