Word coming out of New York today is that the Yankees currently favor moving Joba into the bullpen. For the remainder of the season and, potentially, the playoffs. After last night's game, Girardi told reporters: "There's two different divisional series. In one, you need three starters and in one you need four. I'll leave it at that." Joba's last start came on September 4th, where he was pulled after giving up three runs on six hits in three innings. The new Joba rules appear to restrict him to three or four innings per start. Presumably, if he starts in the playoffs, the gloves will come off. But based on his performance since the re-implementation of the Joba rules, it's unclear whether the Yankees want to rely on him for anything quite so important.
That's particularly significant to Sox fans for this reason - the Yankees look more and more to be a lock for the best record in the AL (5 games up on the Angels for the moment). Given the choice, it looks like they're going with the three-man rotation ALDS. That means that if the Sox can get the Wild Card, they'll be in the four-man rotation series. So we can all congratulate Clay Buchholz on locking down that third spot, but it's just not going to be that easy. The Sox will need a 4th starter for the playoffs.
Paul Byrd goes against the Orioles tonight. It's a start to watch, for both short and long-term reasons. Is he going to earn that fourth spot? Are the Sox going to look to Daisuke? A weakened Wakefield? More questions than answers, but more and more, it looks like New York is going to require that the Sox come up with a solution.