If A.J. had pitched in game five like he did in game two, we wouldn't have all of this praise for Cliff Lee. Lee's had a great postseason, but he game up five runs on Monday night. Still all the commentators are talking about him coming back in relief for 45-50 pitches (three innings?) on two days rest in game 7. Like the Phillies some how have hope because Lee, who couldn't start on three days rest, will win them the game on two days rest. Don't get me wrong, he's their best pitcher and I would find every possible way to get him in the game (if it's played, which it won't be). But I think it was a huge gamble not to start him on three days rest in game 4. He won game five, but more because A.J. was awful than because he somehow stymied the Yanks. He should have been tasked to go toe-to-toe with CC in games one, four, and seven.
Having said that (and being on record that the Yanks will win in six) I find this very curious: the Yanks were up 2-1 in the series, with home field advantage and probably the best line-up in the game, yet they decided that for every subsequent series game they were going to start a pitcher on three days rest. I don't know that I disagree, I just find that rembarkable. I think Girardi decided when the post season started he was going with three starters all the way. It would be tough to pitch Gaudin in game four when he hadn't pitched in forever, but that seemed like a good option. Give him a short leash and rely on the pen. (I can hear you know, "a bullpen game in game five when you're up 3-1 and can close out the championship?" Good point.) Then they would have brought A.J. back on full rest and at home for game six and still have CC for game seven. Maybe Girardi didn't want to cut Pettitte out of the rotation. Those guys are old buds. The Yankees, for all their money and all their payroll don't have a fourth starting pitcher. Remarkable! And there's your flaw with the postseason. It doesn't measure the value of a team(or lack there of for us Reds fans)the way the regular season does.
As far as game six goes tonight, we'll be partying like it's 1999, with Pedro v. Pettitte. What a great, classic match-up of two aging veterans. Anything could happen, but what I would love to see is a great pitchers duel between these two. What I'm predicting is that they both pitch at least into the sixth and both give up a couple runs. Don't be surprised by a 4-3 type score when the game is turned over to the bullpens. We'll watch the first six innings for the appreciation of the two veterans. Then we'll watch the rest of the game in case we see a train wreck out of either or both bullpens. When it's all said and done, the Yanks will be celebrating tonight.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
4 weeks ago