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Joe Girardi's Playoff Dilemma vs. the Tigers

To me, it feels a bit premature to be talking about the playoffs (I need to see some champagne spraying, before I fully believe this is going to happen). But not to's Ken Rosenthal, who looks ahead to the postseason and speculates how each team will set their starting rotation.

As things stand now (barring something of a collapse by the Red Sox and a surge by the Rangers), it appears that the Tigers will be facing the New York Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. Rosenthal highlights an intriguing subplot to the series, which is that the Yankees, by virtue of having the best record in the American League, could choose how the series is scheduled. They could opt to have an extra off-day in the middle of the series.

What would be the advantages of that? If they chose the extra off-day, the Yankees could skip Joba Chamberlain, who's been struggling as the team tries to figure out the best role for him while closely watching his innings. That would also allow the Yanks to use CC Sabathia (along with Andy Pettitte or A.J. Burnett) one more time in a five-game series.

But that could also help the Tigers. Because an extra off-day would also mean Detroit could start Justin Verlander in a Game 4 (and Edwin Jackson in a Game 5).

And if the Yankees' opted for the shorter series, without the off-day, would the Tigers have a starting pitching advantage by using Rick Porcello or Jarrod Washburn (career 2.76 ERA vs. the Yankees) in a Game 4?

Chamberlain has pitched well against the Tigers this season, however, winning both of his starts and compiling a 1.32 ERA. So would Joe Girardi be better off using him against Detroit? Or is Chamberlain a different pitcher now, with the way the Yankees have basically turned him into a long reliever over the past month?

So how do you see it? Which schedule would help the Tigers most? Or does any arrangement that allows Detroit to pitch Verlander more than once make that an obvious answer?

UPDATE: (5:30 p.m.): Here's further explanation from the NY Times' Tyler Kepner. The off-day in question would take place between Games 1 and 2 of the series. If the Yankees opt for the schedule with the off-day, the division series would begin Wednesday, October 7. With no off-day, the series would begin the next day.