Here's what we know: CC Sabathia is a horse, Andy Pettitte is solid but still recovering from injury, Phil Hughes can't start on 3 days rest, Ivan Nova is good for 4 innings, and AJ Burnett....well, flip a coin to figure out whether he'll be awesome or terrible. So, we want to maximize our best pitchers, minimize our worst, and try to protect Hughes' arm without sacrificing our chances of victory.
With that said, here's what the rotation should look like:
|ALDS Game 1||Wednesday, October 6||Sabathia||n/a|
|ALDS Game 2||Thursday, October 7||Pettitte||n/a|
|ALDS Game 3||Saturday, October 9||Hughes||n/a|
|ALDS Game 4||Sunday, October 10||Sabathia||3|
|ALDS Game 5||Tuesday, October 12||Pettitte||4|
ALCS Game 1
|Friday, October 15||Sabathia||4|
|ALCS Game 2||Saturday, October 16||??||n/a|
|ALCS Game 3||Monday, October 18||Pettitte||5|
|ALCS Game 4||Tuesday, October 19||Sabathia||3|
|ALCS Game 5||Wednesday, October 20||Hughes||10|
|ALCS Game 6||Friday, October 22||Pettitte||3|
|ALCS Game 7||Saturday, October 23||Sabathia||3|
WS Game 1
|Wednesday, October 27||Sabathia||3|
|WS Game 2||Thursday, October 28||Pettitte||5|
|WS Game 3||Saturday, October 30||??||n/a|
|WS Game 4||Sunday, October 31||Sabathia||3|
|WS Game 5||Monday, November 1||Hughes||10|
|WS Game 6||Wednesday, November 3||Pettitte||5|
|WS Game 7||Thursday, November 4||Sabathia||3|
I'm less concerned about any perceived home/road splits with Hughes and far more concerned with getting the most starts out of our best pitchers and making sure they're on the mound in the final two games of every series.
With this schedule, CC Sabathia would make all of his starts on 3 days rest (except Game 1 of the ALCS), but Andy Pettitte would only have to make one start on 3 days rest (Game 6 of the ALCS). If the postseason went to the max, those two would start 14 of the 19 playoff games.
After the Division series, Phil Hughes would start Games 5 of the ALCS and World Series, which should help alleviate some of the pressure as I wouldn't expect the Yankees to be down 3-1 with Sabathia and Pettitte starting 3 of the prior 4 games in both cases. You could also probably use Hughes for 2 innings of relief in Game 2 of the ALCS, to keep the rust off or play with house money should AJ Burnett or Ivan Nova actually give you 4-5 solid innings.
Most importantly, our fourth starter - AJ Burnett, in all likelihood - will only have to make 2 starts all postseason, and never later than Game 3 of either series. I'd rather gamble early and have CC and Andy in the tank for a must-win game later in the series.
Will Girardi do this? I hope so. As much as he's a by-the-book manager in all the bad ways, the Yankees did take the unconventional route (3 days rest for everybody) last season and it worked. Let's hope they do it again.