If the Yankees make a miraculous playoff push and end up receiving one of two American League Wild Card spots, who would be the starting pitcher for the Bronx Bombers in the one-game playoff? Depending on health and who the game is against, my guess would be either Hiroki Kuroda or Masahiro Tanaka. Why them? Well first let’s examine Kuroda. Hiroki is a seasoned veteran who has playoff experience with both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Kuroda has been one of the more consistent starters for the Yankees this season. Most people are fairly confident if the Yankees put Kuroda out there in a big game, he will most likely provide a solid six to seven innings of work.
Then there is Masahiro Tanaka. Although Tanaka has never pitched in a MLB postseason game, he has pitched in many big, primetime games in Japan. So he knows what to expect in terms of a playoff atmosphere. Once again, this also depends on Tanaka’s health. If he is 100 percent, he should pitch that decisive game for the Yankees. However, if the Bronx Bombers are unsure about his health then maybe they should go with the safer choice in Kuroda.
I bet you are wondering why not C.C. Sabathia for this big game? Well, if the Yankees had the old C.C. Sabathia that pitched the Milwaukee Brewers into the playoffs or the same Sabathia who led the Yankees back to the World Series then most definitely yes. However, this is not the same C.C. He is more of a two or three man in the rotation and his knee as well all know, has ended his season. Even if he were to miraculously be available, he has no business holding the team’s season in his hands.
A wild card in this decision is Michael Pineda. When Pineda is healthy and has his full arsenal of pitches working, he is one of the top pitchers on this staff. The one issue that keeps him out of this one-game playoff scenario is his inconsistency. Also the fact that he has never pitched in the postseason and for a young guy the atmosphere could and probably would get in his head.
In order for us to discuss this topic, the Yankees have to make the playoffs first. With a struggling offense and puzzled pitching staff, the playoff chances for the Bronx Bombers look very dim right now. However, as most of the great ones say, “Anything can happen in the game of baseball.”