Archive for November, 2009

Game 6 Between the Yankees and the Phillies

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Tonight is the sixth game of the World Series between the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies, and I am torn on what the outcome could be.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not nor would be a fan of the Yanks winning, but I don’t want to be too optimistic that the Phills can pull it off.  Yet with just a three-man rotation for New York, it might be the linchpin that could make the whole thing fall apart.

My friend Mike and I were talking during game five about the wisdom of Joe Girardi starting A.J. Burnett on three days of rest.2009 World Series_250x188

He said that Girardi should have started Chad Gaudin in game five.  This would have allowed full rest to Burnett and could still have C.C. Sabathia in case for game seven with Andy Pettitte (think 2001 World Series with Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling to combine to win in game seven).  They could have seen how far Gaudin took them into the game and start using the bullpen to get through the rest.  Why waste the game in a National League park where they would have to have the pitcher in the batting order when strategy at some point down the line would have him leaving the game for a pinch batter.

I agreed with Mike for the most part.  My logic was, being up three-games-to-one, waste a whatever pitcher, and get home with your best lineup.  Sabathia may be able to pitch a few games in a row on short-rest, but Burnett and Andy Pettitte might not.  Now with the way it is setup, a fully-rested Pedro Martinez will go against Pettitte and and even more tired Sabathia against a fully-rested Cole Hamels.

Mike’s point, being a Yankee fan, was that it was all rationalized because of fears from the 2004 Red Sox-Yankees ALCS, where the Yankees just needed to win one more game but couldn’t.  Girardi is managing to win this game and worrying about the next one later, because it is all over if they do just win this game.

Another interesting comparison, at least to me, is the 2007 ALCS between the Sox and the Cleveland Indians.  Ace C.C. Sabathia lost game one against ace Josh Beckett looking like the Sox were going to run away with it.  The Sox then went on to lose the next three games (one at Fenway and the first two at the Jake). So being down 3-1 in the series, it looked as if the Indians were the ones who were going to win.  That was followed by Manny Ramirez making noise in the news by saying it didn’t bother him that they were down 3-1, adding that losing wouldn’t be the end of the world.  The Sox then won game five behind their ace Josh Beckett, and went on to win games six and seven.

Yes, the home-field advantage was reversed compared to the 2009 World Series, but it still seems like an interesting look at the past to see if something might be repeated.  (This is my hope of using the Pats/Rams Super Bowl outcome when New Yorkers used it in comparison to the Pats/Giants a few years later.)

(And no, I looked it up, and Cliff Lee was not on the 25-man roster at that point.  He had been sent down to Triple-A in the middle of the season because he wasn’t performing well.)

In the end, the Yankees don’t want to lose this game six, because game sevens, especially in the World Series, are a complete unknown.  There is nobody on that 25-man roster that isn’t available since there literally isn’t a next game for which to plan.  Yes it would line up to be Sabathia (another 3-days rest, but certainly a better option than Chad Gaudin or Kevin Brown (sorry), and they’re going to ride him like the Marlins did with Beckett in 2003) versus Cole Hamels (full-rest, but mentally checked out), which on paper would go the Yankees way.  But the “what-ifs” become more intriguing.

What if Sabathia pitches 3 2/3 innings giving up 5 runs.  What if Hamels gets his pitches to actually work.  What if Ryan Howard starts hitting pitches?

Too many questions.

But, chances are Pedro will have issues tonight, and the Yankees will unfortunately win and end up with their 27th title.  And I will have to catch slack from all around.  Really looking forward to it.