Yanks make the right call by tabbing Sabathia for Game Four start

Winter ball updates
Fan Confidence Poll: October 19th, 2009

Sabathia after pwning some foolsWith the Yankees heading to Anaheim sporting a 2-0 series lead in the ALCS, Joe Girardi announced earlier tonight that they’re going for the kill and will start CC Sabathia in Game Four on Tuesday night. It’s the first time the big guy will start on three days’ rest as a Yank, and naturally some fans are a bit concerned that the team may be pushing their ace too hard in a non-must win situation. That’s fine, but giving the ball to Sabathia in Game Four is absolutely the right move for several reasons.

First off, starting on three days rest is nothing new to CC. You’re all aware of his heroics with Milwaukee down the stretch last year, and all told he’s made four starts on short rest in his career. The results? How about a .172-.230-.183 batting line against and a 1.01 ERA (1.93 FIP) in 26.2 IP? Sure, most of that was against NL lineups full of September callups, but those games were absolute must-wins for the Brew Crew, and Sabathia was certainly up to the task time and time again. He’s done this before, and knows what he needs to do to prepare himself for the start.

Secondly, the reason the Yankees are comfortable doing this now is because they went out of their way during the season – particularly late in the season – to make sure they didn’t overwork CC. His ALCS Game One start came on eight days’ rest (because they swept the Twinkies), and his final four starts of the regular season came on at least five days’ rest (and one was on six days’ rest). Even counting his two postseason starts, Sabathia has thrown 8.1 fewer innings in 2009 than he did in just the regular season last year. They kept him fresh for this very reason, to ride his left arm in games that actually mean something.

Another thing to consider is that at this point, the only other option for that Game Four start is Chad Gaudin, and he last appeared in an actual game 16 days ago. For all the uncertainly surrounding Sabathia on short rest, Gaudin is just as much of a question mark right now. We saw how rusty Al Aceves was in his first inning of work Saturday night, and that was after a mere seven-day layoff. I know that Gaudin beat the Angels in Anaheim less than a month ago, but come on, it’s one start. It’s indicative of nothing. I think everyone in Yankee Universe would prefer Sabathia at even 80% to Gaudin at 100%.

Even if the Yankees win Game Three tomorrow afternoon and go into Tuesday’s game with a commanding three games to none series lead, starting CC in Game Four is the right way to go because it guarantees that you can get two more starts out of him against a very good team in a short series. We all learned the hard way in 2004 that getting the final win of a playoff series is the hardest one, and having a pitcher like Sabathia available to start twice in final four games of a seven game series is a huge, huge advantage.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what you or I think, the Yankees are going to go ahead and run Sabathia out there in Game Four hoping he can either clinch a trip to the World Series or give the team a 3-1 series lead. They’ve gone to great lengths to ensure he’s rested and prepared for such a start, and starting Sabathia on short rest not only gives the team the best chance of winning that game, but the winning the series as well.

Photo Credit: Reuters Pictures

Winter ball updates
Fan Confidence Poll: October 19th, 2009
  • putt

    I would prefer CC at 80% to Gaudin at 160%. They are making the right call.

    • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Rob A of BBD

      They’re definitely making the right call. And if it did go that far, I’ll be glad to have him go in game 7 too.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        If there is a Game 7, he can start it on normal rest. There’s off days before and after Game 5.

        • putt

          Maybe they play the game early just to prove a point?

          • Mike HC


  • mustang

    “We all learned the hard way in 2004 that getting the final win of a playoff series is the hardest one”

    All too well.
    Great thread totally agree.

  • Salty Buggah

    More CC in any formula leads to most success.

  • Dela G


    you make excellent points.

    Every time i see your name, i sound it out for some reason.. haha

  • Salty Buggah

    I hope we get on Weaver early so we can take CC out early if needed.

    • Salty Buggah

      Me FAIL. CC isn’t pitching tomorrow.

  • Evil Empire

    You know CC is feeling like The Man right about now too. His swagger level more than matches any grit the Angels may have left.

    • The Evil Empire

      Change your name

      • http://ElEvilEmpire dudes

        You change your name.

        • The Evil Empire

          I was here first lol

          • An Evil Empire

            Hey, lots of us, eh?

            • One Evil Empire

              Hey, hey! Where’s the party?

              • Rebel Scum

                Yavin IV, bitches!

  • pat

    CC is either gonna be the dagger or a momentum killer.

    I approve.

    • pat

      *Killing ANA momentum if Pettitte falters tomorrow.

  • Evil Empire

    Honestly, I think Kazmir is going to just kinda going to give us game 4 anyway. I like our chances versus him. And A-Rod is going to do bad things to Weaver tomorrow … just sayin’.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    I’m offended that you didn’t use the Spring Training picture I took of CC. It is now the property of RAB.

    • putt

      I’m offended they keep using that photoshopped picture of me from my work’s “Leave Your Shirt at Home Day” for the I Got Ripped in 4 Weeks ad.

      It’s bullshit, it took me 8 weeks to get that shredded, nobody can do that in 4!

      Where’s my royalty check?

  • Ivan

    Agreed with decision. To be honest, this decision was easier than people think. Hopefully he has enough energy to pitch against the Angels and put the absolute dagger in those bastards hearts.

    • Evil Empire

      I guarantee you that CC has it in him to pitch up to 5 more excellent games of baseball – however many it takes to win his team a championship. The Bear was built for this. I think the challenge is going to make him, if anything else, more focused and on point.

  • PaulF

    For some reason Angel fans are really confident about facing Pettitte tomorrow. Why don’t people realize that he’s really good?

    • Salty Buggah

      Well, I guess it because he’s our #3 guy. They need something, anything really, to give themselves assurance (even if may be false) about their Angels. They didn’t get anything against AJ or CC so Andy gives them their best chance. Also, I guess since he struggled against the Angels earlier this year in his little bad stretch of starts so that gives them confidence. Little do they know, Andy can pitch well, especially in the playoffs so hopefully all of this just leads their hearts being crushed even more.

      • Evil Empire

        I’d expect Pettitte to pitch a good game tomorrow. Having to only throw around 80 pitches last game, and all the extra rest, should do him well. Pitching in good weather conditions won’t hurt either.

        None of that jibba jabba gonna save the Angels from A-Rod though.

        • CountryClub

          Pettitte has been pretty vocal in the past about his struggles when he has too much rest. He talks about being too strong in the first few innings. So let’s hope he starts off sharp.

          The extra rest didnt seem to affect him against the Twins.

    • pat

      For some reason Angel fans are really confident about facing Pettitte tomorrow.

      It’s probably Andy’s 7.45 era over his last 29 ip vs LAA or maybe the .360 BAA.

      • Dela G

        yeah…. that might be it

        • mustang

          LOL.. you think

    • Mike HC

      He does not throw 95 plus, which surely makes for more comfortable at bats, no matter if the results are the same for the Angels, which I hope they are.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten


    Andy, CC, AJ, Andy, CC. There is no way the Yankees don’t win 2 out of those 5 games. No. Way.

    • Mike Pop

      Have the Yankees even lost 4 of 5 more than once or twice this year?

      • pat

        4 in a row April 24th -27th.
        4 in a row and 7/9 May 2nd-12th
        3 in a row and 5/6 June 17th-23rd

        So yea, but those were all in the first half of the season. We’ve been the balls since the ASB.

  • ShuutoHeat

    No doubt he’ll have no problem.
    There’s more than just a fire burning in him now. Back of his mind, he knows that theres a devastating team behind him. All he has to do is keep the game within reach or shut the opposing offense down.

    Before the Yanks, he had to keep the game away from the opposing team AND worry about his crappy team while he’s sitting in the dug out.

  • BigBlueAL

    This shouldnt be much of a debate. CC starting Game 4 is by far the best option for the Yankees period.

  • http://www.newyorkjets.com/image_assets/8997/052109_coach_rex_ryan_presser_320.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    “Secondly, the reason the Yankees are comfortable doing this now is because they went out of their way during the season – particularly late in the season – to make sure they didn’t overwork CC. His ALCS Game One start came on eight day’s rest (because they swept the Twinkies), and his final four starts of the regular season came on at least five day’s rest (one was on six day’s rest). Even counting his two postseason starts, Sabathia has thrown 8.1 fewer innings in 2009 than he did in just the regular season last year. They kept him fresh for this very reason, to ride his left arm in games that actually mean something.”


    -Dan Shaughnessy

    • Dela G


      that article will haunt him for a while when the yanks get #27

    • Salty Buggah

      I cant believe Bahston still didn’t waste their energy in the ALDS. They must have been saving their bullets and players for next year. Oh those Sox, always preparing for the future.

  • The Evil Empire

    No open thread so i’ll use this instead.

    Because the Yankees are up 2-0 in the series, A Rod’s success and CC’s dominance have over shadowed Teixeira’s MAJOR SLUMP. All may be well because we’re winning, but how has no one mentioned this (or did i miss it)/

    Teixeira this postseason: .176 .273 .208

    • Brian

      Tex is the new ARod.

      That said, it hasn’t hurt us so far.

    • Tom Zig

      There was an open thread tonight

      • The Evil Empire

        Oh, the game thread, my bad.

    • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

      April is the cruelest month of all. Except maybe October?

      Don’t know if it is relevant or not but Teixiera is always bad in April – maybe he needs the warm weather? In that case look for him to be a beast in LA tonight!

      • Mike HC

        I think it is the cold weather too, but who knows for sure.

        • Mike Pop

          I think April is because he is just getting into the season, not really in rhythm yet.

          This now, I think it’s a combo of good pitching and Teix slumping a bit. Not worried.

          • pete

            yeah he’s said it’s the switch-hitting that causes him to take longer to get into a groove – he’s not naturally ambidextrous so his swings are awkward in the beginning

    • BigBlueAL

      Tex is just emulating Tino Martinez who hit like this almost every postseason.

    • Manimal

      He hit a walk off hr… I don’t think you can complain.

    • CountryClub

      Considering the defense he’s provided, and the walk off HR, I think we can all give Tex a pass for the past 5 games.

  • gargoyle

    Characterizing 5 games worth of numbers as a “major slump” is a bit much.

  • Januz

    I am not worried about Tex. It is a good thing that they are winning without contributions from major components of this team. This means that there is actually room for IMPROVEMENT (Maybe even winning two out of three in Anaheim, and putting the Angels away). They will need to be firing on all cylinders if they face Howard, Utley, Ibanez, Werth, Pedro, Cliff Lee and the rest of the Phillies in the Series.

  • DCR

    I really think that Gaudin and Sabathia should both be ready to start game four. If the Yankees win, let Gaudin pitch. If not, let CC go. Using 2004, a one in a lifetime incident, as to why its not smart to hold back a pitcher is silly.

    • Mike Pop

      Nah. Don’t even let the Angels gain that momentum. If they beat up on Gaudin, which they probably would – they get their confidence back a bit.

      Just shut them down.

      No commercials, no mercy.

  • http://twitter.com/hopjake Jake H

    I agree with the post and the move. Why would you give the ball to a pitcher is by far a worst pitcher. You give the ball to your best pitcher that is why Mo came in with 1 out in the 8th. Hughes has been great but you bring in the best and you start your best starters.

  • Doug

    would feel more comfortable if he had only thrown 98 pitches instead of the 113 by pitching the 8th, but can’t really criticize the decision

    • Bo

      15 pitches really means anything?

      113 pitches isn’t 150 here.

      113 is light for him.

  • John Duci

    I would much rather play the Dodgers in the WS for many reasons. First, It would be pretty cool playing and beating a Joe Torre managed team in the WS. Second, the Phillies are simply better then the Dodgers. Were starting to see it as they start to take control in the NLCS. They have a very very good offense and a more then respectable staff with Hamels,Pedro, and Lee. Third, the weather. I would rather play in LA for 3 games then in Philly. Warm weather seems to help some of our guys like Tex and Pettitte. Plus between the bronx and philly there will probably be atleast 3 rainouts, which blows.

  • Jon

    Gaudin hasnt pitched in 16 days

    hes going to have to be the #4 starter in the world series how many days will he have not pitched then? Maybe its a good idea to get him some work.

    • andrew

      Yankees can go 3 man rotation in the World Series too.

    • Bo

      He can work on off days or throw in the pen. You dont “get people work” in the playoffs.

      • pete

        ehh, i’d say if we’re up by more than 6 after 5 tomorrow, take CC out and throw Gaudin in there for a couple innings barring a major blowup. I’d rather take a little risk there than have gaudin rusty as fuck when we might actually need him (we shouldn’t, but it’s stupid not to be prepared if we get the chance).

  • John Duci

    How sweet would it be if we had 06 and 07 Wang and didnt need CC on 3 days rest.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      Cause 06 and 07 Wang was AWESOME in the playoffs.

      I’ll stick with CC, thank you.

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    Just curious about the peripherals on those starts on 3 days rest in his career…I know he carried the Brewers on 3 days rest a few times in a row last year…and pitched quite well for them…but he eventually tired out and couldn’t do much of anything. How would this affect his World Series starts? And yes, I know, we need to get to the World Series first…but I’m still just curious…hypothetically speaking.

    • Chris

      In his career, CC has a 1.01 ERA when pitching on 3 days rest (only 4 games). Here are his other stats:

      3 days rest: WHIP:0.825 K/9:8.8 K:BB:4.33
      Career: WHIP:1.232 K/9:7.6 K:BB:2.69

      Here are his splits by days rest:

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        Yeah, but if the series goes to a Game 7 that will be another 3 days rest start. I’m sure he’s good on 3 days rest…it’s AFTER the several 3 days rest starts in a row…that gets me worried.

        • Jon

          If the series goes to game 7 he will be on full rest then

          not 3 days

        • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

          No it is not. Game 7 would be on full rest.

          • themgmt

            They’re talking about the WS, both game 4 and 7 would be on three days rest.

  • Mike HC

    You had to mention 2004, didn’t you, ha. Even with the Yanks playing the way they are now, that 2004 reference definitely ruined my last couple of minutes.

  • Tank Foster

    I know they never do this, but any thought of starting Gaudin, letting him pitch 3 innings, and then bringing CC in to finish the game? It would be a way to get Gaudin some work, since he’ll need it for the WS. It would minimize CC’s pitches, making him stronger for the game 7, if it were needed.

    But I know managers never do stuff like this, perhaps for good reason. And if the choice is Gaudin v. Sabathia on 3, I want Sabathia.

    Another good thing about starting Sabathia on 3 is that it might force Scioscia’s hand into using Lackey on 3.

    • Mike HC

      You have not finished your coffee yet this morning, have you?

      • Bo

        Yea I’m sure Girardi wants to reinvent the wheel in Game 4 of the ALCS.

        Have you not watched him operate the past 2 yrs???

        • Mike HC

          I’m assuming this is just a standard “Bo has not yet figured out the reply button system,” response.

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    We all learned the hard way in 2004 that getting the final win of a playoff series is the hardest one, and having a pitcher like Sabathia available to start twice in final four games of a seven game series is a huge, huge advantage.

    While this is certainly true…our 2004 team literally had zero pitching. Mike Mussina and his 4.85 ERA was our Ace while Jon Leiber and his 4.65 ERA was our #2?? The fact that we won the first 3 games that series against 20+ game winner Curt Schilling and perennial ace superstar Pedro Martinez was the embarrassing part for the Sox actually.

    But I agree. Shut the door while you can. Don’t want to make any more room for them to get hot or for you to cool down.

    • Mike HC

      Are you trying to say that starting Kevin Brown in game 7 that year was not a strong candidate?

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying. And adding Vasquez with his nice grand slam to the first batter he faced wasn’t great either. Our pitching was just all around horrendous.

        • pete

          well I’m not sure I totally agree, but I see what you’re saying. We had good pitchers, they just didn’t pitch well for us that year.

  • Bo

    I’m sure this decision was agonized over for about 3 seconds.

    • Chris

      You really thing it took that long?

  • Mike Pop

    Has CC surpassed Johan?

    • Mike HC

      With the way he is pitching in the postseason this year, I think the answer is yes. Check that, I know the answer is yes.

    • pat

      This doesn’t really answer your question but is interesting..

      Santana FB velocity by year
      2007: 91.8
      2008: 91.0
      2009: 90.6

      2007: 93.7
      2008: 93.8
      2009 94.1

      Obviously velocity doesn’t exactly equal success, but going forward I’d want the guy who is holding steady as opposed to trending downwards.

      • Mike Pop

        Hmmm. A weaker fastball makes his changeup worse too.

        Was just wondering, after seeing what CC did in the NL last year, you would think he could just constantly put up an ERA in the 2’s.

        Also out pitched him in 07, in the AL.

        • pat

          I really can’t see too many NL lineups giving CC trouble.

          • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

            I’d say the Phillies, but they’re a left-handed-heavy lineup. So there goes that.

            • Rebel Scum

              Burnett has been more effective vs. LHH this year than RHH.

              • pete

                point being? we’re talking about CC and Johan

  • Riddering

    I’m going to file this one under…not a concern at all.

    In fact, no, I just changed the file name to “thank you Jesus”.

  • bsure

    Now that Giradi has once again blown a game ( 3 ) by over thinking match ups,
    hopefully CC can pitch another gem.

    David Robinson was on a role exuding confidence, and Girardi pulled him for no apparent reason.