I wanted to get this in BEFORE the Monday night game, so no one will think me a “Tuesday Morning Manager”.
I think Yankees manager Joe ("D'oh!") Girardi has just made his first big World Series mistake.
He’s elected to start A.J. Burnett on short rest in Game Five at Philadelphia vs. Cliff Lee.
The Yankees are up 3-1 in games, and this is a game I expect them to LOSE, based on (A) Lee’s previous superlative performance, (B) There is no Designated Hitter in the National League’s home park – and the Yankee pitchers will have to bat, and (C) Jose Molina will be catching Burnett – leaving Jorge Posada’s bat out of the lineup.
The Yankees need to win just ONE MORE GAME out of the next three – the final two of which are home at New Yankee Stadium. Why waste Burnett – on short rest, no less – in a game they are likely to LOSE, when they can pitch him on full rest at home, with the “DH”, and all other home advantages?!
My feeling is that Girardi should “sacrifice” this game by starting Chad Gaudin. If they lose, no big deal. They can still win one of two games at home. In the unlikely event that they win the championship tonight, Chad Gaudin goes down in “The Yankee History of Unlikely Heroes”, alongside Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone!
If Burnett pitches Game Six, Girardi has both CC Sabathia AND Andy Pettitte to secure Game Seven, should it become necessary! Now, he must run BOTH Pettitte and Sabathia out on short rest – if it goes to Game Seven. Sabathia can do it, but Pettitte probably cannot!
Hopefully, it will work out – and I will learn why I was never asked to become a Major League manager… though how much worse could I do with the Mets!
Stay tuned tonight…