ISSUE: Do the Yankees have the starting pitching necessary to get through even the best-of-five ALDS, let alone the subsequent best-of-seven series?
ANSWER: Sure, they do. They just won (97) games with this starting rotation. Having written that, there's no doubt that the Yankees' starting rotation has to be viewed as the club's greatest liability.
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ISSUE: How will the shift of Robinson Cano to the number three spot against righty pitchers impact the Yankees' lineup?
ANSWER: Very positively. This is a move that's long overdue. The Yankees just have to hope that Teixeira bounces back from a tough September and improves upon his postseason performances of the previous two Octobers.
ISSUE: Let's say there's a big at-bat against a lefty-hitting opponent in the sixth inning, and the starting pitcher is spent. Should the Yankees feel good about that scenario?
ANSWER: Well, they're paying $4 million to Pedro Feliciano . . . no, wait, he's injured. Hey! They're paying $4 million to Damaso Marte . . . no, wait, he's injured, too. So . . . no, they shouldn't feel good about that scenario. Boone Logan hasn't been very good.
ISSUE: Can Joe Girardi relax and push the right buttons?
ANSWER: He generally pushes the right buttons, although he made a couple of notable missteps (not lifting A.J. Burnett sooner, not giving up on David Robertson) in last year's ALCS loss to Texas. He'll never be Joe Torre in the calm, cool and collected department, but Girardi proved in 2009 that his presence won't preclude great things from happening.