If the Yankees find themselves in the postseason this October, the odds are good their pitching will have gotten them there.
That’s not to say there aren’t questions surrounding the rotation.
Many of the most talented arms in the arsenal are a year or two away from retirement, including starters Andy Pettitte (40) and Hiroki Kuroda (38), and closer Mariano Rivera (43).
The Yankees’ two best starting pitchers under 30 years old, Phil Hughes and Michael Pineda, will begin the season on the disabled list.
But this is a talented group.
If all goes according to plan, Pettitte and Rivera will walk off into the sunset with final seasons befitting their respective Yankee legacies, Kuroda will be as strong a No. 2 starter as he was a year ago (16-11, 3.32 ERA, 167 Ks), Hughes won’t miss much time and win a dozen games and Pineda will be back for the second half to showcase why he made the All-Star team as a 22-year-old rookie in 2011.
The one rock Yankee fans should be able to count on throughout 2013 is the man taking the ball Monday on Opening Day, CC Sabathia.
He’s been a model of consistency since joining the Yankees in 2009, the last time this team won the World Series. His ERA has been between 3.00 and 3.38 in each of his four seasons in the Bronx. He’s efficient (league-leading 4.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio) and he can go nine innings on a good day (9 complete games as a Yankee).
Along with Sabathia, manager Joe Girardi need not worry about his bullpen talent. Even after missing the majority of 2012 with a knee injury, Rivera’s cutter should continue to mow down (pun intended) hitters in the ninth.
David Robertson, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain return to form a strong core of relievers.