The Yankees finished up a 4-2 homestand and a pretty solid final first half turn through the rotation yesterday. Their diminished former ace pitched well enough to win on Wednesday, their new ace and backup ace looked like aces on Thursday and Friday, their recovering TJS guy continued to show some positive signs in his battle to regain his pre-surgery form on Saturday, and their young development project turned in his 9th start of 3 ER or fewer in his last 10 yesterday. The Yankee rotation has had no shortage of concerns and conversations surrounding it this season. From injury concerns to workload concerns to performance concerns to concerns over who should and should not be in it. After a first half of spot juggling, injury replacing, extra rest days, and harsh realities, the team already has its plan mapped out for the start of the second half. Per Dan Barbarisi yesterday morning:
Yankees will go tanaka, pineda, sabathia, eovaldi, nova coming out of the All Star Break.
— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) July 12, 2015
Looks like the rotation order you would have expected to see on Opening Day had all 5 of those pitchers been healthy. Considering the order going into the break was Sabathia, Tanaka, Pineda, Nova, Eovaldi, there is clearly some more rest management and big picture planning at work here. Factor in the days off for the All-Star break, and that starting 5 will open the second half with a rest schedule that breaks down like this:
Tanaka- 7 days Pineda- 7 days Sabathia- 10 days Eovaldi- 8 days Nova- 10 days
Clearly this shuffle is built around creating more rest time for Sabathia. The team has made it clear that he isn't getting pulled from the rotation as long as he's healthy enough to stay in it, With him recently having his knee drained for the second time this season, the plan here seems to be to give him as much time off as possible to keep that knee healthy.
Nova gets a few extra days too by being bumped back to the 5-spot and the scheduled off-day next Monday, and that's not a bad thing. I'm sure the Yankees will have him throwing bullpens during that time to stay fresh, and maybe Nova can use that extra time to start finding the finer command of his pitches. Tanaka and Pineda get a few extra days, which is beneficial to the goals of keeping Tanaka's arm and Pineda's innings count managed, and Eovaldi gets some more time to continue working on his splitter.
The Yankees have a lot of different goals running in parallel to the grind of playing series and winning games with respect to their rotation right now, and the All-Star break gives them a great opportunity to manage some of those goals without going against that last ultimate one. To be able to line up their 2 best starters for the first games out of the second half gate and also give some more time off to CC's knee is very helpful. Hopefully it leads to a good second half start for those pitchers and the team.