With last night’s rainout and today’s doubleheader, the Yankees are now a starter short for Sunday’s contest with the Twins, as slated starter Javier Vazquez just lost a day of rest due to the rescheduling. Jscape2000 over at Pinstripe Alley presents the options:
Option 1: Short rest
They could ask Javy to pitch on 3 days rest Sunday in Minnesota. This would set up Hughes, Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte for next week’s two game sets with the Red Sox and Rays. This also lines up Javy to pitch the first game at CitiField, which Joe G has said he wants.
Option 2: Full rotation
Assume Vazquez pitches well today. They could use a spot starter on Sunday against the Twins, and then give either Hughes (who is on an innings limit) of Javy an extra day of rest.
Option 3: Skip a start
If things go badly, the Yanks could opt to use a spot starter on Sunday, and then simply skip Javy in the rotation again. This puts the aces on the field for the Red Sox and Rays series. Or if things go well, the Yanks may simply use the opportunity to give Hughes a breather and to re-align the rotation.
I would go with option #2. It is way too early to ask any pitcher to throw on 3 days rest, and none of these upcoming games are important enough to justify skipping Vazquez again just to properly line up the rotation for the Sox and Rays. The Yankees should simply use a spot starter on Sunday, and then let Vazquez get a shot against Boston. Skipping him against the Red Sox again will simply tell Javy that they do not believe in him at all, a dangerous message to send a player who has to be doubting himself at this point.
As for who should get the spot start, I think Ivan Nova actually makes the most sense for that slot. With Alfredo Aceves out, the Yankees are missing their regular long man, and Sergio Mitre seemed to be settling into that role over the season’s first month. The difference in expected performance between Nova and Mitre is not drastic, such that the Yankees can give Nova a shot and reward him for his strong performance and drastic improvement over the last 14 months. Furthermore, a good performance could establish him as a solid trade chip should they need to make an in-season move.
What do you think the Yankees should do?