"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Once More, With Feeling

Whew.

After a tense, up-and-down (and-up-and-down-and-up) game, with some smart batting and quick thinking from Johnny Damon, and yet another monster (centaur-ish, even?) Alex Rodriguez hit, the Yankees beat the Phillies 7-4 and took a 3-1 lead in the Series. Now they’ve got three more chances to get that 11th postseason win… but for the sake of older Yankees fans and those with hypertension or weak hearts, let’s hope this thing doesn’t go to Game 7.

For one thing, while CC Sabathia came through and pitched a solid game tonight, he wasn’t quite the dominant force he was against the Angels; he’s now thrown 266 innings this year, so it would hardly be shocking if he was getting a little worn out. The Yankees staked him to a 2-run lead right away, on Jeter’s single, Damon’s double, Teixeira’s RBI groundout, A-Rod’s third HBP of the last two games, and Posada’s sac fly; for a little while, it looked like Blanton might implode. But either he got it together or the Yankees let him off the hook, depending on your point of view, and in the bottom of the first Sabathia gave back a run on two doubles – the second hit by Sabathia’s current arch-nemesis Chase Utley (who now, with that hair, looks like the sidekick to the snobby frat-guy villain of a Revenge of the Nerds sequel).

Both pitchers clamped down after that, until the bottom of the fourth, when Ryan Howard – you remember Ryan Howard – singled and scored on Pedro Feliz’s hit to left, tying the game. It didn’t last long: the Yankees rallied right back in the top of the fifth, with Jeter and Damon coming through again, knocking in Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera respectively, and making it 4-2 Yankees.

Since it was That Kind of Game, that score didn’t last, either. In the seventh Utley destroyed yet another Sabathia slider,  pulling the Phillies to within a run, and ending Sabathia’s night at a workmanlike 6.2 innings with three earned runs, six strikeouts and three walks. The Phillies went on to tie it up the eighth, when Pedro Feliz of all people rudely interrupted an otherwise-excellent Joba Chamberlain inning with a big blast to left: 4-4.

Charlie Manuel brought in Brad Lidge for the ninth, and the Philly closer made pretty quick work of Hideki Matsui and Derek Jeter. I admit that at this point, I was trying and failing to imagine the Yankees surviving an inning of Phil Coke. Johnny Damon’s two-out at-bat, though, turned everything around, not just for Lidge but very possible for the Phillies. It took nine tense pitches, as Damon fouled off several sliders and fastball after fastball, looking for something he could hit – and when he finally got it, he dumped it into left field.

With Mark Teixeira up, Damon immediately took off for second base, slid in with a little room to spare… then popped up, paused for just a fraction of a second, and took off for third. “I was like, ‘Where is he going?!’” said Jorge Posada after the game, and that makes two of us. Joba Chamberlain said he had “a mini heart attack” watching the play, while Brett Gardner’s initial reaction was “Uh oh.” I think most Yankee fans could probably relate to one if not all of those responses, but in fact, Damon simply realized that because on the shift on Teixeira, no one was covering third base – no one was even close to covering third base – and that given where Pedro Feliz had caught the ball, he wasn’t in any position to outrun Damon. Hence, two stolen bases on a single pitch.

Teixeira was hit by a pitch – I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but still, Phillies pitchers: if you can’t pitch inside without hitting people, maybe don’t throw inside so much – and that brought up Alex Rodriguez. Of course. Lidge seemed rattled by then, and his second pitch to Rodriguez was a fat fastball that was promptly redirected towards the left field wall. The Yankees went up 5-4, and then up 7-4 on Jorge Posada’s two-run single. That was all they’d get, but not once in Mariano Rivera’s postseason career has three runs not been enough, and tonight was no exception.

(Incidentally, I love how Yankee fans have embraced the whole centaur thing. Personally, I think it’s hilarious if true – and it’s almost too weird to be invented – but anyway, Rodriguez has hit so well for most of this postseason, it would take a pretty serious felony for anyone to be bothered at this point).

Needless to say, the Series ain’t over til it’s over, as someone who’d know once put it, and you don’t have to try too hard to imagine ways in which the momentum could shift – Cliff Lee tomorrow, just for instance. But the Yankees are awfully close now… so stock up on the self-medication of your choice and get ready for another wild night.

hang_in_there

Categories:  Bronx Banter  Emma Span

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167 comments

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1 Emma Span   ~  Nov 2, 2009 6:50 am

Forgot to add that Melky is most likely out for the rest of the series, with a "minor strain" of his hamstring. Not good. Gardner isn't a huge downgrade, but starting him in center limits Girardi's pinch-running options quite a bit. So... am I being paranoid, or could we potentially see a lineup with a bottom third of Hairston, Molina, and Burnett? Eeep!

2 Boatzilla   ~  Nov 2, 2009 7:06 am

Great write up Emma. Don't worry Gardner is destined to be a New Yankee HEro, shades of Brian Dole. (Which side did he wear his "chaw" on?

3 Boatzilla   ~  Nov 2, 2009 7:07 am

And regarding A-Rod, the Centaur thing. There's only one explanation. Dude must be hung like a horse. At least he hits like a champ.

4 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 8:02 am

True, having Brett in the line-up does limit Girardi's pinch running options... I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

5 Emma Span   ~  Nov 2, 2009 8:15 am

[4] Fair point, but I think my nerves are a little too raw for an outfield of Swisher, Damon AND Jerry Hairston Jr.

6 Yankee Mama   ~  Nov 2, 2009 8:55 am

Poor Melky. Pinch running options aside, I have no problem with Gardner starting. He plays hard.

As much as I'd like baseball to go on forever, I can't take much more of this.

I'm wondering which AJ shows up. He likes short rest.

Lee be scary!

7 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:15 am

I'm not so sure the beaning of Tex was unintentional. In fact, I call bullshit. No coincidence as I see it, none whatsoever that Tex has been drilled twice in this Series, and ARod 3X. McCarver saying otherwise, suggesting that "revenge" only takes place in spring training or somesuch nonsense - is a bullshitting fool. The Philly pitchers' momentary lapses of muscular coordination against select Yankee sluggers remind me a bit of the Red Sox pitchers (back when they were relevant).

Lidge took out his frustration on Tex and paid for it. Good for him. Even better that the fool ump behind the plate allowed Lidge to stay in the game, and take his meltdown into Act 3 -- and that ALEX WAS THE MAN who silenced the steroids-chanting white kerchief-waving fans of the hometeam. Take THAT Philly! (and on a personal football note to the city of Philadelphia: yeah, I'm a Giants fan, but the only football I'm talking about today is the 40 yard reception my 7 year old son made in flag football yesterday... setting up the game winning td against the Cowboys. The NY Giants will get back to winning football when it's Yankees fanbase is good and ready).

ARod's game winner reminded me of the Strawberry blast that silenced the Just Say No chants at Fenway a decade ago. Sooooo satisfying. Soooo richly deserved.

Great job CC, unbelievable job, Damon.

Gotta give it up to the backpage of then NY Post this morning, with the headline that says it all: "Phinish 'em!"

High whipped cream pie in the sky hopes for AJ tonight!

8 Rich   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:20 am

I would start Gardner. He hit better v. LH pitching:
v. L: .781 OPS (55 AB)
v. R: .708 OPS (193 AB)

(Hariston v. L: .741 OPS)

I just wish he would stop uppercutting the ball. It's stupid beyond belief.

9 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:28 am

[7] I don't think it was a coincidence, but that doesn't mean it was intentional. The pitchers had decided on a strategy of busting those guys inside. You do that all game (two games) and you're taking the chance of some HBPs.

AJ could dust someone early and get the warnings issued right away. That would make Lee very wary of coming in on A-Rod.

10 DALELAMA   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:36 am

It not exactly like Melky is ripping the cover off the ball........

11 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:41 am

[9] nah, I strongly disagree, RI. busting inside does not mean drilliing between the numbers. Lidge got cute, hoping to set up the force at 2b, and paid for it -- as I see it.

re: the toothless warnings. After the warning last night the umps assured Girardi that CC could still pitch inside. They just didnt want to see retaliation. So even if AJ plunks, say Utley in his first at-bat (which I would advise against) - the umps will issue their warning, but Lee will still be allowed to work inside.

12 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:43 am

[8] even if the numbers were reversed I'd go with Gardner's defense.

I'd also go with Posada tonight, but if Girardi sticks with hip hip Jose I won't complain.

13 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:45 am

That sound you hear is sportswriters across America sharpening their pencils, getting out their draft of the "Yankees buy the World Series, and it's terrible for baseball" column they've had since 2002.

14 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:49 am

[11] That would be just an incredibly stupid move, though -- which isn't to say it's not what happened, but I'm very reluctant to attribute stupidity of that magnitude to anyone. (Well, anyone who isn't a member of a national baseball broadcast crew.)

So, Mariano has retired five Phils in the past two games, and it took him 13 pitches. He must be ready for a full load tonight, huh? Not two innings, but say, four outs? He got the Phillies in the ninth in eight pitches, which is fewer than Brad Lidge threw to Johnny Damon.

[13] Oh, and I'm sure it's just a coincidence that you gave us this news in comment #13, mehmattski. You choking centaur.

15 Rich   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:51 am

[13] Unlike the RS, who outspend almost every other team.

I hope that they can start writing the Yankee payroll story a lot more often over the next few Novembers, and that they also note that A-Rod is a very, very clutch player.

16 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:53 am

[12] I have been hugely against the AJ-Molina thing, but with the 3-1 lead and AJ on short rest and facing Lee, I'm not all that up set if Girardi sticks with the formula. There is an off day tomorrow, so he can be very quick with the hook (and presumably AJ won't go as deep on short rest), So Po will get his 2 ABs tonight anyway.

It was shown last night by someone that a team CAN in fact make a roster move during the series to replace an injured player. I wonder if the Yankees make such a move, especially for this last game in the NL park.

17 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:53 am

[14] It's fine, I was born on a Friday the 13th, which makes 13 my lucky number, canceling it out. You should be able to verify that on a Luck Expectancy Chart somewhere.

18 Paul   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:54 am

Can the Yankees replace Melky with Guzman? Gardner should certainly be starting over Hairston but if Girardi really values Gardy's legs, he could wind up with Hinske playing 2B in an emergency.

Call Melky done -without his legs he's below Guzman in value.

Am I the only here who has Game 6 tix and so conflicted about tonight?

19 Rich   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:55 am

If I had Game 6 tickets I would gladly eat the money if it meant winning tonight.

20 Paul   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:55 am

[16] I thought the rule was they then lose the player for the next series to prevent egregious substitutions. But then there is no next series (or game!).

21 Yankee Mama   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:57 am

[13] Last few years, the articles were on how there was more parity in baseball. This year, the system isn't working. What changed? In the meantime, when the Yankees play, rating are high, sportswriters get read. It's a win-win which is good for the business of baseball.

Same argument as always, but now the sound you hear are actually computer keyboards clacking.

22 Paul   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:58 am

[19] Yeah, except I'm looking at 10 large.

Part of me would like to see them throw Gaudin tonight. True, you want to sweep the leg, but I'd feel much better with Burnett and Pettitte on regular rest. And against Lee this post-season, a very good start from Burnett very likely will not be enough.

23 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:58 am

I just hate the idea of Guzman returning to the team. Ugh.
Can't we have Ramiro Pena? Or a big bat? Or Cervelli, so that in case Posada is on base in the late innings, with Molina already gone, we could still pinch run? To me, swapping a decent runner for Posada is more important than having Guzman go in and... who knows...

24 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 9:59 am

[20] I thought so too, but someone pointed out that Hinske was added to the Rays' roster last year (for Floyd?) in the middle of the WS.

25 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:00 am

[14] yeah, definitley not a smart move, especially with the go-ahead run 90 feet away, but I'm very reluctant to attribute a momentary loss of muscular coordination to Lidge whose control was fine until Damon rattled his cage. Looked more to me like a momentary act of frustration, that had some tactical advantage in setting up the force at 2b
Tex hasn't had too many hits this Series, but that doesn't mean he's not as dangerous as any hitter on either team. Lidge picked his poison and picked wrong. Good for him. Better for us.

26 Rich   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:00 am

Olney on HBPs:

Early prediction: The Yankees and Phillies will have a bench-clearing situation in spring training. It's pretty clear that A-Rod thinks the Phillies are throwing at him intentionally, and regardless of whether or not that's true, the fact that A-Rod believes it means that the Yankees will retaliate -- and these two teams play each other repeatedly in March

27 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:02 am

[22] Gaudin: Yeah, I know what you mean. More or less concede this one and be set up to go for the kill in G6 or G7. Hey, wait a minute, conflict of interest, Paul, you are disqualified from this discussion.

28 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:02 am

[23] I would love to see them take a flyer on Miranda, which won't happen. But if so, they could follow through with my evil plan of starting player X at catcher, batting him in the first, then substituting Molina to catch in the bottom of the first.

Meanwhile, how silly does it look that they decided to go with the 12th pitcher (Bruney)?

OK, not that silly, because they have a big series lead. But still...

29 Yankee Mama   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:04 am

AJ has a pretty low ERA on short rest. Anyone care to confirm?

30 a.O   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:05 am

Personally, I am looking forward to seeing AJ drill Utley or Howard tonight.

31 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:05 am

[21] I just like to imagine that those sportswriters who make such canned, thoughtless arguments aren't using computers and they write their articles in pencil on carbon paper.

On the roster changes: I've found a couple of articles which suggest that a player CAN be replaced with a like-player (pitcher for pitcher, position player for position player), but the injured player cannot return in this round or the next (irrelevant here).

http://www.stltoday.com/blogzone/bird-land/bird-land/2009/10/new-rule-cushions-the-impact-of-postseason-injuries/

32 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:07 am

[26] Buster should know better that the Yankees don't tend to play the retaliation game. And why they would risk injury with a fight in spring training is beyond me, right Shelley Duncan?

33 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:07 am

[28] No, I think carrying the twelfth pitcher now looks just terrible. It's irrelevant that they have a big series lead. It's become apparent that that pitcher, whether it's Bruney or whomever, is a complete waste.
Ace has been of no use, though that was a reasonable move for the obvious reason. Could be useful tonight, in fact.

34 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:07 am

[29] Burnett is 4-0 in four starts on three days rest. He has a 2.33 ERA and 24 strikeouts (10 walks) in 27 innings. Comparing his OPS allowed to the rest of his career, he's been 33% better on three days rest than Burnett's average:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=burnea.01&year=Career&t=p#dr

35 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:09 am

[34] Burnett on 3 days rest:

http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/U5s9D

36 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:11 am

[34] SSS, but also reassuring.

It's very plausible that a strong pitcher can make one or two short-rest starts and do better than usual. Think of Jim Palmer and those guys, they did it all the time. I believe it shortened their careers, and made them maybe less effective in September, but as a short-term tactic I'm for it.

But what about Andy? That's the worry. Because if Lee out-duels Burnett, then you either have Andy on short rest against Pedro, or you have to go to Gaudin anyway -- and if the latter, you may as well have him pitch Game Five so Burnett can go on full rest.

37 Paul   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:11 am

[24] Cool, thanks. If Melky can't go tonight they should absolutely make a move. Hairston starting in CF is a problem waiting to happen.

[27] Yup, huge conflict! But given how much better Burnett pitches at home, and how both CC and Pettitte have looked gassed, I'd rather they hold them all back.

[26] This is probably likely. But it would be pretty silly 6 months later.

38 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:15 am

[36] Even worse than SSS is anecdotal evidence (the plural of which, despite what sociologists tell you, is not data).

Anyway, I've heard that pitchers have tighter breaking balls on short rest, which is good for Burnett's beautiful (at times) curve. It also means that Girardi almost certainly has to start Molina, because if it's too tight, the curve will be bouncing all over the place. Too bad Posada can't play right field...

39 rbj   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:15 am

One more win.
One more win.
One more win.

I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning, just going down stairs.

40 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:16 am

[37] That's right, Burnett's Home/Road splits.
Hmmm.
Yeah, I'm now kind of wishing it was Gaudin tonight.

41 Paul   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:18 am

Burnett's 3-day numbers are reassuring, but even then he isn't as money as Lee has been. Why waste him?

42 Yankee Mama   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:23 am

[34] Thanks. Home/Road splits aside, this makes for interesting baseball.

43 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:26 am

AJ's home/road splits are worth noting, but to me they're not enough of a factor to consider Gaudin a better Plan A option.
Gaudin is a Plan B pitcher.
Gotta have faith that Burnett will overcome the noise, and white kerchief waving, even if the AJ Whisperer (Molina) is on the bench.

Not too much of a stretch to predict neither Burnett nor Lee will be as dominant as their first starts, and that the better bullpen wins tonight.

44 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:28 am

[43] But what's your Game Six plan? Pettitte on short rest plus AJ on short rest, that's not obviously better than Gaudin followed by Burnett (at home, full rest), is it?

45 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:29 am

So, what Yankees WS moments are as memorable as JD's SB in the 9th? Is it up there with Girardi's triple in 1996? Alex Gonzales' homer in 2003? Clemens and Piazza?

46 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:32 am

I'm a little nervous, but I support the AJ move. Its the agressive thing to do, going for the kill.

You pitch Gaudin tonight and you're pitching not to lose, you pitch AJ and you're looking to make sure the next time the team see's New York is for a parade.

It's obviously risky, but like McKeon thought in '03 sometimes you just have to go for it.

47 Paul   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:32 am

[44] Exactly how I feel. If they're thinking Andy on short rest, then they really should be re-evaluating. Andy was gassed on regular rest. And CC was last night too.

By the way, reading the comments from last night is hilarious. I'm just glad I avoid that stuff during the game.

48 Yankee Mama   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:34 am

JD's SB was a work of art, as was his at-bat. The inning was a masterpiece from JD to Mo.

49 Ben   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:35 am

If Utley comes up in the first with 2 out, he gets one in the back. Then it'll be up to Burnett to deal with Howard. Risky. But doesn't Burnett have the rep of beaning guys? Unless he has Saint Mussina whispering in his good ear, someone's gonna get his tonight.

50 Paul   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:35 am

"It’s obviously risky, but like McKeon thought in ‘03 sometimes you just have to go for it."

That was different. The Marlins had a clearly inferior team with pitching that got hot at the right time.

The Yankees are clearly superior in this series apart from Lee. And if they can't win one game at home they don't deserve to win. Throwing Burnett tonight with Andy in Game 6 isn't just risky - it's risky with no safety net. They have Gaudin - use him.

51 Paul   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:36 am

[49] I'd support drilling Utley. Absolutely.

52 Ben   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:37 am

[45.] It was huge, but also so smart. From Damon to Arod, their heads were on straight. I can't top that moment in terms of clutchiness and heads upitude.

53 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:37 am

[47] Yeah, it's probably more hilarious to read it the next morning. I tried to take the humorous perspective at the time, but it was... more difficult.

54 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:38 am

I hate to be this cold-blooded, but if someone's going to get drilled, shouldn't it be Lee?

55 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:39 am

[50] but what do we "have" in Gaudin? Is a 100% Gaudin better than an 85% Burnett? I'm not sure about that.

its a different scenario from '03 but its the same mindset, when you have a chance to pounce you don't screw around with it...you just go.

56 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:41 am

[55] Is a 100% Gaudin better than an 85% Burnett? I’m not sure about that.

That's not the relevant question. The relevant question is:

Which is better, short-rest Burnett plus short-rest Pettitte, or full-rest-Burnett at home plus Gaudin?

57 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:45 am

[44] I'm thinking our big 3 pitchers however gassed they may be are a better starting option than Gaudin with a month's rest. I might be wrong, but that's how I see it.

58 Paul   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:49 am

[56] Exactly. It really all depends on what they planning for a Game 6. If it's Gaudin, then it's silly. If it's Pettitte, then it's stupid. Nothing he showed in Game 3 suggests he'll be good on one less day of rest.

I understand and respect the go for the throat mentality. But with the opposing pitcher and the lack of a decent Game 6 option, I don't think it's a very good choice. I'll let it go now and hope for the best tonight!

59 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 10:56 am

[58] I'll take Pettitte's word that he can physically handle the assignment. He struggled early in his last start because he couldn't throw his curve for a strike.
He looked like he was laboring early in the game, but he didn't looked gassed.

Well, he didn't look like a spring chicken running the bases, but the way he grinded suggests there's something left in the tank. Not much, but something -- and I'll take Andy's something over Gaudin's anything at this pooint.

60 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:05 am

[56] As far as I'm concerned, tonight's game is the last of the season. And I think that's what Girardi is figuring as well. Burnett gives the Yankees the best chance to win tonight, and end the season. If the Series were guaranteed to go 7 games, then maybe you make a different decision.

Remember that Chad Gaudin hasn't pitched in ten days, and hasn't pitched more than two innings in more than a month (September 28). I'll take a more talented, if somewhat tired pitcher over a rusty inferior one any day, especially in a World Series clinching game.

In the event that the season doesn't end tonight, I'll take Gaudin/Pettitte over Pedro.

61 The Hawk   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:07 am

They should start Gaudin tonight, with Burnett ready to go - in the first inning. That way Gaudin can plunk as many as three batters before he's tossed, and then AJ can come along and do his thing.

62 RagingTartabull   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:08 am

[56] I think the relevant question is: who gives me the best chance to ensure that Game 6 never happens? To me, thats Burnett.

I just can't get past the feeling that starting Gaudin is waving the white flag for Game 5, and if you start willingly punting away World Series games you're gonna end up getting yourself in trouble.

I'm not suggesting this is a no-brainer by any stretch, just my opinion

63 The Hawk   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:09 am

The question I'd like answered is who's catching Burnett tonight?

64 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:19 am

[60] As far as I’m concerned, tonight’s game is the last of the season.

[62] I think the relevant question is: who gives me the best chance to ensure that Game 6 never happens?

Wow, I think both of those are definitely wrong.
The goal is not: to win Game Five.
The goal is: to win the World Series.
We can win the WS by winning Game Five or by winning Game Six. (Also by winning Game Seven, but that's the same option in either strategy so we can ignore it.) So it's crucial to think about which strategy gives the Yanks the best chance of winning one of those two games.

65 Joel   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:20 am

No Gaudin. No giving away any games in a short series. No letting the Philly offense get comfy with a back-end-of-the-rotation guy.

Girardi hasn't burned out the bullpen. Day off Tuesday. Everyone is available. You give the ball to AJ and tell him this is your last start of the year--leave it all out on the field.

And, the Phillies get plunked in Spring Training.

66 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:24 am

I don't think there is anyway that Lidge intentionally hit Teixeira. He'd have to be a dooling idiot to put Tex on base so he could go after Arod.

Losing Melky might not be a big deal, but Gardner has so many weak ABs that I'd rather not see him in the lineup.

Normally, this would be a relatively less pressurized game, but with Girardi deciding to put everyone on 3-days rest, I think it raises the stakes. Lee is capable of beating the good AJ, so even if he isn't compromised, the Yankees run the risk of coming home with Pettitte on 3-days rest. Also, game 7 would feature CC on 3-days for the second time in a row. In other words, there are questions hanging over each of the next three games. Now, if it would rain on Wednesday (assuming there is a game 6), that could work out for the Yankees.

I guess it all comes down to is Lee really this good and are some of the slumping Yankee bats ready to wake up. With a bottom-5 of Cano, Swisher, Gardner, Molina and AJ, the lineup has basically been seriously compromised. Tex and Swisher really have to come up big to have a chance tonight.

67 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:25 am

[64] Okay, but even thinking bigger picture, what do you think about Chad Gaudin making his first start since September 28, his first ever post-season start, his first appearance since October 20? In a clinching game of the World Series?

CC-AJ-Andy got us here. If the Phillies beat all three of them in a row, then they deserve to have won the World Series. If I'm the Yankees, I refuse to go down with anything but the best talent on the field.

68 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:27 am

[66] LIdge's beaball wasn't intentional, but I'm fairly certain that Blanton's was. First pitch, in the back. I think A-Rod thought so too, given his reaction. I could see some sports-psychologist "serenity now" stuff churning in his head as he leaned on his bat before jogging to first.

69 The Hawk   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:28 am

[66] Yes I've never wished more for a rain out. I think even on more rest, CC is running out of gas. But another three day rest start - as I've said before three games in 8 days is a lot at this point in the season. We all know Sabathia is a big strong guy but we also know he can get gassed just like anyone else.

Btw I really was encouraged by what I saw from Chamberlain last night. The home run was a bummer, but seeing as how Joba is still probably getting back into the swing of relieving, last night was a big plus going forward. (Of course the Yankees could win tonight and it will have been meaningless going forward but I still thought it was good to see)

70 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:30 am

[67] I think Gaudin would have only a small chance to beat Lee. But we only need one, and I think rested AJ at home is distinctly better than Pedro in the Bronx.

Also, I don't care if the Phillies deserve to win the WS. I want the Yankees to win it even if the Phillies deserve it.

71 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:31 am

so with 15 RBI this postseason ARod ties Brosius and Bernie for the franchise record.

finally, ARod's as good as Brosius! (heh)

he's also tied with Bernie for the most single posteason home runs, 6. I love Bernie but I wouldn't mind seeing ARod breaking it.

72 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:34 am

having the possibility of all 3 starters going on 3 days rest (and worst case cc doing it twice) is troubling.

however, gaudin doesn't seem reasonable at this point, considering his use and his mediocrity.
i also think he matches up very poorly against the phillies.
here are his career splits:

rhb: 249/318/409
lhb: 293/389/433

73 Joel   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:36 am

[67] Amen. Girardi realizes that now is when you push the pedal all the way down. Torre managed us out of the ALCS in 2004 with a "we'll win it tomorrow" attitude. We ripped their freakin' hearts out last night. This team is primed to win it tonight.

74 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:40 am

[72] I don't you have to make it Gaudin against the Phillies. You could use Gaudin, Aceves and Hughes as a three headed starter, limiting each to one pass through the lineup.

I don't think AJ/Andy on three days rest is the wrong move...I just think it comes with a lot of risk, which makes the Yankees 3-1 game not seem as commanding.

75 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:42 am

[74] I have to say that with the way the rotation is now set, I would be pretty unhappy if the Series were 2-2. I would think we were the underdogs.

76 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:45 am

[74] i completely agree with the second point - it is risky, though not necessarily the worng move

i will say i have extremely limited faith in gaudin/aceves/hughes right now so i can't get very excited about that.

i also don't see cliff lee dominating the lineup again - even though half of it is being glazed like a doughnut right now.

the question is basically do you decrease your odds of winning tonight in order to increase your of winning tomorrow?
glad i don't have to make the decision, but i think i am more comfortable with the big 3 strategy (however this is really why you need 4 pitchers)

77 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:46 am

[76] by tomorrow i mean wednesday

78 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 11:58 am

[75] Yesterday's win was huge.

79 Yankee Fan in Boston   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:01 pm

If there was any question before last night, Damon punched his return ticket with his game 4, didn't he?

I was watching the game in bed beside my sleeping wife, doing everything I could to contain myself.

I love this freaking team.

And I think that the centaur story makes me like Rodriguez far more than I ever thought possible. I'd be his biggest fan (even bigger than himself) if he put up a centaur painting in his locker. Whether the story is true or not.

80 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:07 pm

In the Gaudin v. short rest debate, what about this question: If AJ were pitching on regular rest, who would hold him back tonight and pitch Gaudin?

I ask this because (it seems) the debate about whether to AJ and Andy and CC on short rest is being driven in large part on the assumption that Lee simply cannot be beaten. If that is the case, they might as well start Gaudin or Bruney and hold AJ for tomorrow.

But if you think that AJ on regular rest stands a good chance of beating Lee, then the debate really becomes to what degree do you think that AJ on four days rest is going to be better than AJ on three days rest.

Pettitte is irrelevant to the discussion. He either pitches on short rest or he doesn't pitch again this series...unless you want him (instead of CC) taking the ball in game 7). And if Pettitte goes in game 7, you need Gaudin to start in game 6, unless you decide to concede game 5.

81 51cq24   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:11 pm

i know that lee has been great for the last 2 years, but i think we're exaggerating how good a pitcher he is. he isn't pedro '99. he can definitely lose a game, especially facing the best lineup in baseball for the 2nd time in a week.
also, short rest or not, i trust aj more in a game 5 up 3-1 than in game 6 up 3-2. and i like andy going up against pedro if it comes to that.

82 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:11 pm

[74] I don’t think AJ/Andy on three days rest is the wrong move…I just think it comes with a lot of risk, which makes the Yankees 3-1 game not seem as commanding.

I guess I don't see throwing away a game today with Gaudin and friends starting, to make it an all but guaranteed 3-2 series as any less risky. In that scenario, you are STILL going to pitch CC on short rest in game 7, or you are going to have Andy---your #3 starter---as the starter in the clinching game.

83 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:11 pm

[80] Pettitte is relevant to the discussion because if he could somehow pitch on full rest in Game 6, I don't think you think twice about using AJ on three-days rest in Game 5. The linchpin in the strategy is Andy.

84 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:13 pm

[82] I don't see using Guadin and friends as throwing away a game. AJ is the better option, but I don't think the Yankees would have no chance with an all hands game.

85 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:14 pm

[66] we have no way of knowing for sure, so we can't say definitviely either way - but I maintain Lidge, in a moment of stupidity and frustration went Bush League and plunked Tex. I think he thought eff it, I can handle ARod, I'm still Brad Lidge.
The main reason I'm clinging to this thinking is the pitch that hit Tex between the numbers just looked to me like it had purpose pitch written all over it. As reckless as it was, with Damon 90 feet away, it just looked like a purpose pitch to me. Logic defies it, but I can't see it any other way. I've watched it over and over, examining Lidge's body language, and I can't process it as a mistake, or one that just got away from him.
Manuel probably should have either removed him from the game after that, or had him walk ARod. Either way, the Phils were phucked after Damon stole 3rd.

86 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:16 pm

[83] But he can't pitch on full rest in game 6 (unless there is a rainout), so he is largely irrelevant to the discussion. In any case, the linchpin in the strategy is CC, not Andy. The entire rotation has been constructed around CC getting as many starts as possible in each series.

If it were not for concern over CC starting game 7, you not have needed him to start 4...or you could have thrown him once on short rest in game 4 and then handed the ball to Andy in game 7.

Obviosuly the organization plans to ride CC as much as possible. He is the focal point, the linchpin. Andy is an afterthought.

87 51cq24   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:18 pm

[85] keep in mind that lidge is a wild pitcher anyway. i just don't see why anyone would rather go after the better, hotter hitter when there are already 2 outs.

88 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:18 pm

[84] I think that it is a hugely inferior option to start Gaudin and friends, not only a downgrade from Aj but also one that would bump either Andy or CC from the rotation.

89 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:19 pm

[85] After watching Lidge this season, I don't think anyone could argue he every really knows where the ball is going.

One thing Girardi has to seriously consider is using Hairston for Gardner or Cano. Lee is death on lefties and Gardner and Cano do not inspire confidence right now.

90 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:19 pm

[81] i agree - though will hedge slightly that what we see tonight will not be the best lineup in baseball becuase of aj, molina, and gardner in it - i hope gardner is at citizens park right this second working with long (unless of course girardi goes with hairston because of his handedness obsession)

91 51cq24   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:20 pm

[86] but the fact that andy can't go on regular rest in game 6 is very relevant. also, if you pitch gaudin tonight and aj in game 6, you'd have andy backing up cc in case cc falters in game 7.
that said, i'd still go with the 3 man rotation. i think the series ends tonight with another close game, maybe 3-2.

92 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:23 pm

[86] The fact that he can't pitch on full rest makes him relevant because you have to weigh his performance into the equation. You can't simply look at what gives you the best chance in game 5 and 6 separately, but rather need to look at what gives you the best chance to win one of those two games.

[88] If we agree that AJ at home on 4 days rest with Matsui in the lineup is better than AJ on the road with 3 days rest and no Matsui, then the question becomes how much better is Andy on 3-days versus Gaudin and company. Also, you then have to factor in the Phillies pitchers into each potential matchup. That's the question that ultimately has to be answered.

93 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:24 pm

[91] also, if you pitch gaudin tonight and aj in game 6, you’d have andy backing up cc in case cc falters in game 7.

OK, that's an interesting point, I hadn't though of.

94 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:25 pm

[89] Lidge hasn't been that wild. He's been ineffective. All season hitters have laying off his slider, which he's been struggling to throw for strikes, and they've been waiting on his fastball, which has lost its zip.
Mentally he's been shot, and certainly capable of a stupid frustated move like beaning Tex to face ARod.

The Philles fan in my office thinks the pitch to Tex was not intentional ONLY because he doesn't think Lidge would have the confidence to be so bold, or stupid.

95 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:26 pm

Wait, how could Andy be irrelevant to the discussion? He's the whole key to the discussion.

Plan One (apparently the actual plan): AJ on short rest, Pettitte on short rest.
Plan Two: Gaudin, then AJ on full rest.

I agree with what I assume is the prevailing view that Pettitte on short rest is better than Gaudin. But is he enough better to make up for taking away one day of rest for Burnett and also having Burnett pitch in CBP instead of in YS? This seems to me to be the key question.

96 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:27 pm

[92] If we agree that AJ at home on 4 days rest with Matsui in the lineup is better than AJ on the road with 3 days rest and no Matsui

I don't think Matsui makes AJ any better...but I know what you are saying. I haven't looked into the numbers closely enough, but I think that the difference in one start on three days rest for AJ means that the difference in performance from full rest will be negligible. As such, I have a lot of confidence throwing him tonight.

And I have about ten million times more confidence starting Andy on short rest once over starting Gaudin for the first time in a month, especially since Andy's start will follow an off day, so Mo will be revved up to go for two innings.

97 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:27 pm

[90] Gardner can't hit lefties and Lee destroys them. It isn't a matter of a handedness obsession, but I think a good baseball move.

98 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:28 pm

[96] Okay, that also answers my question. Though you forgot to include the Burnett Home/Road difference. But, okay, if you think Pettitte on short rest is that much better than Gaudin, that does answer the main question.

99 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:29 pm

[94] He has been wild. Not only has he walked over 5 men per 9 innings, but the main scouting report on him is he has had no command of his fastball, meaning when the slider goes, he is left throwing BP.

100 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:31 pm

[95] He's largely irrelevant to the discussion because him pitching on short rest can't be avoided unless:

1. He is bumped from the rotation in favor of Gaudin starting (either game 5 or game 6)
2. He bumps CC from the rotation in game 7.

#2 is not going to happen, so let's eliminate that. If you are going to bump Pettitte from the rotation (#1), then obviosuly you would do so by throwing Gaudin tonight and having AJ go on full rest in game 6 (if necessary).

No matter what path you choose, Andy is simply being slotted into whatever rotation start happens to be left over. The entire strategy hinges on considerations not-Andy: arranging the rotation to have CC throw three times and whether to start AJ on short rest v. Lee or save him.

Show/Hide Comments 101-167
101 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:31 pm

[97] yeah i am joking about the handedness obsession with girardi (remeber richie sexson)
but this is a time i might favor gardner's cf defense over hairston's - though i can definitely see wanting hairston's bat over gardner's against lee

102 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:33 pm

[99] he's been ineffecitvely wild. he hasn't been all over the place crazy, hitting batters left and right. He's lost command, precision, and confidence but not to the point of not knowing where his pitches are going.
His mental lapse in not covering 3rd on the Damon steal pushed him to the point of stupidity and frustration. That's how I'm reading it.

103 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:33 pm

[100] It's true that he's being slotted into whatever slot is leftover. That certainly doesn't make him irrelevant. Look, if instead of Andy Pettitte you put Roy Halladay into whatever spot is leftover, then obviously you don't have Gaudin pitch at all. That shows that the evaluation of Pettitte is not irrelevant.

104 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:34 pm

[100] Option 1 is why Pettitte is relevant to the discussion though. If you think Pettitte can go on 3-days rest, you don't bump him. If you think he can't, you do. Pettitte is driving this decision. If Girardi felt Andy couldn't go on 3-days rest, Gaudin would be starting tonight.

105 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:37 pm

BTW, LoHud is reporting that the Yankees are thinking of petitioning to add a player to replace Melky, with the options being already with the team (i.e., Cervelli, Peña, Guzman). That is slim pickings, but I think that I would go with Peña--he's fast enough (not Guzman fast), but he can also play IF, which would free up Hairston to be used more creatively.

106 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:39 pm

[104] Pettitte is not driving any decision, because Option 1 is not an option at all---at least so it seems the way the team has arranged the rotation. It is CC who is driving the decision.

107 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:39 pm

[101] Over his career, Hairston has rated rather high in CF. I don't think it would be a significant drop off on defense.

[102] He did hit 5 batters after plunking only 1 in 2008. I've seen Lidge enough to consider him as having very poor command. That he could miss his fastball location by a foot or two doesn't make me raise my eyebrow at all.

108 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:40 pm

[104] That's pretty much how I see it.
But I'd add: if you think Pettitte can go on three days rest, but that he'd be less effective, then you really should think about plugging in Gaudin tonight, because by doing that you upgrade Burnett's start from short-rest-away to full-rest-home.

109 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:40 pm

[105] Has to be Cervelli with Molina batting in an NL park. It opens up the double switch and allows you to save Posada for the right spot.

110 Joel   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:41 pm

What about JHJ getting the start in CF tonight? 119 games in his career in CF. A righty bat against Lee. Gardner as a late-inning replacement.

111 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:43 pm

[106] CC is not driving anything in game 5 or 6. He has been locked into 1, 4 and 7. That has left 5 and 6 up in the air. If you don't think Pettite is driving this decision, I'll ask you this: If Girardi thought Pettitte couldn't pitch on 3-days rest, would he be going in game 6? If you answer no, then it shows that the game 5 decision is based on Pettitte because otherwise you would go Gaudin/AJ. If you answer yes, then you are saying Girardi's incompetence is driving this decision.

112 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:44 pm

[109] How does it open up the double switch? I'm not arguing, I just don't see how it increases opportunities for a double switch.

Also, under what circumstances would Posada need to be saved, when Matsui and Hinske are on the bench already? Again, I'm not arguing...it just seems to me that there will be very few opportunities for Posada to hit that would not involve him replacing Molina, in which case I don't see the need for Cervelli.

113 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:44 pm

i think this is the main equation:

option 1:
part a:
aj on short rest on the road
against cliff lee
with a lineup that includes molina and aj

part b:
andy on shot rest at ys
against pedro

part c:
cc on short rest with no real back-up

option 2:
part a:
chad gaudin (and he *is* chad gaudin) and frinds (who are *his friends* for a reason) not having pitched recently
against cliff lee
with a lineup that includes gaudin but gets po's bat

part b:
aj on regular rest at ys
against pedro
with a lineup that includes molina, but gets matsui's bat back

part c:
cc on short rest with andy as back-up

114 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:45 pm

[107] nah, before drilling Tex between the numbers he didn't exhibit any such wildness. His command looked pretty damn good against Matsui and Jeter, and even Damon. That long at-bat sparked the frustration. Sorry, don't see it as anything but intentional stupidity and frustration.

115 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:46 pm

i think it is aj that is driving this decision - not cc really at all and andy only a bit

116 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:47 pm

[113] See, I really like your Option 2 Part b. Until I thought about that part this morning, I was fully on board with the Plan of the Three Starters.

117 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:49 pm

I also prefer Cervelli, not so much for a double-switch but so as to allow Posada to come out for a PR late in an AJ Burnett game. In a Molina start, we're on kind of thin ice as soon as Posada PHs. It's probably fine, but you can't PR for him and there are potential disasters.

118 Ben   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:49 pm

I think Andy will be driving Ms. Daisy before any of this matters. AJ's gonna shut em down and end this tonight!

Just kidding. I think Option 2 in [113] makes a lot of sense. But I think the Phillies sort of gave last nights game away, pitching Blanton instead of Lee. At least strategically. It would be a shame to return the favor just to go to a game 6.

119 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:49 pm

[112] The catcher will be in the 8th slot, so if you have to make an early pitching change, it might be useful to use Cervelli in a double switch. Because you have 3 or even 4 outs in the lineup, you might want to use Posada with men on base instead of a potential bases empty situation early in the game. With all these weak bats, the Yankees could use Posada, Matsui and Hinkse. Also, if Lee remains in the game, you'd rather use the righty Posada as your main weapon off the bench.

120 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:50 pm

[111] He has been locked into 1, 4 and 7.

Yes. And that immutable decision has dictated all other related decisions. It is CC who is driving the entire discussion.

In response to your subordinate question, obviously Girardi thinks that AJ on short rest + Pettitte on short rest gives him a better shot to win than Gaudin + AJ (in whatever combination). Obviously if he felt that Pettitte could not pitch on three days rest, he would opt for a different strategy...indeed, he probably would have arranged his rotation for the entire series diffeently. But the same could be said for AJ--obviously Girardi trusts that he CAN do it, or he wouldn't pitch him short rest. But Pettitte is no more driving this decision than AJ is---the entire strategy is driven by the über-decision to pitch CC in games 1, 4, 7.

121 Joel   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:50 pm

If I'm reading my stats right JHJ 1 for 3 with a HR off Lee this year. Not a lot, but...

122 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:51 pm

[118] My take-away message from last night's game was almost the opposite of yours. Despite having their worst starter against our best, then nearly won -- it was just the bullpen battle that they lost. This reminds us that there really aren't any give-aways in baseball. (John Sterling, meet Tom Hanks.)

123 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:51 pm

[114] That's ok...I am not really trying to convince you. I just think the idea that he hit him is from way out in left field.

124 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:53 pm

Uh, in [122] I seem to have been using the somewhat non-standard abbreviation "then" for "the Philadelphia Phillies."

125 The Hawk   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:54 pm

Wait wait wait. So Molina is catching tonight? That's official?

126 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:54 pm

[123] my point is, if you think it was intentional, (which it was! - heh) you appreciate what happened afterwards soooo much more. I'm trying to do all of you a favor, and what thanks am I getting?

127 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:54 pm

[115] AJ is driving it too, but I think the assumption is he can definitely handle it, but Andy is the question mark. Of course, that assumption could be wrong. Maybe Girardi actually thinks Andy in 3-games is a better option. The bottom line is Joe has to believe in both pitchers' ability to do this. Otherwise, Gaudin would be pitching one of these games.

128 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:55 pm

[119] Right, but with a short bench and no one who can play in the field, I don't see many double switch opportunities. If the double switch involves the catcher, then you are only swapping the #8 and #9 spots in the order, and that has a lower chance of mattering than if the spots in the lineup are spearated. You would open just as many if not more double switch opportunities by having an extra OF or IF---then you could, say double switch with Cano leaving the game (if he just batted), the pitcher taking his spot and Hairston taking the #9 spot coming up next inning.

129 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:56 pm

[120] mp i agree with your overall theme - but i would say because the cc in 147 is immutable it is also basically mute to the point of no longer being a decision - that decision has been decided - it is now the other decisions that are up in the air (well at least for us - girradi seems to be set on aj, andy)

130 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:57 pm

[120] CC going on three days rest hasn't dicated the other decisions because it does nothing to decide who starts in 5 or 6, which is what we are discussing. If CC could only go in 1 and 5, he would then be driving the decision because Girardi would have no options. It would have to be Gaudin in 4, AJ in 6 and Pettitte in 7.

131 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:57 pm

OK, I need to do SOME work today...after lunch of course. Talk to y'all later tonight. Go Yanks!

132 Ben   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:58 pm

[122] No you're right. It doesn't always play the way you draw it out.

It seems to me that since some over thinking in the ALCS, Girardi is going with the simple bet as often as possible. Go with the big horses. Go with Mo as quickly as possible. Let the big guys that got you there and are paid the big bucks win or lose it. You've got to figure the urge to overthink and manage must be overwhelming. I'm impressed with his restraint.

When will the lineup be posted? I can't wait to see the Gardner/hairston, cano, molina/posada decisions.

133 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:59 pm

[130] But the ONLY reason we are debating games 5 and 6 is because they decided to go with CC in 1, 4, 7. Otherwise, a normal rotation would have been set up, with Gaudin taking game 4. The decision to start CC in 1, 4 and 7 drives ALL of the starting pitching decisions in the series; it dictates and sets the parameters of the discussion.

134 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:59 pm

[127] agreed

[125] i would be shocked if molina is not catching. this whole game plan revolves around aj giving a superb performance tonight and i don't think girardi would risk that by going with po (now mp and i will leave this alone today - even though i am very appreciative of mp coming to po's defense at the end of the game thread last night)

135 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 12:59 pm

[126] I don't think the intent of the pitch has an bearing on appreciation of the win. I could care less about the Yankees settling scores...I just want them to win games for the sole purpose of winning the World Series.

136 51cq24   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:00 pm

[114] clearly lidge was rattled by damon's ab and then stolen bases. i'm sure we've seen enough relievers with poor control to know that they can lose it in a second.

the other thing about burnett tonight is that he seems to think that short rest is good for him. while that might mean nothing, with someone like aj who seems to need all the mental advantages he can get, confidence is pretty huge.

but even aside from that, basically i think that we now have a huge advantage- a 3-1 series lead with cc lurking for a possible game 7 against hamels. i'd say we go for the win now without letting the phillies back into the series. maybe that lessens our chances of winning game 6 (although i don't think it does by much), but it also increases our chances of winning game 5 by a lot. and game 5 is most certainly winnable.

137 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:00 pm

[131] enjoy lunch, and try not to get intentionally hit by Brad Lidge, or another Phillies pitcher. It won't be easy.

138 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:01 pm

[128] You can still do that. I guess I don't see any reason to need Pena. You aren't taking out Jeter or Arod, and Hairston can back up Cano at 2B. Molina, however, is someone you definitely want to get out of there as soon as you can.

139 williamnyy23   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:04 pm

[133] We have different understandings of "driving decisions". My interpretation is something that determines all other decisions. In this case, CC going three days doesn't determine other decisions because there are several options for game 5 and 6. You seem to define driving as creating a situation in which decisions need to be made.

140 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:13 pm

[79] I was thinking the same thing. I think it's agonizing to have to choose between Damon and Matsui. I think Damon gives maybe a tad more upside because of his speed and his ability to have ab like last night culminating in an off-field hit. Plus, he does have pop.

Really wish we could keep 'em both.

141 The Hawk   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:32 pm

I think you go with your best, but AJ on the road, on three days rest, and either pitching to Posada or pitching to Molina and having Molina's bat in the line-up in an NL park with the pitcher also hitting ... Exacerbated perhaps by Cabrera being unavailable ... I think it's worth a thought as to whether it might be better to throw Gaudin, or whomever, then have AJ on full rest at home with the DH.

142 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:40 pm

[134] i don’t think girardi would risk that by going with po (now mp and i will leave this alone today – even though i am very appreciative of mp coming to po’s defense at the end of the game thread last night)

thanks for the mention!

And yes, I will not complain about Molina starting tonight...in fact, I actually wrote in favor of it in this case [16].

143 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:42 pm

[140] I say keep Matsui over Damon, but we'll have the offseason to obliterate that one into thrice-zombified dead horse status. ;)

I was a big proponent of starting Gaudin in game 5 if the Yanks were up 3-1 . . . the only thing holding me back is mehmattski's bit in [60] about Gaudin having last pitched more than an inning on September 28th, and his potential flyball (as opposed to groundball) tendencies, especially if JHJ starts in CF (I wouldn't do that, FWIW). AJ's home/road splits worry me a little bit, but given that this road game is in an NL park against an NL lineup - that bit is very tiny.

Over the last 4 years, batters vs AJ when he's on the road have hit .245/.320/.387 in 1867 ABs. If we limit that to just NL parks, it becomes .246/.322/.359. I'm not sure we should worry too much.

144 The Hawk   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:53 pm

[142] I'm still not sure why now it's okay to have Molina out there - to me it's the worst possible time, considering what the lineup is going to look like. I guess it's a case of pick your poison.

145 51cq24   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:57 pm

[142] i also appreciated your defense of an all time yankee great (still-great) who gets way more shit than he ever deserves, and not nearly the respect he's earned over 13 years.

146 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 1:58 pm

[144] Only because they have a 3-1 lead and Lee looks to be tough...and because I am tired of moaning about it. So taken together, I think you throw Molina out there and hope that he has the magic pixie dust and AJ pitches lights out. He's on short rest, so I think AJ is gone by the sixth anyway, so that means Molina's start stands a good chance to be shorter than usual and thus the potential for him to hurt the Yankees on offense is lower. In teh meanwhile, you hope to scratch a run or two against Lee and put the pressure on manuel to PH for him later in the game. Ultimately, you hope this ends up a close game, battle of BPs, where the Yankees have the better BP and Posada coming off the bench.

147 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:00 pm

[143] Earlier in the year I sad Damon over Matsui, no doubt, just because Johnny can still play in the OF some and can run, so he's more versatile. But Matsui has been so solid with the bat at DH, I may be coming around.

148 The Hawk   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:05 pm

[146] Why, that sounds downright unscientific!

149 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:06 pm

[147] Good, good! I sometimes feel lonely in the "keep Matsui, drop Damon" discussion. But again, lots of time in December for that . . .

[146] I think its worth pointing out that, as bad a hitter Molina is, having both Posada and Matsui (and even Hinske) on the bench versus the pretty crappy Phillies bullpen is a huge, almost impossible to understate, advantage.

By contrast, the Phillies' primary pinch hitter can't hit lefties and hit .194/.357/.379 at age 41 this year. It only gets worse from there.

150 monkeypants   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:08 pm

[148] Indeed it is.

151 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:08 pm

[148] we are ensconsed in velvet sweatpants - we give up - let aj throw to his buddy - let them have their mound conferences - let a few balls get in the dirt on molina - let molina have his 2abs - and let's wrap this thing up!!

152 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:09 pm

[113] In a three-game view of the series, I like option 2 better. But putting the series away tonight may be the controlling factor behind Girardi's decision.

Also I think that Gaudin is the backup to AJ, Andy, and/or CC getiting shelled early in any of the games.

153 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:10 pm

re: Damon vs Matsui

It may not be relevant at all to the point, but both have done considerable animal charity work.

154 Yankster   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:12 pm

One of the things every post has missed is that in game 6 you get Pettite AND Gaudin not OR. You're not burning Gaudin by not having him start the game. In fact, I bet he's solidly ready to go in Game 6. Not only that, I think having Gaudin ALLOWS high risk / high reward strategies like short rest to be taken.

If AJ has nothing (which I doubt, I think he'll have a great game, Gaudin will come in early). If AJ pitches well but loses (which, unfortunately, I think will happen), Gaudin will be warm and ready at the beginning of Game 6. I don't think you can use Pettite on short rest the same way. I don't think you can have Pettite come in after gaudin implodes in the second inning and still give 5 innings. To pitch on 3 days, he needs to be mentally and physically prepared to start. If he comes out and is good, great. If not, you still have the default performance level STILL AVAILABLE for that game.

What's interesting is that Burnett, because of his short rest history, doesn't actually look much worse than starting on full rest. That means the real choice is, how do you get the best of pettite AND Gaudin.

Because Gaudin will be constantly available no matter what in each game, and because he is not a catastrophic back-up choice, it allows Girardi to try and catch lighting in each of these great, lightning capable pitchers.

155 Yankster   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:14 pm

154 posts and my point gets beaten [152] by 20 seconds and I still have typos. Move that ")" back and you get an intelligible sentence.

156 Sliced Bread   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:19 pm

[153] True. I'm most impressed by their efforts to save the centaur from extinction, and help these magnificent creatures rebound in North American cities.

157 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:20 pm

[153] My colleagues are now staring at me and wondering why I'm laughing so uproariously. I forget about that!

158 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:21 pm

I was going to keep it for a surprise, but I can't wait.
As a special treat for everyone, I have arranged to get Aura and Mystique to drive the Score Truck tonight!

159 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:22 pm

[157] two people just walked by me and looked at me as if i were a crazy person to be pitied or feared

160 RIYank   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:22 pm

[158] I should mention that this was no small feat (although they both do have very small feet), since they had to juggle their busy PETA promotional appearance schedules.

161 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:26 pm

[160] great work. i wonder what 38 pitches will have to say about mystique and aura drving the score truck.

162 mehmattski   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:26 pm

[158] I hope that Aura and Mystique have put on a few pounds. You know, to increase the mass, and therefore... Momentum.

163 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:34 pm

[153] [156] Hah ah h ah ha hah ah ha hah aha ha ha!

164 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:36 pm

You guys are killing me!

I love you guys!

165 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:41 pm

Is it nighttime yet? I can't remember the last time a non-game thread went this many comments. Clearly we are all only too ready for the game to start! =)

166 ms october   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:44 pm

[163] we really have chutley's hair to thanks for this

167 The Hawk   ~  Nov 2, 2009 2:47 pm

[162] I hope that Aura and Mystique have put on a few pounds. You know, to increase the mass, and therefore… Momentum.

Not that it’s relevant to your point, but they both do a lot of animal-based charity work.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver