The Yankees' general post-season struggles in the past several years -- except against the Twins, but more on that later -- have had plenty to do with pitching failures. More specifically: We believe starting pitching is a fragile commodity, and it is something that cannot be as easily developed (or more to the point, bought) as hitting. As such, the Yankees have chosen to overpay in the open market or via trades for several alleged top-end starters in recent years. They struck gold with CC Sabathia, the closest thing to a sure thing you can find. Mike Mussina and Roger Clemens were other very solid purchases. But examples of misses:

Javier Vazquez, Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown and ... the biggest winner ... A.J. Burnett.

And this is where the Yankees are bogging down. Trailing 2-1 to the Tigers in their series, the Bronx Bombers are trotting out Burnett -- he of the five-year, $82.5 million contract -- for Game 4. The Yankees paid Burnett ace (or at least high No. 2 starter) money based on numbers that didn't add up to that sum. He wasn't supposed to start in this series, but mix in a little rain ... and a couple of losses ... and now a guy with a 5-plus ERA each of the past two seasons is their final hope. The theory is the Yankees have so much money that they can afford to miss on a lot of players and still be contenders. That is true, but the misses still hurt.

Speaking of hurt: Here is the Yankees' updated record in postseason games since 2003 ...

Vs. the Twins: 12-2

Vs. everyone else: 24-30