The New York Yankees have achieved a playoff berth, but now comes the most difficult part: deciding whether to rest or play your starters.
Just a few short weeks ago, injuries had truly taken hold of the New York Yankees. A spot in the playoffs was likely but not promised, with a seven-game losing streak and a frustrating lack of offense from the supposed Bronx Bombers.
As of Sept. 20, the Yankees and fans can take a much-needed breath. The playoffs are an official lock with just six games left in the regular season, and they know their spot is waiting for them. Relaxation can’t come just yet though. In fact, it cannot come until a World Series trophy is thrust into their hands on the podium at Yankee Stadium.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, there are still concerns regarding the regular season.
The biggest question moving forward is what do the Yankees do with their starters? With a playoff spot already clinched and not much movement likely happening in the next few days as far as seeding, do they decide to rest their starters in preparation for the playoffs or allow them to finish up the regular season?
This is an age-old question in various sports. Over the years, the New England Patriots always got flack for resting starters after the AFC East was locked up going into the final week of the season. For the Yankees, that method has worked and also backfired.
The 2020 season being so incredibly different has made it that much more difficult to make this decision. With the Yankees playing their final regular-season game on Sept. 27, they go right into their Wild Card series on Sept. 29. From there, there will be no off-days for travel since they’ve finally decided to implement the playoff bubble.
With zero off-days, it makes sense to rest these starters while the Yankees can. After all, injuries were running rampant through this team just a few weeks ago and the workload is only going to get more intense once the playoffs commence.
On the other hand, resting starters could mean players getting cold. Even just sitting out one or two days can mess with timing at the plate. Acquiring those consistent at-bats is incredibly important as the Yanks want to go into the postseason hot, not floundering at the batter’s box because of unnecessary off-days.
So what is the right move here?
The Yankees offense is naturally pretty strong but this season, it seems to struggle to come together as a whole. Entering the playoffs, the Bombers will be facing some of the most talented pitchers in the game and they likely won’t be teeing off right away.
However, with the lingering injuries and the fatigue you see on these players’ faces each day, resting should be the smarter option. It’s only a few games, but the Yankees have played 21 times in 21 days and have pretty much gone at that pace for the entire season. There will be absolutely no time to rest in the postseason, so the rest must come prior to October, even if it’s just for a game or two.
There certainly is the fear that the Bombers will turn back into the Bummers come postseason time if they don’t get those consistent at-bats in the final days of the season. Realistically, the real fear would be losing Aaron Judge or another big-name player early in the playoffs due to fatigue and overuse.
When it comes to rounding out the season, there are only a few games left. Give some of the everyday guys the rest they so desperately crave because they will not be getting it if they want to make a run at the World Series.
While it’s a tough decision, the injuries became the definition of the regular season. The Yankees don’t want that to carry over into the postseason on their quest for title No. 28.