Burnett’s history of pitching on three days’ rest

2009 World Series Chat
When Johnny comes running home again

Tonight, in the first elimination game of the 2009 World Series, the Yankees will send A.J. Burnett to the mound on just three day’s rest. The tactic makes sense. The alternative is Chad Gaudin, who hasn’t started a game since late September and who has a well-documented deficiency when facing left-handed hitters. With such a significant drop-off between the Yankees third best starter, Andy Pettitte, and their fourth, Gaudin, the choice was not a difficult one.

Burnett has experience starting on three days’ rest, and most of it came in the 2008 season with Toronto. His performance in those games might have helped influence Joe Girardi‘s decision, so let’s take a look at exactly what happened when Burnett took the mound a day earlier than normally scheduled.

July 4, 2004

Burnett underwent Tommy John surgery in early 2003 and made his return in June, 2004. He had a few blips, including a 4.1-inning, eight-run outing against Cleveland, but generally pitched well in his first month back. Unfortunately, the Marlins could not pick him up, losing each of Burnett’s six starts that month. This included back to back starts in which Burnett allowed just two runs over seven and eight innings.

On July 4, the Marlins called on Burnett to start on three days’ rest against the Tampa Bay Rays, against whom he had thrown the aforementioned eight-inning game. He didn’t pitch quite as well, allowing three runs over 7.2 innings, but it was enough to earn his first win of the season. He struck out six Devil Rays that day, including Carl Crawford to lead off the game. Atypical of Burnett, he also didn’t issue any walks — though Tampa Bay drew the fifth fewest walks of any MLB team that season.

It might seem strange for Burnett to start on three days’ rest so shortly after recovering from elbow surgery. That seems like the kind of move that could lead to a relapse. Burnett, however, had thrown just 30 pitches on June 30, leaving the game two batters into the second inning after allowing five hits and walking two. That light workload made the short-rest start make a bit more sense.

July 13, 2008

Burnett started off July 2008 with two horrible starts. In seven innings against the Angels on Independence Day, Burnett allowed eight runs, six earned, on 12 hits over seven innings. The next time out he allowed seven runs on seven hits and three walks over 5.1 innings to the Orioles. Why, then, would the Blue Jays bring back Burnet on there days’ rest to face the Yankees on July 13?

I’m not quite sure. It was the last game before the All-Star Break, so perhaps Cito Gaston didn’t want Burnett to have such a long layoff. Whatever the reason, it worked. Burnett took a shutout into the ninth inning, though Jason Giambi ruined it with a solo home run. B.J. Ryan came on after a Jorge Posada single to record the final two outs. Still, Burnett was magnificent, and it’s one of the reasons that the players lobbied the team to sign him over the off-season.

September 13, 2008

At the end of August, Burnett found him with quite the challenge. On the ledger for his final three starts of the month: the Yankees twice, with Boston in the middle. While the Blue Jays were out of the race, it was still an audition for both teams. He killed the Yankees, but faltered a bit against the Red Sox. He’d get his chance for redemption against them, though, as Gaston named him the starter on September, just three days after his seven-inning, one-run performance against the White Sox.

It wasn’t an easy six innings for Burnett, as he used 102 pitches, walking three. But at the end of the sixth he had allowed just one unearned run. The Blue Jays went to town, scoring eight runs in support of their free-agent-to-be, helping him pick up his 18th win of the season.

The phantom three days’ rest start — April 16, 2008

When looking up Burnett’s short-rest starts, I first went to his Baseball Reference splits page, where it says he has started four games on three days’ rest. Yet I found only three such games. It comes down to a nitpick: does a start count as being on three days’ rest when the previous appearance was in relief?

On April 16, 2008, then-Blue Jays manager John Gibbons called on Burnett to come into the 14th inning of a game at home against the Rangers. It was tied 5-5, and the Blue Jays needed some more innings out of a dwindling pen. He had last pitched on April 13, also against Texas, and didn’t pitch particularly well in that start, allowing four runs over 5.2 innings. It seemed curious that Gibbons would call on Burnett two days later, but he did and paid for it. Burnett allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in the 14th, leading to a 7-5 Blue Jays loss.

Then, three days later, Burnett came out to start against the Tigers. It was six days after his last start, but just three days after his last appearance. He allowed three runs over five innings, walking six in the game. It was easily his worst start on three days’ rest, yet the Blue Jays offense put him in line for the win, his second of the season (the first was against the Yankees in his first start of the season).

In a way, I don’t want to count it because the start on three days’ rest did not follow another start, but a relief appearance. Then again, Burnett did throw 24 pitches in that span, six short of the 30 he threw on June 30, 2004, which he followed with a start on three days’ rest. Is there much of a difference there? I thought so at first, but I’m not so sure after thinking it over some more.

None of this guarantees Burnett anything tonight. It proves that he’s physically capable of throwing on three days’ rest and succeeding, but that’s about it. Knowing his track record is a bit reassuring, at least.

2009 World Series Chat
When Johnny comes running home again
  • Free Mike Vick

    Pitching AJ Burnett tonight is the right move….

  • dalelama

    Now that Lee has gotten his four days in I am rooting for a rain out.

  • Chili Davis

    The fact that every pundit I’ve seen has questioned the move to start Burnett pretty much guarantees he’ll dominate tonight. Why? Because most of them are idiots.

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

      The idiocy of the punditry has never been more obvious than it is today. What is their other option? Chad Gaudin? He’s awful against lefties and has thrown one inning since Oct. 3 and 2.1 innings since Sept. 28. It’s November now. Jeez.

      • Tom Zig

        I agree completely.

        • justin

          To his credit Jim Duquette as well as all the people on XM Radio have echoed these sentiments. It’s the morons who make it on television that suck at life.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I really don’t get how anyone who’s ever written about, talked about, thought about, or spoken about baseball could logically conclude that starting Chad Gaudin tonight would be a good idea.

      • YankeeScribe

        I think most media people are biased against the Yankees and want the series to go more than 5 games…

        • TheLastClown

          Or they’re MEDIA people, who have more jobs to do if the series gets extended.

      • Tank Foster

        Not saying I agree, but here is the argument you say doesn’t exist:

        1. Lee is fantastic. High likelihood the Yankees manage, say, 2 runs in 8 innings off him.
        2. Burnett on any rest is likely to give up more than Lee, maybe moreso on short rest.
        3. If Burnett loses, he’s done for the series, and the Yankees have Pettitte next, also on short rest.
        4. Pettitte on short rest is probably more iffy a proposition than Burnett or Sabathia. If the Phillies managed to beat Pettitte, now you’ve got momentum on their side, and CC on short rest for game 7.

        The alternative is you accept a probable loss and eat innings with Gaudin. Then when you go to YS for game 6 you have Burnett fully rested. For game 7, you have BOTH Pettitte fully rested and Sabathia, and lefties are killing the Phillies.

        It’s not a completely idiotic way to think about it.

        I wish Aceves and Gaudin were a bit better, I think I might try to cobble together a good game with them tonight and go with fully locked and loaded arms for the last 2 games if needed.

        But since Gaudin and Aceves are awful now, I would start Burnett and just go with the current plan.

        • justin

          You don’t take probable losses in the world series…especially when you have a chance to close it out. In a short-series you go for the jugular…during the regular season you have a point.

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

      Questioning the move? Ironic, as everywhere I see today is talking about Charlie made a terrible movie NOT starting Cliff Lee on 3 days rest yesterday instead of Blanton.

      On a separate note, I think that’s kind of a slap in the face to Joe Blanton who pitched EXTREMELY well, I believe.

      • the artist formerly known as (sic)

        EXTREMELY well?

        Really? REALLY?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        If I was a Philly fan, I’d have absolutely no problem slapping Joe Blanton in the face in order to start Cy Young Award Winner Cliff Lee on short rest.

        Tell Joe Blanton to go buy an icepack. Cliff Lee is better than he is, by miles.

        • Bo

          Chad Gaudin isnt a realistic option.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            You can’t realistically use the reply button.

  • DFD

    I think Burnett tonight is the right move, only because you need to put your best players on the field. Don’t throw the game away because Lee is pitching. The Phillies are down (but not out), don’t let them pick themselves back up. You have to finish them off.

    • Tom Zig

      The Phillies are down (but not out), don’t let them pick themselves back up. You have to finish them off.

      This one bears repeating

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

        Even if the Phillies win tonight, it’s not that big of a deal. The Yanks would just have to win one game at home against not-Cliff Lee.

        • JeffG

          If it is no big deal if the Phillies win tonight – and it isn’t – wouldn’t you rather trying to win the last two game as home with you best pitchers rested?

          • http://ElEvilEmpire dudes

            I don’t like punting tonight. It’s easier to win one out of three than it is to win one out of two.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside
  • steve s

    The 3 day rest sample size is so small that it is bascially irrelevant. From a psyche perspective, though, I think AJ will be under much less pressure to win Game 5 than a Game 6 (pressure will ratchet up greatly in Game 6 for the Yanks to avoid Game 7) and that perhaps is more likely to result in a good performance for him. The further the game stays close tonight the tighter the Phillies noose becomes so a loosey-goosey AJ that keeps Yanks in the game for first 6 innings or so justifies the decision to pitch him tonight IMO regardless of his prior brief 3 day rest history

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      From a psyche perspective, though, I think AJ will be under much less pressure to win Game 5 than a Game 6 (pressure will ratchet up greatly in Game 6 for the Yanks to avoid Game 7) and that perhaps is more likely to result in a good performance for him.

      AJ has pitched one World Series game in his career, and that game was a pressure-filled Game 2 with his team in a 1-0 hole after getting convincingly beaten by an ace pitcher in Game 1 and staring at the possibility of going into enemy-territory (for 3 consecutive games) down 2-0. And in that pressure-filled game, he turned in a kick-ass performance. I think it’s a bit misguided to try to reach conclusions on this topic either way, but if anything you’d have to conclude, based on the smallest of small sample sizes, that the pressure’s not necessarily a bad thing for AJ, wouldn’t you?

      • steve s

        Can’t really disagree with the logic of what you said but Game 2 was an AJ pitching on more than regular rest. I guess I am remembering his starts in Bos as being more about “head case” than “stuff” so to the extent you can keep the “head case” variables down the better shot you seem to have with him (another ex. Molina catching).

        • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          The important point is that this is all baseless conjecture. He’s had some good starts in pressure situations, and he’s had some not-so-good starts in pressure situations. Just be careful not to fall for false narratives.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            The important point is that this is all baseless conjecture.

            None of this is gonna matter when we’re famous singers.

  • BklynJT

    Maybe the Yankees figure out Cliff Lee today. It would be a great way to end this series, a win against Lee. Here’s to hoping!!!

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Yeah, it can’t get worse than Game 1, so they can only improve.

      On a related note, I think there’s a bunch of overreaction going on in regards to Lee’s Game 1 start. He was fantastic, yes, but he’s still the same Cliff Lee we’ve seen for the last few years. He’s an ace, no doubt, but some people are acting like the guy is Randy Johnson in his prime, like he’s an unbeatable force of nature, and he’s certainly not. He’s having a very nice run, but the Yankees are a very good team and could definitely put some crooked numbers on the board against him tonight. He’s still the same Cliff Lee we’ve seen in the past (he’s very very good, but not superhuman).

      • TheLastClown

        Exactly. If Philly is to remain in the Series, he’s going to have to turn in a very similar performance to Game 1.

        This is not a foregone conclusion.

        If it happens, fine. That’s why I originally picked Yanks in 6.

        Also…let’s assume that Philly will pick up his $9 option for 2010, but he’s a FA after that.

        We will probably be saying goodbye to Andy after 2010 is over, I wonder if the Yankees make a play for Lee after next year.

        This offseason…quiet. Next…Lee? After that…King Felix?

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          Isn’t he getting a little old? I think he has two, maybe three more years like this one in him, and we’re gonna have to give him five. I’d hold out for the younger studs.

          • TheLastClown

            It possible, but he’s not a power guy.

            His stuff may not decline that quickly.

  • Frank

    I’m not worried about AJ at all. My concern is the offense given Molina and Gardner are in the lineup. Tex and Cano really need to hit tonight. But I have this feeling Swisher comes up huge tonight leading the Yanks to number 27.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD


      I have full confidence in A.J. running out a great performance. Hopefully, Joe surprises us all and puts Jorge out there.

      /monkeys flying out of butts

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Have they announced that it’s Gardner yet? Hairston in CF is the smarter move, IMO.

      • Mike bk

        i hate to disagree with u tjsc but gardy’s D is a bigger upgrade over jerry in Center than jerry’s bat.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          That’s possible, but not a slam dunk. Gardner can be overmatched by a lot of pitchers, but the lefty-lefty matchup could render him utterly punchless, and the offensive downgrade may be larger than the corresponding defensive upgrade. It’s a judgement call.

          I’d make the call for Hairston, but if you play Gardner it’s not a dumb move. I just don’t think it’s the right move.

          • Chili Davis

            Gardy’s hit .291 against lefties this year, FWIW, though Lee isn’t your average lefty.

          • Tank Foster

            Lee pitches to contact and I think Gardner handles the bat well enough that I’d take my chances with him. I don’t think Hairston is that much of an offensive upgrade.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              To each his own, I suppose. Both sides of this discussion have merit; neither choice is wrong IMO.

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

              Hairston certainly has more pop though. That’s without question.

              10 HR in 383 at bats…

              Gardner has 3 in 284 at bats…

              Funny, I can’t remember ANY of the 3 he’s hit lol

              • justin

                You don’t remember the inside-the-park-gritty-promise-to-young-cancer-patient home-run?!?!?! IT WAS SO GRITTY!!!

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Both Hairston (.708) and Gardner (.627) are awful against left handers so does it really matter? Both are good on defense (Hairston = career 17.5 UZR/150 in CF in 847.2 innings, Gardner = 23.9/150 in 789.1 IP), though, so it’s really just a coin flip.

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

          Jerry Hairston Jr. Vs. Cliff Lee
          6 AB, 1 Hit, 1 HR, 1 RBI, .167 BA, .167 OBP, .667 SLG, .834 OPS

          Brett Gardner Vs. Cliff Lee
          5 AB, 2 Hits, 0 HR, 0 RBI, .400 BA, .400 OBP, .800 OPS, 1 Sac Bunt (making it 6 plate appearances)

      • Frank

        TSJC- no confirmation- I just assumed it would be Gardner. My bad.

      • Rob in CT

        Really? When is the last time Hairston played CF? I can’t imagine he’s as good defensively as Gardner.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          He’s not as good defensively as Gardner. But,

          1) Gardner is lefty, and he struggles against lefties (or at least, he bats slightly better against righties; he struggles against everyone, to be frank);
          2) Hairston is a righty, and he hits lefties better than he hits righties;
          3) Lee is a lefty, and he shuts down lefties better than he shuts down righties.

          All the platoon splits of all three parties favor sitting Gardner and playing Hairston. I trust Hairston the righty to fare better against Cliff Lee the dominant lefty than Brett Gardner the lefty would.

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

            And pinch running Gardner later in the game > pinch running Hairston later in the game.

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

              Not necessarily for one another…but in general.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

            A little fallacious info in your points, tommie.

            “2) Hairston is a righty, and he hits lefties better than he hits righties;”

            Moot. We don’t care how he hits against righties. We care how he hits against lefties vs. how Gardner hits against lefties. That’s the only issue of debate here.

            I’m also disappointed in you. Gardner hit lefties much better than he hit righties this season. Every one of his slash stats was better.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Fine. Eliminating the “How did Hairston or Gardner do against righites?” part of the question:

              Gardner v LHP:
              .291/.381/.400 in 65 PA this year
              .241/.310/.316 in 91 PA career

              Hairston v LHP:
              .242/.319/.422 in 148 PA this year
              .264/.323/.386 in 1090 PA career


              Cliff Lee:
              .241/.263/.320 v LHB this year
              .283/.321/.414 v RHB this year

              .268/.309/.405 v LHB career
              .262/.318/.415 v RHB career

              Yes, Gardner has hit lefties well this year, but that reeks of small sample size and is not in line with his career norms. Also, Lee shuts down lefties fairly well, both career and moreso this year (and his 2009 v LHB sample size is quite larger than Gardner’s 2009 v LHP sample size).

              The preponderance of data would tell you to expect a better offensive production from Hairston than from Gardner. Platoon splits exist for a reason. Choosing between two fairly punchless hitters, I’ll take the righty batter against the good lefty pitcher in Cliff Lee.

              Oh, and Brett Gardner’s sterling 2009 tripleslash against lefties? It comes with a .356 BABIP. Red flags galore.

              • Bo

                I think its apparent that Girardi doesnt want to see gardner at the plate 4x a game.

                But his defense has to be a factor in playing tonight.

  • ansky

    Funny thing is…you know if Girardi would’ve started Gaudin and he gets rocked…then every pundit would’ve crucified him for not going with his best. It’s like they HAVE to go against whatever the Yanks do.

    • Bo

      thats why you dont listen to fans and pundits.

  • Mike bk

    AJ at 75% is much better than Gaudin at 100% so you have to make to move. also if you didnt you would be in a scenario where either Andy or CC wouldnt start one of the last 2 games, but since we wont need them that is moot now.

    Also there is all this talk of 3 days rest but with all the off days this postseason isnt that also somewhat skewed in that burnett had 7 days b/w minn and game 2 vs the angels, 4 before game 5 and 6 before game 2 of this series so he has been well rested overall.

    Andy had 7 from reg to minn, 7 from minn to game 3 alcs, 5 to game 6 and 5 to game 3 of the WS this postseason.

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

    Just as arbitrary…

    AJ Burnett has amassed 30.1 IP at Citizens Bank Park in his career. He has a 5.04 ERA, 1.319 WHIP, yielding 28 hits, 12 walks, and 5 home runs over that time. Opponents have hit .250/.320/.446 (.766) against him in his career there.

    • JGS

      and before this year, he had something like a 0.54 ERA at Fenway. That didn’t exactly hold up

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

        Exactly. My point is…is that all these numbers just give you an IDEA of how things might span out.

        Pedro Martinez had a 5.66 ERA on the Road all year and pitched an absolute GEM at Yankee Stadium in Game 2.

  • Andrew

    So if AJ comes up big tonight, is he our MVP? Cant be CC with 0-1, probably not A rod with only 2 hits, jeter has the average but doesn’t feel like the mvp. Damon?

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      If the Yankees win tonight and A.J. puts up a good performance, he’s the MVP for sure.

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

      AJ Styles is the MVP if he pitches a gem tonight. If he doesn’t and we win some other way…why not Mariano??

      • Andrew

        Mariano, good choice. For some reason I just overlooked that. I think even if AJ pitches 7 innings 1 run ball and gets the win followed by another 2 inning save (would girardi do this?) he deserves mvp honors.

  • UWS

    If nothing else, Francesa going apeshit over AJ’s start tonight convinces me that it’s the right move.

    • Chili Davis

      He’s really tough to listen to today.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I can’t wait to hear him say that the reason Phil Hughes struggled in the bullpen this postseason was somehow tied to the fact that he shouldn’t have been a starting pitcher back in May.

        Or that Joba’s bull in a chinashop mentality is back and that we have to keep him in the pen and go sign Lackey so that Joba and Phil can be the co-Bridge to Mowhere.

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  • JeffG

    I think what a lot of you are failing to realize is that we are trying to give ourselves the best chance to win the WS and not the best chance to win game 5.
    Sure AJ is better than Gaudan but Lee is better than AJ. This gives us one unfavorable pitching matchup. Then you ask Pettitte to go out and pitch on short rest and there you have a 50/50 chance followed by game five with no back-up for CC (who has looked progressively worse. Command can be an issue with pitchers going on short rest and CC has shown it.

    I like AJ for a game six just because he is throwing well and would have a much better chance of beating Pedro than he does against Cliff Lee. Also, to consider is he would have Matsui behind him. This stacks the odds in our favor whereas I think going for the kill tonight makes the last three pitching matchups dicey.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      “Then you ask Pettitte to go out and pitch on short rest and there you have a 50/50 chance”

      You are the second commenter today to make up percentages. The Yankees do not have a 50/50 chance with Pettitte on the mound. I don’t know the exact percentages. No one does. That’s the point.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        No, actually, he’s right. Here’s the breakdowns:

        Chances Andy wins Game 6 on short rest: 50/50

        Omitted, but also accurate statements:
        Chances Andy wins Game 7 on normal rest: 50/50
        Chances AJ wins Game 5 on short rest: 50/50
        Chances AJ wins Game 6 on normal rest: 50/50
        Chances Gaudin wins Game 5 on extended rest: 50/50
        Chances CC wins Game 7 on short rest: 50/50
        Chances any pitcher wins any game on any day: 50/50

        Since the chances are identical no matter which way you go, I’ll take AJ, Andy, and CC on short rest over Gaudin, because their true talent levels are far greater.


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

        In all fairness, these were entirely made up. The percentages before were at least taken from Vegas style gambling odds…which isn’t really much of anything…but at least it’s something.

      • JeffG

        50/50 wasn’t meant to be taken as exact as I don’t assume to give exact percentages but I’d say Pettitte against Pedro on short rest is an even matchup (better phrase?) whereas Burnett gives us the advantage if facing Pedro(edge – much better probability). He does not give us that against Lee.

        • Januz

          I like the idea of pitching AJ tonight, the sooner you put the the Phillie dog out of its misery the better. This team is not exactly oozing with confidence that they will actually beat the Yankees (The statements of Manuel, Lidge, and in particular, Hamels, would frighten me if I was a Phillie player). Even if they win tonight (No guarantee, up against AJ), do they really think they can beat Andy in a Game 6? (Even on short rest) Or more unlikely (From their perspective), Hamels beating CC in a Game 7?
          This reminds me of the Angel series, where the Phillies best pitcher will go in Game 5 down 3-1 (Like Lackey was). At the same time, knowning that Andy and CC are waiting for them at Yankee Stadium, and just like with Brian Fuentes, their closer simply cannot be trusted in a big situation.

          • JeffG

            Yes, I do think we are more at risk with Andy at 3days rest than we would be with AJ full rested. Remember tonight does not determine the WS on win for us does.

            CC’s control has also been looking worse and worse so I would also be more relaxed to have Pettitte on four days going behind him iff needed. Cole looked good through the first couple of innings Saturday… he might be able to put in a good performance.

  • Am I the only Kevin?

    To echo others, if AJ comes out tonight and puts up a quality start and gets the W, he has a good argument for MVP honors unless Damon, Arod, or Jeter (in that order) do some major damage with the bat against Lee.

    Off topic, but does anybody have a clue why Posada and CC were using sequences of signs (instead of single signs) with nobody on base? I have never seen that before. Were they thinking the Philly bench or hitting coaches was somehow stealing signs?

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

      Yes. We do have a clue, but this is off-topic. Please review the commenting guidelines.

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

        To bring this somewhat back on topic…does Molina use sequences with AJ tonight? Or was just a CC/Posada thing?

  • Kevin Lauziere

    I’ve got a question. Maybe you can help me

    Why Girardi decided to start Burnett tonight ? I mean, Cliff Lee is almost an automatic win, if he pitchs the way he has done it on game 1. So Burnett could be ready for game 6 against Pedro, the same match-up of game 2, the one that Burnett was dead-locked on the mound. Maybe Pettitte is good to, on 3 day rest, but I’m pretty sure I heard he’s not…

    Maybe someone can answer me, because, I’m not sure that it’s the right move. Thanks in advance :)

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

      Just wondering: Did you read through our comments here before asking this question? It’s addressed above in more than one comment.

      Short answer: The alternative is Chad Gaudin, and there’s no reason to hold back Burnett or Pettitte.

      • JeffG

        I think there is a reason to hold back AJ. You face him off Against Pedro a game I feel he wins. Or you face wasting his ability by putting him against Lee.
        Followed by short rested Pettitte against Pedro and I think you are rolling the dice.

        • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

          You’re rolling the dice by giving up a game before it’s been played. You put your best players out there–that’s why people make faces at the Molina move–rather than conceding defeat.

          This is especially true when you’re in the World Series.

    • Chili Davis

      The Yankees have a 3-1 series lead, recognize that Burnett has dominated on short rest in the past and are trying to go for the throat. If he’s on his game, Burnett can absolutely go toe to toe with Lee. The Yankees are doing the right thing, IMO. Even if this series goes back to the Bronx, I love our chances w/ Pettitte and CC versus Pedro and Hamels.

      • Chili Davis

        Oh, and the Gaudin factor that Ben mentioned.

      • JeffG

        Aj may be able to go toe to toe against Lee and lose so why not put him against Pedro? One win wins the WS.

        • UWS

          Because nothing is guaranteed. Lee may let up 5 runs and Pedro may pitch another gem. Let’s not make it sound like Pedro got hit around in Game 2.

          As Rose said before, this is why they play the game. There’s no reason to punt a game and let the Phils back into the series. AJ v. Lee gives the Yankees the best chance to win TODAY. That is what they should be going for.

          • JeffG

            You have a pitcher needing to win one game. You pitch him against Lee or Pedro?

            “Because nothing is guaranteed” is not a way to make management decisions, you have to go for likelyhoods.

            • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

              You put your best pitcher available in every game to start to give you the best chance to win.

              Gaudin not only is the worst pitcher available but he hasn’t started a game since late September. He hasn’t even put in 5IP since then so it’s really unfair on top of everything else to expect him to put forth even a decent performance. You can’t punt games in the playoffs. Plain and simple.

              • JeffG

                I don’t think that is good strategy.

                Lets just make a hypothetical:

                Your best pitchers will give up:

                A) 1 run B) 3 runs C) 3 runs D) 8 runs

                Their best pitchers will give up

                A) 0 runs B) 3 runs C) 3 runs

                Going your D,A will beat their A,B
                – Going A,B,C against A,B,C may not.

        • Chili Davis

          Why throw a World Series game by starting Gaudin, who’s barely pitched since September? The Yankees have a chance to end this thing tonight w/ a guy who was pure dynamite in pressure-packed Game 2, and wants the ball for this one.

          What’s with people conceding this game to Cliff Lee? He isn’t Sandy Koufax. A very good pitcher, yes, but a beatable one as well.

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

      Because Cliff Lee isn’t an automatic win. And our best chance to win tonight is with AJ Burnett…NOT Chad Gaudin.

      I proposed a similar question earlier…but never used the phrase “automatic win.”

      I see your point…but the way I proposed it…is that AJ vs. Lee tonight gives us our best chance to win tonight. But Gaudin tonight…sets up the pieces so that we have the best chances to win the next 2 games IF we lose tonight. And those were based on my opinions using what I’ve seen over the season…I didn’t have infinite amounts of data to back my story…and to be honest…I wasn’t even fully sold on it…it was just a hypothetical.

      • Kevin Lauziere

        I’m not questioning the move of Girardi. He’s the manager and he decides whatever he wants. I was just wondering why put Pettitte in that situation ( Possible Game 6 )

        What I mean by Automatic Win is that Lee is damn good on the mound. He was impressive so far in the postseason and I thought that Burnett, fully rested, in Game 6 could be more effective than Burnett tonight and Pettitte Wednesday.

        Still, Go Yankees Go for tonight. It will be awesome ! :):)

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

          Yeah I know what you’re saying. I was thinking something similar…but you play to win every game. You don’t concede series clinching games in favor of future games (in which there’s no guarantee you’ll win either). It’s just bad managing. You play to win every game…and you put the best you can out there during the World Series…period. If you get beat with your best…than so be it…but at least you didn’t put out your worst when you had your best available. You know?

          I see your point though. It’s a tad bit of overmanaging…but we’ll see how this way turns out.

          Go Yankees!

          • Kevin Lauziere

            I got it !

            As you said —> Go Yankees !

    • Kevin Lauziere

      Thanks !

    • A.D.

      Pettitte’s numbers on 3 days rest in his career are slightly worse than his career numbers, something around .2-.3 in ERA.

      The reason you do it is to go for the win, sure Lee has pitched well, but that doesn’t make the game over before it starts. On top of that Gaudin hasn’t been very good against lefties, and hasn’t really pitched in over a month, so how effective would he even be?

      On top of that if this went to game 7, you’re starting CC. CC in 3 days rest > anyone else on the Yanks on 4 days. So you can either start AJ & Pettitte on short rest, giving the best chance to win each game or basically give up game 5 to throw AJ game 6 and then not start Pettitte again.

      • Bo

        There is no such thing as an automatic win in October.

        Come on. Sabathia was tied with Joe Blaton after 8 last night. You mean to tell me Burnett cant do the same or better vs Lee?

  • Tank Foster

    I still think the Yankees can hit Lee. His late season starts were awful. After some rest heading into the postseason, he returned to form. But he is hittable.

    I’ll probably be wrong, but I see them scoring 4-5 runs off Lee tonight, and knocking him out of the game in the 7th.

  • Ghost of Scott Brosius

    I think it’s also worthy of consideration that you want to force lee to pitch a full game and take himself out of this series. If gaudin goes out and gets absolutely shelled, they could pull lee at around 75-80 and maybe he can come in for relief in game 7, ala Randy Johnson. Just a thought.

  • Bo

    Gaudin starting isnt a realistic option. Not with him not having started in a month. Not with girardi managing the team. Not with having 3 starters willing to go on short rest.

    You dont punt WS games. Just because Lee was good in NY doesnt mean hes going to do it again. thats why they play the game.

    • UWS

      When Bo is the voice of reason, there’s really not much left to say…

  • Ivan

    Sorry uys for not being there, my battery for my laptop isfucked up rite now.

    I agree however that Burnett SHOULD start game 5. No screwing around here. Starting Gaudin is baically giving the Philies a fre game. Go for th throat.

  • NatalMike

    I agree with Burnett for tonight. If the Yanks can’t win 1 of the next 3 games, 2 of which would be at home, with Burnett, Pettite and CC, then, shades of 2004, they don’t deserve to be champs. Of course that ain’t gonna happen. I think there is very little to worry about. Chill the champagne.

  • JM

    Why must Molina catch? 7-8-9= Automatic outs.

    • Tank Foster

      Yeah, it’s a weak 7-8-9, but they aren’t automatic outs. Weird things happen in WS games. Jose Vizcaino, Luis Sojo, Tony Womack….

      • UWS

        …Andy Pettitte…

  • dkidd

    cliff lee’s last 7 starts in the regular season:

    4.68 era/1.51 whip

    • dkidd

      6.12 era

      math fail

      • dkidd

        6.13 era

        /rounding up fail
        //resolves to stop

  • Keanu Reeves

    Bottom line. AJ gives the Yankees their best chance to win tonight’s game. You never play for tomorrow. You always play for today.

    This is the same logic that led to Mo throwing two innings to finish Game 2.

    • Tank Foster

      So why don’t we use pitchers on 3 days rest all season long? Because we know they won’t last, risk injury, and aren’t as effective as on 4 days, or some subset/combination of those factors. So you do think ahead. Much less important in a WS to think ahead, but it’s still a good idea.

      If Gaudin or Aceves were more effective, I’d consider starting one of them tonight. As with Blanton last night, sometimes a 4th starter type guy can keep you in the game better than you think.

      Gosh imagine of Wang were healthy….

      • UWS

        But the key point is that there are no more games to think ahead to. This is it. The big one. For ALL the marbles. That’s why the pitchers are going on 3 days’ rest, and why Mariano has pitched so much. There is nothing left to pace yourself for.

        • Keanu Reeves


          I should have clarified that in my post obviously. You use 5 starters and give rest in the regular season so that when the postseason comes along, you can go balls to the wall.

          So Tank I get your point, but what UWS said is more what I was going for.

          And yes, if Wang hadn’t fallen into a black hole this team would be…well…it just wouldn’t be fair lol.

  • justin

    Everyone in this thread is very focused on the 3-days rest thing. What seems to be a commonality is that it is an x-factor and decidedly unpredictable…but A.J. himself is exactly the same way. I think we have to drop the variable from the argument because the sample size is too small and the pitcher too multifarious. We have no idea if we’ll get good A.J. or bad A.J. tonight but if you run Gaudin’s numbers against the Phillies hitters against his over their careers I think you’ll find that Burnett has been much more successful against this Phillies team. He certainly has more experience against them.

    Here are Burnett’s numbers vs the Phillies big hitters:

    Jimmy Rollins: 11 for 43 1HR 12K’s
    Ryan Howard: 2 for 12 2HR’s 6K’s
    Chase Utley: 6 for 21 1HR 7K’s
    Jayson Werth: 1 for 7 1HR 3K’s
    Raul Ibanez: 4 for 15 0HR 4K’s

    Now Gaudin’s:

    J-Roll: O for 1
    Howard: O for 1
    Chase Utley: 1 for 1
    Jayson Werth: 0 for 1
    Raul Ibanez: 7 for 18 1 HR 5K’s

    Here are Gaudin and Burnett’s numbers against righties and lefties in 09′

    Burnett vs LHB: .217/.310/.343
    Burnett vs RHB: .282/.366/.450

    Gaudin vs LHB: .296/.408/.415
    Gaudin vs RHB: .224/.293/.380

    Seeing as almost all of the Phillies’ power is left-handed Gaudin’s triple-slash numbers alone should be enough to keep him off of the rubber in this series except as a ROOGY. If that wasn’t enough the fact that the Phillies hitters have almost no experience against him except Ibanez (whose numbers indicate ownage) should push it over the bring.

    A.J.’s numbers against righties certainly aren’t pretty but the major threat of Jayson Werth has not had much success against him albeit in a small sample size. The fact is A.J. on any days rest matches up against this Phillies team better than Chad Gaudin. This is what Girardi is most-likely banking on and it’s really all we should be looking at.

    If this wasn’t convincing enough Replacement Level Yankees Blog has run the simulations through the computer and you can check out the outcomes there. They really do some great statistical work.

    Let’s hope that A.J. comes up big and gets this done. It would be very exciting to go to sleep as World Champions.

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  • Mark Stevens

    Good job, all you clowns. Gaudin couldn’t possibly have done worse than this tonight. And AJ would be Fresh to pitch in front of the home crowd on normal rest.

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