Yankees facing critical decisions as August baseball begins

(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Doing battle with starting pitcher’s ego

Starting pitchers, as we know, have a four-day regimen that leads up to a start every fifth day. They live for that day when the ball is handed to them, and there are high fives in the dugout with everyone urging, “Go get ’em, big guy.”

And they are primed, both by the team and themselves, to deliver five or six innings, surrendering three or fewer runs that register as a Quality Start on the leader boards and, not to be forgotten, at contract time.

Sometimes they win, and sometimes they lose, but they are always graded on providing that managers call “length,” or giving the bullpen a rest.

The Yankees have turned that all upside down, especially with the trade bringing in Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson from the White Sox, the Yankees bullpen is now stashed to the brink with quality relievers.

And the other night we saw CC Sabathia lifted from a start in the fifth inning in a game the team eventually won with their bullpen. Ditto today with Girardi not wasting any time removing Montgomery from his start after only 2.1 ineffective innings.

The question before the Yankees, though, is how their starters will handle this change. Sabathia was noticeably disturbed when Girardi came out to take the ball from him. But as a veteran, he sucked it up and retired to the dugout with nothing negative to say to the press afterward.

The younger guys will need to learn this as well. Namely, that it’s all about winning games. How to preach that and soothe egos at the same time is a challenge facing the Yankees from here on in.