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The Price is Right

I think David Price and the Rays will find a way to beat Cliff Lee and the Rangers tomorrow night. Either way, neither Lee or Price is likely to start Game One of the ALCS against the Yankees. Over at the Pinstriped Bible, Steve Goldman takes a look at the possible pitching rotation for the New Yorkers:

Now, we know that the Rangers are reluctant to use Lee on short rest, but perhaps young Price won’t be subject to the same limitations. Yet, moving up Price, or Lee for that matter, doesn’t change anything. Whether they pitch Saturday (three days) or Monday (five days), they’re getting two starts in the seven games. If they pitch on regular rest on Monday, they have the benefit of their usual recovery time, and the manager retains the option of asking them to come back on short rest for Game 6 or regular rest for Game 7.

After the first four games, determining the matchups becomes difficult and depressing. Given Andy Pettitte’s fragile physical state, it seems spectacularly unlikely he would pitch on short rest for Game 5. That means A.J. Burnett or Ivan Nova or Waite Hoyt or someone who wouldn’t ideally start is going if Game 5 is necessary. One alternative, and it’s probably not a good idea or even a realistic one, is Hughes pitching Game 2 . This would open up the possibility of shis tarting Game 5 on three day’s rest. Then Pettitte would pitch Game 3 and would line up to pitch in the seventh game if, for some reason, Sabathia couldn’t make another short-rest start.


1 RIYank   ~  Oct 11, 2010 9:46 am

I'd definitely go with AJ for Game Four. Seriously. Stop laughing, or choking, or whatever those odd noises are.
That way you get CC, Andy, Phil, on regular rest.

If it were just CC, then sure, go short rest. But if CC were to be slotted for Games 1, 4, 7, you'd still have to have AJ in there, or else the other two studs on short rest, and if the former then I think having each of the three good pitchers on regular rest is better than CC twice on short rest, and the latter seems like a bad idea.

So, sure, maybe AJ spits the bit. But (a) he might be good, and (b) even if he's bad the Yankees could still win that game (against the opposing #4 pitcher, after all), and (c) if the Yanks lose at least they're set up really well for the last three game.

2 RIYank   ~  Oct 11, 2010 9:51 am

To put it another way, Goldman's quite reasonable idea has Sabathia going three times, twice on short rest; Pettitte twice, on full rest; Hughes once. I'd prefer Sabathia, Hughes, Pettitte twice each, on full rest. My way replaces one of CC's starts with a fully rested Hughes start, and the second CC start is on full rest instead of short rest.
If Phil had looked bad the other day, I'd feel differently.

3 rbj   ~  Oct 11, 2010 10:00 am

When we're up 3-0, then start AJ for game 4. No way the Yankees lose up 3-0

4 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 11, 2010 10:04 am

I'd give AJ a start, too.

5 The Mick536   ~  Oct 11, 2010 10:15 am

AJ? I'd start Britt Burns before I would give AJ Burnett a start. Maybe Al Holland is still around, eh!

6 monkeypants   ~  Oct 11, 2010 10:24 am

If the team is (hypothetically) completely unwilling to give AJ a start, then he shouldn't be on the PS roster. The question, then, is not whether the team should give him a start, but under which circumstances, as noted by [3]. If the team is up, either 3-0 or 2-1, then I think you have to go with AJ. Down 0-3 there is no way he gets a start. But what about down 1-2? I'm not sure I would allow him to start that game either.

7 mhoward120   ~  Oct 11, 2010 10:49 am

Why not match Burnett up with either Lee or Price? Certainly, if its Lee, its very likely a lost game anyway and at least Burnett won't be able to fuck up a second game.

8 rbj   ~  Oct 11, 2010 10:50 am

[6] If the Yankees are down 1-2, you gotta go to CC. Can't win the WS without winning the ALCS. Worry about the WS when we get there. Even if it means starting Nova in game one. For four innings, then Javy for three, then the bullpen.

9 Sliced Bread   ~  Oct 11, 2010 10:56 am

[1-2] yup, I'd do the same, but your reasoning is more thorough than what I was thinking.

10 RIYank   ~  Oct 11, 2010 11:02 am

[6] I'm not sure this is the right idea. (I'm not sure it's wrong, either, it's tough.)

Here's the clearest way to look at it. Take the two simplest cases. Bad Scenario: we're down 3-0; Good Scenario: we're up 3-0.
In the Bad Scenario, we have to win all four remaining games. In the Good Scenario, we have to win one of the remaining four games.

I'm assuming (I think everyone is) that an AJ start gives the Yanks a considerably lower chance of winning, but also that starting one of the other pitchers on short rest reduces his chance of winning. So the relevant question is whether the reduction in strength of the better pitchers outweighs the advantage of leaving AJ out of the sequence.

I think it takes a fairly odd collection of probabilities to make it better to leave AJ out in the Bad Scenario but better to give him the start in the Good Scenario.

For a little practice model, I assumed that CC has a 60% chance of winning on full rest, Phil and Andy have 55%, and each of them loses 5% on short rest. I gave AJ only a 30% chance of winning.

In this model, leaving AJ out gives the Yankees better chances in either scenario.

Do those numbers seem very unrealistic? (I set up a little spreadsheet so I can re-run it with different numbers very easily.)

11 Mattpat11   ~  Oct 11, 2010 11:52 am

Is Waite Hoyt seriously being tossed around? Because that one seems like the winner, to be honest

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