• Four Horses Key To Reaching Fall Classic?

    Posted by on January 24th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    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.

    Comments on Four Horses Key To Reaching Fall Classic?

    1. Andrew
      January 24th, 2008 | 11:20 pm

      So…the Yankees should sign Kyle Lohse to pitch terribly for four years, because they need ‘stability’, right?

    2. j
      January 25th, 2008 | 12:09 am

      Trying to do this sort of hand waving analysis is a slippery slope. The essence of what I believe Steve is trying to say is that when the Yankees have good pitchers who don’t get injured, they are World Series contenders. If starters get injured, they don’t make 25 starts. If starters stink, they don’t make 25 starts. You can replace “they don’t make 25 starts” with “they don’t have a great shot at winning the WS” in each of those sentences and have a leg to stand on.

      That said, 25 starts from 4 or 5 guys isn’t some magical number that guarantees the Yankees a World Series. Mussina can certainly become that 5.00 ERA/25+ start guy if Joe Girardi wants to keep running him out there. That’s not doing anyone any good.

    3. Yu Hsing Chen
      January 25th, 2008 | 2:37 am

      Your not seeing the blantly obvious problem there Steve? you pointed out yourself that in 06 they had guys that pitched that much but because 2 of them (Wright and RJ ) sucked, it didn’t matter.

      But then you want to sign a guy who’ll pitch that much.. and suck just as much… ?

      Look, I can see what your getting at, but even you realize that Lohse would take a Carl Pavano deal. If you abosalutely think this is important to have someone chew up innings then your better off looking to see if Livan Hernandez would take a short deal or if Shawn Chacon has any interest.

    4. dan l
      January 25th, 2008 | 2:48 am

      With the depth of pitching coming up from the minors the need to have your staff that you started the season with make all the starts isn’t as important for this season.

      To me the thing that really rings home is when comparing Boston to NY last year there starters went six plus innings 15 times more and 14 were seven or more. This directly led to NY having 80 more inning out of the pen.

      If you could get the big three to produce what Tim Lincecum did last year plus Mussina being better the Yankees will be more then fine.

      Lincecum 24 starts with 18 going six innings plus with nine of those 7 plus.

    5. Raf
      January 25th, 2008 | 3:16 pm

      That said, 25 starts from 4 or 5 guys isn’t some magical number that guarantees the Yankees a World Series.
      Yes, because there are other playoff teams in those years that fit the criteria of 25 starts from 4 or 5 guys. So why didn’t they win?

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