Entering the final weekend of the regular season, the Yankees are one loss or a Boston win from falling into the American League wild-card game. They would play it at home on Tuesday against the surprising Twins.
Here's what a longtime Yankees fan asked me for this week's Mailbag. It's an intriguing thought for Yankee fans who think the Pinstripers have a chance to make a World Series run.
Kevin Lawrence asks: What would you think of sending CC Sabathia to the hill in Tuesday's Wild Card game, and holding Luis Severino back for Game One, ALDS?
Sully: I love the idea, though I'd be shocked if Joe Girardi had the guts to do it. Granted, the Yankees would have to win the one-game wild card, and conventional thinking says you do everything you can to advance and take your chances from there.
But if the idea is to win it all, there's an argument to be made for holding Severino back and trying to win one game against the Twins with Sabathia. That would allow them to pitch Severino twice in the five-game ALDS, giving them a much better chance to knock off the powerful Indians or Astros.
Severino is 9-2 with a 2.28 ERA since the All-Star break. I'd rather see him go twice in the ALDS, where he would have five days' rest between the first and fifth games. Let Sabathia face the Twins. He's 19-9 lifetime against Minnesota. He's the sort of crafty pitcher whose can be tough on overhyped young hitters in their first postseason.
Sabathia would only have to give them five or six good innings, then hand it over to their deep bullpen. The Yanks are a hot hitting team. They averaged 6.4 runs in their last 25 games entering Friday night. Girardi is a mediocrity, but if he took a shot and it worked, he'd look like a genius.