Is Girardi giving CC the Scott Proctor treatment*? Or is he just getting his money’s worth out of the fat boy?
I’d say the latter, but critics [read: people terrified of a Yankee championships] are tsk-tsking the decision to pitch superace CC Sabathia on short rest for Game 4 of the World Series, rather than the unused Chad Gaudin.
*In the Torre tenure (Torrure?), relief pitcher Scott Proctor began to look less like a major league athlete and more like a jaded corporate executive who was sick of all the tireless hours he was putting in the office. The only explanation for the absurd amount of innings Scott Proctor was called upon, is that Torre in his heart of hearts actually thought Proctor had a prosthetic arm (Proctetic?)
Maybe other pitchers have personal issues with going beyond 5 innings, but Yankee pitchers are made of sterner stuff:
“You play for the organization that has given you everything, and why not. It doesn’t matter how long you go, as long as you do it right. Yesterday was one of those games that you just have to do whatever it takes to win the game. If it takes for me to pitch two innings or two plus-innings, I’ll be there.” –Mariano Rivera
“I said it all postseason: I’ve had enough rest the past two months to be able to feel comfortable enough to go out there and pitch on three days’ rest,” Sabathia said. “I told Joe that at the beginning of the playoffs: ‘I’m here and available when you need me.'”–CC Sabathia
In a perfect world, yeah, we have an 8th inning set up man Phil Hughes pitches the way he did in the regular season, and we have a 4th starter Chad Gaudin inspires a bit more confidence despite the fact the Yankees haven’t lost a game that he’s started.
But right now, the Yankees have one of the best pitchers in baseball whose strength seems to have an inverse relationship with his pitch count, and the best closer in the game, who similarly doesn’t seem to be fazed by having the task of 6 outs fall on his shoulders.
So you roll the dice, and hope talent prevails. Or maybe, MAYBE, we’re all overthinking everything, because technically it makes sense to maximize the best and most reliable guys on the team, right?
Well, this game will be the answer to that, since Charlie Manuel has decided to give the ball to Joe Blanton rather than pitch Cliff Lee on short rest.
I guess I understand this, since Cliff Lee has never pitched on short rest before, and if it turns out this isn’t something in his repertoire, than the Phils are screwed, as they’ve wasted their ace and have to pitch Pedro in a possible elimination game.
But…Joe Blanton? While I’m the first one to admit that history means approximately nothing, I also can concede that you do sometimes have to consider these things.
For example, the fact that Joe Blanton is 0-3 with an 8.18 ERA against the Yanks in 4 starts, is something that might affect my decision to play in him a pivotal Game 4. Additionally, our clean-up hitter is 4 for 7 against him, with 2 homeruns.
You can second-guess managers to death, but the bottom line is, I gotta apply the same philosophy to them as I do my parents: no matter how smart we think we are, they just plain know best. You can’t argue with experience.†
A Yankee win tonight would not only measurably calm my playoff nerves, but it’d also make the rest the Day of NY Sports Abysmal Losses (Gmen/Jets/Bills=FAIL), a bit more palatable.
(I got a fantastic 2-day hiatus from hyped up Philly fans going to town on Facebook statuses, but they’ve resurfaced in spades in the wake of the Giants’ 17-40 loss to the Eagles today. Hey, I’ll gladly take it in exchange for a Yankee win. In the rock-paper-scissors of trash-talking, World Series covers NFL Week 8.)
It’s a beautiful night for baseball, and regardless of what happens, I don’t see waking up for work tomorrow being a pleasant experience.
† My dad’s prediction for tonight: “I think the Yankees really rough ’em up. Just blow them out of the water. Who’s pitching for Philly?” There you have it. Even without knowing the pitching match-ups, my dad’s picking New York. He’s usually right about these things. Sometimes when I’m watching a game and the Yankees are losing, he’ll call and say, “Hey, I know you’re worried right now, but relax. I already saw this game, it’s a rerun, and the Yanks make a comeback in the 6th and win. I wasn’t gonna spoil it for you, but I don’t want you to worry.”
Read 2009 Baseball Throwdown coverage for the New York Yankees.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 1, 2009