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Who would the Yankees start in a hypothetical one-game playoff?

Win or go home: who gets the ball?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, someway, as I am writing this, the New York Yankees are still in playoff contention, and currently sit within striking distance of the second wildcard slot. The winner of the second wildcard will start on the road against the team that does not win the AL West. So, the Yankees will either have to go up against the Oakland Athletics, and what I assume would be Jon Lester, or the California/Los Angeles/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim/the team with Mike Trout, and what would most likely be Jered Weaver. It would have been Garrett Richards if the injury bug didn't get him.

The question is, if the Yankees pull this off and sneak into that dreaded one-game playoff, who gets the ball. A few weeks into the season, Masahiro Tanaka would have been the hands down favorite to take the ball, but he is still rehabbing and trying his best to avoid the very popular Tommy John surgery. If Tanaka indeed returns and shows the Yankees that he is still as dominant as he was in the first half, do the Yankees give him the ball? Tanaka did beat Oakland earlier in the year, going six innings of one-run ball. We know Tanaka is going to give it all he has, which might be a risk given the fact that he once threw 160 pitches in a start during the Japan Series, only to come back the next day and throw 15 more for a save–if given the ball, he's not coming out. If Tanaka is 100% healthy, though, he might be the best bet.

How about Michael Pineda? His stuff might be just as filthy as Tanaka, and since returning from the disabled list, he's been just as good as he was in the first half. However, Pineda has never pitched in any big game, so would the pressure be too much? When on, Pineda can be unhittable, so perhaps he would be able to get the job done against a Mike Trout or that pesky Oakland lineup.

One pitcher that Joe would think long and hard about, and maybe even be the one he chooses because of that "veteran presence" that he loves so much, is Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda fared better against the Angels earlier in the year, than he did against Oakland where he didn't make it through five innings. Kuroda would keep you in the game, which is the least you can ask for, but in a one game playoff, where anything can happen, you need a dominating performance, and I don't know if Kuroda can do that this late in the year.

Brandon McCarthy is an interesting choice, but would probably not be the first choice for a win-or-go-home game. Aside from that minor hiccup in Detroit, McCarthy has pitched very well since coming from Arizona, and it would be interesting to see what he would do under that pressure. Shane Greene, anyone? Could be a fan favorite because of his youth and the incredibly nasty stuff he has, but let's be honest, Girardi wouldn't put Greene under that pressure. I mean, this kid forgot how to throw to first base in his first start ever in the Bronx, so I don't know if I would want to see him forget how to pitch in a playoff game.

If you were Joe Girardi, and the Binder was set on fire, who would you start with the season on the line?