NEW YORK — The Yankees might go with a three-man rotation against the Los Angeles Angels in the American League championship series.
CC Sabathia is scheduled to start Friday night’s opener, with A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte as New York’s other two primary starters. The shortened rotation would allow manager Joe Girardi to keep Joba Chamberlain and Chad Gaudin in the bullpen.
“It looks like we have some rain in the forecast, so that can change things,” Girardi said Tuesday. “We are definitely considering possibly going to a three-man rotation in this round, but we’ll have to take a look at it and see how it goes.”
New York swept Minnesota in the opening round and used Chamberlain as a setup man in all three games. He pitched 1 2-3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits, and combined with Phil Hughes and the rest of the bullpen to bolster the link between starters and closer Mariano Rivera.
“That was pretty good with us in the first round,” Girardi said. “If you go to a three-man rotation, obviously he stays in the bullpen. But if you go to a four-man rotation, then we have to weigh the benefits of either putting Joba in the bullpen or putting Chad in the bullpen.”
Sabathia made his final three regular-season starts for Milwaukee on three days’ rest in 2008, then started again on short rest in the playoffs against Philadelphia. He lasted just 3 2-3 innings and lost to the Phillies.
New York limited him to 230 innings during the regular season — down from 253 the previous year. He will start the opener against the Angels on eight days’ rest, another factor the Yankees think will enable him to be effective in Game 4.
“Not getting him to 250 innings during the regular season allows us to consider that,” Girardi said. “We’ve told him, though, to concentrate on Game 1. That’s the most important game, and we’ll go from there.”
While Sabathia was 19-8 overall, he went 0-2 with a 6.08 earned-run average in two starts against the Angels.