Pitching a repeat

The Yankees had a great 2009 season that culminated with a World Series championship.

A 27th title would go to the proud franchise (most in sports) and the team dominated with a juggernaut offense.

One of the key aspects for New York this season was its pitching which rose to the occasion in a big way in the World Series.

Many millions were devoted in the off-season to signing pitchers A.J. Burnett, C.C. Sabathia and bringing Andy Pettitte back into the fold.

The trio responded as Burnett rung up 24 strike-outs, Sabathia gave a valiant game four outing and Pettitte lived up to his big-game reputation with two wins in the World Series.

And they don’t even represent the rest of the pitching staff as the bullpen did a fantastic job as well.

Guys like Damaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain (for all his emotions) did well in getting the ball to the ageless Mariano Rivera who was in epic post-season form.

For some time now this reporter has said the key for the Yankees to succeed in any season is to centre on their pitching.

That is what guided the team to their epic title assault at the start of the decade and that, in spite of the offensive, led New York to a title this season.

It was not a perfect year as key pitcher Chien Ming-Wang went down early in the season but the pitching came together in the end.

To this reporter that needs to be New York’s focus this off-season. Sure there are questions about some of the positional players and talk of signing big names to bolster an already vaunted offense.

However, if the Yankees are smart, they’ll shore up their pitching. Keeping Sabathia and Burnett around is the one sure-fire way New York will be in the hunt for a repeat.