We're Still Waiting for Doomsday From the Yankee Rotation

Freddy Garcia's perfect day keeps the ball rolling

By Josh Alper
|  Wednesday, Mar 9, 2011  |  Updated 9:45 AM EDT
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We're Still Waiting for Doomsday From the Yankee Rotation

AP

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Brian Cashman is probably feeling pretty good about his decision making when it comes to the starting rotation at this hour.

Cashman, to much consternation, passed on making any splashy moves this offseason in favor of holding an open competition among unexciting names for two spots in the rotation.

He's looking smarter by the day. Zack Greinke, one of the players people wanted in the Bronx who wound up going to the Brewers in a trade, is going to miss a few starts after cracking a rib while playing basketball. Can you imagine the reaction that would have garnered from fans and media? 

It probably would sound something like the sky is falling, all hope is lost rhetoric that provided the backdrop for the run-up to the start of spring training. The Yankees were putting their chances for the season on the right arms of Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, Sergio Mitre and Bartolo Colon and everyone thought it was nothing more than a great big joke.

Those four and Cashman are the only ones laughing right now. Garcia needed just 30 pitches to throw three perfect innings against the Braves on Tuesday, continuing the torrid start of the four erstwhile stooges. They've now combined to allow one earned run and one walk over their 20 innings of work while striking out 14 during their nine appearances.

Now, before you decide to pipe in with your admonitions, we know that it is a small sample size compiled early in exhibition games against less than imposing competition.

There's very little reason to believe that this early success will breed a 162-game long run that makes the American League race little more than an annoyance on the way to a 28th World Series championship. Lineups will get tougher, hitters will work themselves into shape and the results will look a little less impressive as time moves along.

But the early success has given us all a chance to take a deep breath and remember exactly what these pitchers will be asked to do for the team this season. Garcia, Nova and company don't need to carry the team by pitching at this unsustainable pace. They merely need to avoid being so awful that the superior Yankee lineup and bullpen aren't able to earn their team victories over the long run.

These 20 innings don't guarantee that outcome and they do nothing to shake the belief that the Yankees will make a move at some point, but it does make you believe a little bit more that they won't have to make that move out of the desperate position they were in a couple of months ago. That would be a tremendous win for Cashman and for the chances of that 28th title.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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