We want to make this clear before tonight’s game: We’re not second guessing Joe Girardi’s decision to pitch A.J. Burnett on three days rest Monday night. We called it before the game. It was foolish and impulsive, based on a hunch and not logic, and it will have an adverse effect on the Yankees’ chances tonight.
Simply put, Andy Pettitte would be expected to have more gas on four days rest than three. (As indeed Burnett would have had he been pitching tonight.) That said, the Yankees still have a substantial edge over the Phillies and should win tonight. For one thing, Andy Pettitte doesn’t have to give the Yankees seven or even six good innings. Girardi can ask him for five strong frames, load up on relievers to get through the sixth and seventh, then hand the ball to Mariano for the last two. Yes, the Yankees relievers are unreliable at this point, but what are the Phillies’ relievers? The Yanks have hammered everyone they’ve sent out, and Philadelphians’ hearts will be in their mouths when Pedro starts to falter.
Then, there is Hideki Matsui, who has hit two home runs already in the Series and is a better DH than anyone the Phillies have — and, as everyone knows, traditionally he has hit Pedro very well.
If the Yanks win, though, it won’t vindicate Girardi. It simply will mean that they won despite, not because of, his strategy.