Joe Morgan -- the man ESPN proudly employs as its #1 baseball analyst -- offered his thoughts (my bold):
Jon, a lot of mystery surrounds both teams here as we approach the playoffs. ... When we talk about who's going to start the playoffs for these teams. You ask the Yankees, we know Sabathia is going to start the first game; we do not know who's going to start the second game.1. It has not been officially announced, but there are multiple reports that Lester will start Game 1.
And for the Red Sox, we know Beckett will start the first game, but we do not know what's the condition of Jon Lester's knee or who's going to start the second game there, because of -- you know, Tim Wakefield is struggling, you know, with back problems and back issues, and then you go to the Yankees, you don't know if they want Pettitte out there because of his experience or are they going to go with A.J. Burnett?
We don't know if they are going to take the longer series, so they don't need but three starters as opposed to four if you take the short series, so it's amazing what has been decided after this long a season but what hasn't been decided about this pitching.
2. Lester was not hit on the knee. Even so, there has been little speculation, if any, about Beckett beginning the ALDS. It may be a bit of wishful thinking, but Lester doesn't think he'll even miss his next start.
3. It's highly doubtful Tim Wakefield will make the ALDS roster, never mind start a game.
4. Clay Buchholz. Ever hear of him, Joe? He is 4th in the AL in Support-Neutral Winning Percentage -- behind Zach Greinke, Felix Hernandez and Roy Halladay. Not too bad. In Win Probabilty Added per Start, Buchholz is 6th best in the AL (after Greinke, Verlander, Scott Feldman, Edwin Jackson and Hernandez).
5. Alright, those are crazy stats invented by Billy Beane during bouts of writer's block while penning Moneyball. I know you like plain old wins best of all, Joe, but what about ERA? Buchholz leads all Red Sox starters in ERA.
6. There is a big difference in innings pitched, but Buchholz's ERA+ (147) is higher than Sabathia's (139), meaning he has pitched 8% better than CC this season.