First and foremost, no this is not a knee-jerk reaction. Going over some statistics and looking at other possible number 4 starters on other playoff teams and comparing (I found each team's depth charts and pulled some stats from the number 4 pitcher from each rotation. The Yankees had 6 starting pitchers on their depth chart, so if someone can help me find out who is most likely to be their number 4 come October, I'd appreciate it).
I did use stats from NL pitchers as well, which I know I probably shouldn't do as they face different levels of talent and the NL doesn't have a DH, but it's still a decent reference point.
Tommy Hunter, until recently, has been a pretty solid number 4 or 5 pitcher for our rotation. But we can not rely on him come October, and here's why.
First, let's look at other number 4 pitchers on playoff teams.
Brian Duensing (MIN) - 99.0 IP, 55 K, 22 BB, 0.64 HR/9, 1.4 WAR, 2.09 ERA
Wade Davis (TB) - 139.1 IP, 90 K, 54 BB, 1.42 HR/9, 0.3 WAR, 4.39 ERA
Joe Blanton (PHI) - 142.1 IP, 101 K, 33 BB, 1.39 HR/9, 1.5 WAR, 5.25 ERA
Jair Jurrjens (ATL) - 107.2 IP, 81 K, 40 BB, 0.75 HR/9, 1.7 WAR, 4.10 ERA
Homer Bailey (CIN) - 81.0 IP, 63 K, 28 BB, 0.89 HR/9, 1.3 WAR, 5.00 ERA
Now I know those NL stats would be quite a bit different if they were in the AL, but still a decent reference point.
Now, For Tommy Hunter's stats
Tommy Hunter (TEX) - 106.0 IP, 53 K, 29 BB, 1.7 HR/9, 0.1 WAR, 3.99 ERA
UPDATE (for poll)
Derek Holland(TEX) – 34.2 IP, 31 K, 14 BB, 1.6 HR/9, 0.2 WAR, 4,93 ERA
Don't think there is enough info on Holland this season to make a decision to go with him just yet, but thank you DJCahill for pointing out that i forgot to add in his stats.
There are two things that are alarming to me.
With the exception of Joe Blanton in Phillie, all the pitchers have a similar K/B ratio as Tommy, but every one of them has a lower HR/9 rate, and if we don't have home field in the playoffs, you could be looking at game 4 of the any series at the Ballpark in Arlington. I don't want Tommy pitches against the Yankees or anyone else for that matter in a possible deciding game in a hitter friendly park, especially if he is pitching the way he has been lately.
Beyond HR/9, Tommy has the lowest WAR (according to fangraphs) of any possible number 4 playoff pitcher. While I'm not sure what to do about a replacement, these two things don't add up to playoff success in Arlington.
UPDATE: Playoff Schedule
ALDS Games: Games 1 & 2 Oct. 6,7
Games 3 (& 4 if needed) Oct. 9, 10
Game 5 (if needed) Oct. 12
ALCS Games: Games 1 & 2 Oct. 15,16
Games 3 & 4 Oct. 18,19
(if needed) Game 5 Oct. 20
Game 6 Oct. 22
Game 7 Oct. 23
World Series: Games 1 & 2 Oct 27,28
Games 3 & 4 Oct. 30,31
(if needed) Game 5 Nov. 1
Game 6 Nov. 3
Game 7 Nov. 4