04/22/12 6:33 PM ET
Girardi shifts CC back one day after washout
Yankees' ace will face Rangers on Monday instead of Sox
By Jason Mastrodonato / Special to MLB.com
After Sunday night's game between the Yankees and Red Sox was postponed to a date that has not yet been determined, Boston shuffled its starting rotation around, skipping Daniel Bard's turn, while manager Bobby Valentine had to answer questions about his decision-making. Tickets for Sunday's rained-out game will be usable when the game is played later this season, and only at that game. But as the Red Sox shifted, Joe Girardi sat in the visiting managers' office and appeared quite comfortable.
He leaned back in his chair, wearing a loose button-down shirt and slacks, and effortlessly answered reporters' questions as his eyes kept drifting toward a television in the back in the room.
The Red Sox could be in trouble, with a 4-10 record, Jacoby Ellsbury -- last year's runner-up to the Most Valuable Player -- on the 15-day disabled list and the worst ERA in the Majors (6.68) by almost a run and a half. The Yankees, on the other hand, sit tied with the Blue Jays atop the American League East with a 9-6 record and the best bullpen ERA in the American League (2.14).
"It does [make you appreciate your bullpen]," Girardi said. "There's really only been one game that I was concerned about innings. So really it hasn't been too bad."
With the rainout, Girardi didn't have too many decisions to make -- he simply pushed back his rotation one day, bumping CC Sabathia from Sunday to a Monday matchup with Derek Holland and the Texas Rangers.
That sets up a Tuesday battle of two former Japanese professional baseball sensations: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Yu Darvish.
"Oh, yeah, I never thought of that," Girardi said. "That's pretty exciting."
The Rangers will be a test, having won nine of their last 10 and boasting the best record in the Majors. Josh Hamilton is swinging at a .418 clip with seven homers, while Mike Napoli has gone deep in five of the last seven games.
"You look at the league leaders, and they're amongst a lot of them," Girardi said. "[Napoli] had a great second half last year and he's just continued it. He's an explosive hitter -- and he was with the Angels, too. And he's just become a better hitter over time."
While the biggest question surrounding the Yankees has been the depth of the starting rotation, the upcoming series against Texas (paired with a three-game set against Detroit immediately afterward) should provide a test as to where the rotation stands.
"I would think so," Girardi said. "We saw what Texas could do yesterday, put eight on the board in the first inning. So if you don't make your pitches and you're not sharp early on, it could be a short night."
While Sabathia and Kuroda will pitch Monday and Tuesday, Phil Hughes will be in line for Wednesday's series finale and Ivan Nova will pitch Friday against the Tigers, Girardi confirmed. But the Yankees' skipper has yet to decide who will start on Saturday.
Freddy Garcia would be next in line, but Garcia is 0-1 with a 9.75 ERA, 1.92 WHIP and an alarming .385 batting average against -- the highest in the American League. If he doesn't start Saturday, it will likely fall back to Sabathia. Girardi said young righty David Phelps, who has pitched to a 2.92 ERA out of long relief, would not be given a chance to start just yet.
Jason Mastrodonato is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.