With the exception of Rafael Soriano, the important pieces Yankees bullpen is completely rested and even Soriano is available after the off-day yesterday. Manager Joe Girardi has also indicated that he would be willing to use starters CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett out of the bullpen if necessary tonight.
So the Yankees have quite a bit of options when it comes to the pen tonight. Ivan Nova is of course starting and despite the fact that he has earned quite a bit of trust, he will probably be on a short leash with so many relievers fresh.
Speaking with reporters before the game tonight, Girardi indicated that he may go with David Robertson and Mariano Rivera over the final three innings. That presumably makes Soriano the 6th inning guy if there is trouble there.
The thing about Rivera is that because he is 41-years-old, Girardi has indicated that he will not push him too far past the 40-pitch mark. That is where Sabathia comes in. If Rivera comes in during the 8th inning and gets to the 40 pitch mark before he finishes off the game it sounds like that is the spot where The Big Man will come in.
I can see Sabathia coming in earlier if Nova gets hurt or gets shelled early. A.J. Burnett is probably the long-man only if there is extra innings.
Phil Hughes is the x-factor in all of this. He pitched well in game four, but he has been so inconsistent all season that they probably won’t just throw him into a big spot. My guess is that he either comes in early after Wade and before Soriano/D-Rob/Mo or he won’t pitch at all.
Now watch, Girardi will do something crazy and none of this will be correct. Can’t predict baseball and all of that.