He turned out to be needed every step of the regular-season way, but this is really
why the Yankees wanted him, to be the short-series ruler they lacked last October. He peaked toward the assignment: 6-0 in eight starts since mid-August, conserving energy and stress on his back by not maxing out on every hitter.
Pitches: Fastball, slider, sinker (two-seam fastball), changeup (split-fingered fastball)
Speed: 86-97 mph
The Yankees have repeatedly tried to displace Small from their rotation -- as if fearful his magic has run its course -- but every time they do, he lights it up in long relief and they let him back in. Although he got plenty of run support to build the early part of his 10-0 record, there has been nothing fluky about his performance.
Pitches: Fastball, curve, changeup, sinker
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Speed: 79-94 mph
Colon was in Cy Young form, back to being the staff ace and workhorse in 2005. He no longer throws as consistently hard as he used to, but it's all relative, because he can still reach 97 with the fastball. He is probably a more complete pitcher than he used to be, relying more on a two-seam fastball, getting more groundouts and fewer strikeouts.
Pitches: Fastball, two-seam fastball, slider, changeup
Speed: 84-97 mph
This became a breakthrough season for Lackey because he mastered the art of changing speeds. He stopped trying to simply overpower hitters and relied on better command. He is now a more mature pitcher, and a more difficult pitcher to hit.
Pitches: Fastball, cutter, curve, changeup
Speed: 78-95 mph
Washburn has been bothered by tendinitis in his left forearm. But if he is healthy, he is still a very difficult lefty to solve. He does not have as much velocity as he did earlier in his career, but he has compensated with better command and a greater variety of pitches.
Pitches: Fastball, splitter, slider, curve, changeup
Speed: 78-91 mph
Paul Byrd or Ervin Santana
A choice that covers the pitching spectrum, although both could start if Washburn is unable to pitch. Byrd is the finesse pitcher of this rotation. He has been more than getting by for some time with superb command and effective change of speeds. Santana is another power arm whose emergence came at precisely the right time for the Angels.
Pitches: (Byrd) Fastball, changeup, curve; (Santana) Fastball, slider, sinker, changeup
Speed: (Byrd) 74-89 mph; (Santana) 78-95 mph