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How will the schedule affect the 5th starter?

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I have a feeling all this talk about who'll win the fifth starter spot will be for naught, as these 'problems' tend to solve themselves, whether by injury or ineffectiveness. What are the odds that a 38-year-old Andy Pettitte and 33-year-old A.J. Burnett stay healthy all year? (Yes, they did last year but that seems more like the exception.)

Anyway, assuming everyone is healthy, how will Girardi use the early off-days?

The Yanks open the season on April 4th, then have an off-day, then play two, then have another off-day (really, schedule-makers?), then play three, then have a third off-day (after just six games). They don't play four straight until their first homestand (beginning April 13th).

Assuming Girardi doesn't skip pitchers with all the off-days, here's how the early schedule looks:

April 4

Sabathia

April 5

off-day

April 6

Burnett

April 7

Pettitte

April 8

off-day

April 9

Vazquez

April 10

5th SP

April 11

Sabathia

April 12

off-day

April 13

Burnett

April 14

Pettitte

April 15

Vazquez

April 16

5th SP

April 17

Sabathia

April 18

Burnett

April 19

off-day

April 20

Pettitte

April 21

Vazquez

April 22

5th SP

April 23

Sabathia

April 24

Burnett

Sabathia pitches four times (with extra rest between all his starts), and the fifth starter thrice. In fact, every starter will pitch on extra rest at least twice in the first three weeks.

Now here's the schedule using the off-days to skip starters:

April 4

Sabathia

April 5

off-day

April 6

Burnett

April 7

Pettitte

April 8

off-day

April 9

Sabathia

April 10

Vazquez

April 11

Burnett

April 12

off-day

April 13

Pettitte

April 14

Sabathia

April 15

Vazquez

April 16

Burnett

April 17

5th SP

April 18

Pettitte

April 19

off-day

April 20

Sabathia

April 21

Burnett

April 22

Vazquez

April 23

Pettitte

April 24

5th SP

So Sabathia still goes four times, but all on normal rest, while the fifth starter goes only twice. Is keeping the first four starters on normal rest more valuable than giving Joba or Hughes regular work? After all the talk we heard last year about how Joba needed to 'have the reins taken off' and 'get into a routine,' is it right to start him just twice in the first three weeks (if he wins the spot)?

Poll

Should Girardi skip the fifth starter when possible?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Yes
    (126 votes)
  • 51%
    No
    (332 votes)
  • 26%
    Depends who the 5th SP is
    (173 votes)
  • 2%
    I can't decide
    (19 votes)
650 votes total Vote Now