At this point, the concern for the Yankees is their pitching. Yes, CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, and most of the bullpen will be fine. But beyond that (the other two starters) the Yankees have some issues.
A.J. Burnett’s 4.33 ERA in his past five starts is surprisingly an improvement, but that is not too telling considering his season ERA is north of five. In his past 10 starts, Burnett has pitched anywhere from three and a third innings, to eight innings. He touched on virtually every number in between as well.
Andy Pettitte, a notably 38 year-old left-hander, has pitched two games since coming off the disabled list with a groin injury. His first start was a brilliant six inning affair, during which he surrendered just one run on three hits. Five days later, he coughed up 10 hits and six earned in three and a third innings against the Red Sox.
What am I getting at? You cannot rely on either of these pitchers into the playoffs; or, to put it a little nicer, you should at least have a back-up.
That is where Ivan Nova comes in. Nova has pitched eight games this season for the Yankees, including a stunning, two-run, five and two-third innings start against the division rival Rays. Consequently, he finds himself of the brink of a postseason stint. If you ask me, he not only deserves it, but the Yankees need it.
Looking up and down the Yankees active roster, no one is better suited to back up one of the Yankees starters than Nova is.
Now, this is not to say that Burnett and Pettitte cannot be effective. Burnett has pitched a no-hitter, and Pettitte is one of the best pitchers of his era. Sure, they both deserve to be in the starting rotation in the first round of the playoffs, but don’t tell me you are comfortable without a back-up.