With a 2 1/2 game lead over the Rays and an MLB-most 86 wins, the Yankees are determined to defend their crown. But while their offense continues to cruise along, the club's rotation is beginning to fade. Behind ace CC Sabathia, the rotation is hanging on by a thread. Phil Hughes, who went 11-2 with a 3.65 ERA before the All-Star break, has gone 5-5 with a 5.47 ERA since and has strung together consecutive wins just once since mid-June.
A.J. Burnett, who bagged 18 wins just two summers ago, is stuck at 10-13 and owns a 5.15 ERA. The righty has just one win since late-July and has let up four earned runs or more in three of his last four outings. Another option that has failed thus far is Javier Vazquez, who also has just one victory since late-July. Ironically, that win came on Aug. 30 when he was pitching relief for Dustin Moseley because the 34-year-old righty was demoted to bullpen duties.
After picking up 11 wins in the first half of the season, lefty Andy Pettitte was placed DL with a strained groin on July 19 and is fighting through rehab stints in an attempt to re-join the club for the playoffs. There's no telling just how the veteran will perform when he returns, but the team is likely relying on him to step up and fill in that No. 2 role behind Sabathia.
Should the Yankees, whose starting pitchers are seventh in the AL with a 4.15 ERA, be concerned about their starting rotation? Text 'SOX1' for yes or 'SOX2' for no.