The Importance of Game Three

Update: ALDS Game Three will begin at 7:37pm ET
Projecting Robinson Cano
(Patrick McDermott/Getty)

This goes without saying, but tonight’s game is monumentally important. The Yankees and Orioles have split the first two games of their ALDS matchup down in Baltimore, and now they’re in the Bronx to wrap this thing up one way or the other. Playing the next few games in Yankee Stadium is advantage Yankees even though the O’s won six of nine there this season, simply because the Bombers are a better team at home than on the road.

By my unofficial count, 26 of the 64 total ALDS series from 1995-2011 were tied at one after the first two games. Of those 26 series, the team that won Game Three went on to win the series 21 times. The Yankees have been on both sides of that ledger, both the winning and losing. That 21-5 series record for Game Three winners doesn’t guarantee anything for anyone going forward, but it goes to show how much of a boost a Game Three win will be for whoever gets it.

Beyond the numbers, just look at how much more difficult things will be for the loser of tonight’s game. If the Yankees do drop the game, they would have to seriously consider starting CC Sabathia on three days’ rest in Game Four tomorrow rather than run Phil Hughes out there with the season on the line. No offense to Phil, but you have to start your ace out in a win or go home situation if at all possible. Sabathia has been on a roll of late and we all know he can handle starting on short rest. That would bump Hughes to a potential Game Five, but you have to win Game Four before worrying about that.

Furthermore, if the series winds up going five games, the winner will have to use their fifth starter in Game Two of the ALCS because there is no off-day between rounds this year. That’s really just a minor nuisance compared to having your season end this week, but at this point of the series you can afford to look ahead and think yourself “that’s something I really want to avoid.” The most important game is the next game, but as fans we can’t help but peek ahead and hope this series wraps up as soon as possible.

The Yankees and Orioles have been neck-and-neck since early-September, except now a trip to the ALCS is on the line rather than a division title. Baltimore is just not going to go away quietly as much as I wish they would, so Joe Girardi & Co. are going to have to hope Hiroki Kuroda is on point tonight while the offense actually capitalizes on some opportunities. Game Three is the most important game of the season, at least until Game Four tomorrow. I hope that game can be a little less stressful thanks to a win tonight.

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Update: ALDS Game Three will begin at 7:37pm ET
Projecting Robinson Cano
  • Blake

    I think you still have to pitch Hughes In game 4 if you lose tonight….

    .If you threw CC on short rest and do win game 4 then you either have to still throw Hughes in a Game 5 or you have to throw Andy on 3 days rest there……and those scenarios arent sure things wither and would have more lasting effects to the ALCS if you advanced.

    I think you have to just go with Hughes against probably Saunders and hope to win that one and have a full rest CC for Game 5……

    Of course hopefully the Yanks win tonight and we don’t have to think about any of this!

    • CountryClub

      Funny, you beat me to it by a few seconds.

    • Mike

      As Mike said, you have to worry about winning Game 4 (this is if they lose game 3), before winning Game 5. If your best is available (and we know CC would be) and your season is on the line, put your best out there.

      Also I don’t understand why everyone is under the impression that Saunders is starting Game 4. If anyone is starting Game 4, it’s probably Tillman.

      • CountryClub

        CC hasnt been great on 3 days rest the past couple of years. It’s obviously a SSS, but he has a lot of miles on that arm. It’s not 2009 any more.

        • Mike

          So you trust Phil Hughes over CC even if he’d be only on 3 days rest?

          • CountryClub

            They both would have to win. I trust CC on full rest more than on 3 days rest.

            • Mike

              Yes they both would have to win, but you have to worry about Game 4 before you even think about Game 5. If your best pitcher is available, use him.

              • DF

                People keep saying this, but it doesn’t make any sense. If the Yankees lose tonight, they have to win games started by CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes to advance. It doesn’t matter in what order this happens.

                If you’re trying to take advantage of a good matchup, sure, but in this case it doesn’t seem to matter all that much. There O’s have good pitchers, but there’s no Verlander over there.

                • Mike

                  Again, there is no Game 5 without winning game 4. If you’re down 2-1 (or even ahead 2-1), focus on winning Game 4 and not Game 5.

                  I understand your point, but I still think you’re missing mine (and Mike’s).

                  • thenamestsam

                    It makes sense to focus on winning Game 4 in ways that may or may not impact winning game 5. That’s why you use every reliever for 2 innings if you have to in Game 4. You don’t know for sure whether you’ll need them in Game 5.

                    But starting CC is not equivalent to that. it’s a pure tradeoff. You’re definitely raising your chance of winning Game 4 while definitely lowering your chance of winning Game 5. This type of trade-off has zero advantages (except increasing the chances of securing an extra game of revenue). Your point is being missed because you haven’t made a point.

                    • Mike

                      I already have made my point and so did Mike. Read what he wrote and you will understand it.

                      It doesn’t matter if the probability of winning Game 5 with CC is better than the probability of winning Game 5 with Hughes.

                      And CC, even on 3 days rest, is more than likely going to give you more innings than Hughes, so you won’t have to worry about using 2 innings per relief pitcher at a time, barring a tie game.

                      Again, my point is to stop thinking about Game 5 if Game 4 is a must win.

                    • thenamestsam

                      No, you haven’t made a point. You’ve repeated a tired cliche. That’s not the same.

                      It actually does matter if the probability of winning Game 5 is lower with Hughes. It matters a lot. Because you need to win both.

                      Maybe it will be more clear to you with some numbers. Say the probability of winning the game CC starts is 60% and the probability of winning the game Hughes starts is 50%. Any numbers will work.

                      If I start CC in Game 4 there’s a 60% chance I play a Game 5, and a 50% chance I win that game. A 30% chance of winning the series. If I start Hughes in Game 4 there’s a 50% chance I play a game 5, and a 60% chance I win that game. 30% chance of winning the series. 30%=30%. All starting CC first does is increase my chances of playing a game 5.

                  • radnom

                    You’re not making a point, just repeating a tired cliche. Yes, obviously you have to win game 4 before game 5, no one is disputing that.

                    But look at it analytically. In this hypothetical, the Yankees have to win two games in a row. The only two pitchers that can potentially start are CC and Hughes. Do they maximize their chances of winning both games by having CC on short rest or full?

                    • Mike

                      Full rest. But do they maximize their chances of surviving to play another game with CC or Hughes pitching.

                      Don’t focus on winning Game 5 if you have to win a Game 4. CC has proven he can pitch on short rest and has done well.

                    • thenamestsam

                      Here Mike, watch how this works.

                      Don’t focus on winning Game 4 if you have to win a Game 5.

                      See that. Exactly 100% equally as true as what you wrote. You have to win both.

                    • Mike

                      No shit of course you have to win Both but you can’t play a 5th game if you lose a 4th game

                      Anybody who says to start Hughes in Game 4 over Game 5 clearly trusts Hughes over a short rested CC. I respect everyone’s opinion, but no one has the stats to prove that whereas I can eaisly prove CC on short rest is better than Hughes. But don’t feel like looking up all the exact numbers.

                    • thenamestsam

                      That is about as incorrect a statement as it is possible to make. Congratulations. Anyone who would start Hughes over CC trusts Hughes and CC on full rest over Hughes and CC on short rest. It’s about the combination. You have no choice but to trust both of them.

                    • Mike

                      Do you recall Girardi’s plan last year in the LDS? I know Nova only went 2 innings due to injury but Girardi was not going to use him for long anyway.

                      And the Yankees did not lose that game because of the pitching changes. They lost because they could not get a hit when it mattered most.

                      And Hughes does not have to be 100% effective (whichever game he starts) if the long relief pitching is rested.

                    • thenamestsam

                      I have no idea what that has to do with anything. Why does that plan only work in Game 5? You still haven’t even attempted an argument as to why starting CC first increases our chances of winning the series. Luckily for you, since the move is so obvious it should be very easy to make such an argument.

                    • Mike

                      I never said it increases the chances of Winning the series. I said it increases the chances of Extending the series to a 5th game.

                      In all probability, and I’ve heard this from O’s fans, Tillman is more than likely going to start Game 4, which would mean Hammell or Saunders for Game 5.

                      Do you prefer the Yankees season to be on the line with our worst of our 4 starers against arguably the O’s best starter?

                    • thenamestsam

                      “I never said it increases our chances of winning the series”

                      So it doesn’t increase our chances of achieving our only goal. Thank you.

                    • Mike

                      lol wut?

                      I really don’t think you get what I’m saying. If we lose Game 3 and go with Hughes, he goes against the O’s best pitcher. Do you want to see that happen?

                      And honestly, regardless of who starts Game 5, it’s a toss up. Same would apply to a Game 7.

                      But winning Game 4 against Tillman by starting Hughes is a huge disadvantage for the Yankees.

                      That’s all I really have to say now. Feel free to disagree all you want, but I have all the stats you want to show CC is better than Tillman and Tillman is better than Hughes.

                      And if it goes to a 5th game, I call it a toss up. Series would be 2-2 and 11-11 overall.

                      Let’s just hope Yanks win tonight so we won’t have to worry about this. Agreed then?

      • Blake

        Whether its Tillman or Saunders doesn’t really matter….the point is that even though you have to win game 4 before you can play Game 5…..you still have to either pitch Hughes in game 5 or Andy on 3 days rest….. You’re just kicking the can down the road a game.

        The goal isn’t to just win game 4….it’s to win the series and I would think they have a better chance to win both games with a full rest Hughes and a full rest CC than a short rest CC and Hughes.

        Again though…..hopefully this isn’t a decision th have to make

      • Sayid

        Mike saying it doesn’t make it true. Under that scenario, they have to win one game with Hughes and one game with CC. Doesn’t matter who goes first, they have to win both. Why put one guy on short rest?

        • Mike

          The guy you refer to as one guy is the best pitcher we have. I’m aware that you have to win a Game 5 to extend your season, but you have to win Game 4 to play a Game 5 to begin with.

          And if at any point Hughes struggles as I said, the Yankees have a pretty good bullpen to back him up.

          You don’t play a Game 5 without winning a Game 4 (again, assuming the Yankees are down 2-1).

          • Sayid

            The benefit of increasing the season by one day only to have Hughes lose in game 5 is not worth the potential cost of having CC throw on 3 days rest.

            • Mike

              So now everyone is guaranteeing Hughes will lose Game 5 despite him going against 1 of 2 pitchers who aren’t much better than him, as opposed to possibly going in Game 4 against arguably the O’s best pitcher?

  • CountryClub

    I’ve been thinking about this since they lost on Monday. If they lose tonight, Hughes will have to pitch a game no matter what. So why not let him pitch game 4 and have CC on full rest for game 5.

    Like I said, if they’re going to win, he’s going to pitch regardless.

    Hopefully they win tonight and none of this matters.

    • Mike

      In all liklihood, the O’s would use Chris Tillman in Game 4. Which would mean if it goes to a Game 5, they go to Saunders or Hammel in Game 5

      Tillman > Hammel > Saunders

      Maybe Yankees should wait to hear who the O’s pitcher is in Game 4 before tehy decide themselves (this is, assuming they lose the series)

      • Mike

        *Correction, assuming they lose game 3, not the series

  • Eddard

    The Yanks have no advantage tonight in starting pitching. Gonzalez has shut down the Yanks this year. Shut em down. If they lose this game they will lose the series. I don’t see any advantage for the Yankee offense which is really struggling and we know that the Os have a big advantage in managers. Hiroki is going to have to throw up 0s if we’re to win, just as he’s done all season.

    • DERP

      How are the Yankees really struggling on offense? And Gonzalez really shut us down the game he allowed three home runs.

      • CountryClub

        17 Ks in 13 innings is worrisome. Especially since he’s only struck out 60 in his other 92 innings.

      • Bill

        He did shut us down that night when he threw 7 shutout innings in the bronx while Mark Reynolds was making Yankee Stadium look like a home run derby site

      • Robinson Tilapia

        *hands DERP some Eddard-glasses*

    • Mike

      If you ask me, I think whoever loses this game loses the series. But if the Yankees lose Game 3, I think starting CC is an absoulte must. I’d still trust a 3 days rest CC over Phil Hughes. Not that I don’t trust Hughes at all, but what CC has done on 3 days past is irrelevant. He’s shown he Can pitch on 3 days rest, and he’s obviously been the Yankees best pitcher over the past month or so.

      If your best is available in an elimination game, Use it.

      If there is a Game 5 and Hughes is on the mound, you for darn sure know if he struggles he’ll get taken out early and Girardi will let the bullpen go.

      • Ed

        Also: If there is a Game 4 and Hughes is on the mound, you for darn sure know if he struggles he’ll get taken out early and Girardi will let the bullpen go.

        If you pitch CC early, you have to win Game 4 with a less than 100% CC, and you have to win Game 5 with a 100% Hughes. If you pitch CC normally, you have to win Game 4 with a 100% Hughes and Game 5 with a 100% CC. Your odds are better in the latter case. The goal isn’t to win Game 4, it’s to win 2 more games before losing 2. Getting a small increase in your odds of winning Game 4 isn’t worth the larger decrease in your odds of winning Game 5 that come with it.

        • Mike

          “The goal isn’t to win Game 4, it’s to win 2 more games before losing 2.”

          So if regardless of who trails 2-1 in the series, do you think Buck or Joe are worried about their SP in Game 5 or do you think they’re worried about Game 4?

          You don’t have to win Game 5 with a 100% Hughes or CC though if the bullpen is ready and the offense wakes the f up.

          I just really hope the Yankees win tonight so this all becomes moot lol.

          • Ed

            So if regardless of who trails 2-1 in the series, do you think Buck or Joe are worried about their SP in Game 5 or do you think they’re worried about Game 4?

            I think their concern is “How am I going to win the next 2 games?” They want to make it to the ALCS, not just to ALDS Game 5.

            • Mike

              “I think their concern is “How am I going to win the next 2 games?” They want to make it to the ALCS, not just to ALDS Game 5.”

              Ask any manager or player in baseball or any sport, you take things 1 game at a time.

              • Jim Is Bored

                “Ask any manager or player in baseball or any sport”

                I doubt Joe Maddon agrees with you. Or any intelligent manager who understands how playoffs work.

                • Mike

                  So I guess we should start thinking about the ALCS then and what lineup we’re going to do and what our rotation will be.

                  • Jim Is Bored

                    Good Lord I would certainly hope that thought had crossed the manager’s mind at some point.

                    • Mike

                      Sure……..If you’re perhaps 1 out away from winning a series when you’re up by 10 runs and the series is all but locked up!

        • Mike

          Also, who says Hughes (if he pitched Game 5) has to pitch 100%? Remember what Joe did a year ago? I know Nova left the game due to an injury, but Joe’s goal was to use like 7 or 8 different pitchers. And it didn’t exactly cost them the game or series. What cost them that game and the series was not getting a hit when it mattered the most.

          Even a less than 100% CC can still give you 7 good innings.

    • MannyGeee

      “I don’t see any advantage for the Yankee offense which is really struggling and we know that the Os have a big advantage in managers.”

      Really? Glass half empty?? I would have never expected this from you.

  • Bill

    I think the O’s will start Saunders over Tillman just because he’s a lefty and they’d rather see Nunez and his speed in the lineup than Ibanez or Chavez and their power with the short porch in right

  • DERP

    As others have said, if the team has decided that Phil is starting on the last two games, I don’t see why it matters which game it would be. The fallout would be worse though if they go with Phil in a game four elimination when they could have started CC, but I don’t think that should be of any concern to the team. Start CC and Andy both on short rest IMO.

    • Mike

      “The fallout would be worse though if they go with Phil in a game four elimination when they could have started CC”

      Right here is your answer. You said it yourself.

      • radnom

        By that logic, why shouldn’t the Yankees make every roster/managerial moved based on popular fan opinion?

  • LarryM., Fl.

    Mike, I believe the Yankees are in a better place physically as a team. Mentally who knows but they appear to be a confident group. The Orioles gained much ground on the Yanks when CC, Arod, Pettitte and Teix. were out. The other players subbing were forced into more playing time than expected or planned. Jeter and Cano played the middle infield positions without rest. So, it may not end in 4 but I feel the Yanks should take the series based on the roster and its present health which should lead to a winning performance.

    On another note Girardi has to make moves within the lineup to get the guys hitting well more AB’s. Hopefully, they will come at the right time.

    Go Yanks!

  • Robinson Tilapia

    We had a discussion on the open thread last night about the CC/Hughes situation and whether it’s worth putting CC and, potentially, Andy, out there on three days rest.

    Just like Mike said, nothing at all against Hughes. Hell, who was pretty much the only healthy guy who remained in the rotation all year? You put your best out there, though, when your ass is on the line. I’m fine with CC on three days rest. Andy on three days? Know what? I don’t bet against Andy Pettitte in the post-season. If you’re going to run a 40 year-old off the DL into the ground in the post-season, I don’t think there’s a better 40 year-old out there to do it with.

    This is all going to be a moot point when the Yanks crush the Orioles tonight.

    • Mike

      “This is all going to be a moot point when the Yanks crush the Orioles tonight.”

      IF, not when.

      “Can’t predict baseball” – John Sterling

      • Robinson Tilapia

        WHEN.

        This is a Yankee blog. We root for the New York Yankees here.

        WHEN.

        • MannyGeee

          ummm, that site have you been reading the past 32 hours Tilapia?

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Heh heh.

            Unbelievable that someone would actually want to correct me on that. Just silly. Oh no, they might lose and I might be wrong. Throw a parade.

            • Mike

              I’m not sure how you find me “correcting” what you said silly.

              • Mike

                I’m just personally not a fan of people saying “We’re going to win”, that’s all Tilapia.

                • Mark Messier

                  We Will Win Tonight.

                  • Mike

                    LOL awesome.

                • Jim Is Bored

                  And he’s not a fan of you being negative.

                  It works both ways.

                  • Mike

                    Touche there

    • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

      “Hell, who was pretty much the only healthy guy who remained in the rotation all year?”

      Hiroki Kuroda?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Am I making up a missed start with him? I probably am. If so, thanks for the correction, Matt.

  • Blake

    If they lose tonight which gives you a better chance to win both games 4 and 5:

    CC on short rest in game 4 then Hughes against Hammel in game 5……or Hughes vs Saunders/Tillman in game 4 then full rest CC vs Hammel in Game 5.?

    You’d have to win both games….not just Game 4 to advance

    • Mike

      But you can’t play a 5th game without winning a 4th game. How is that hard to understand?

      • Blake

        Why is it an absolute that Hughes would lose game 4?

        • Mike

          I never said it’s an absolute that Hughes loses Game 4, but I’m absolutely certain CC > Hughes and CC has proven in the past he can pitch on 3 days rest.

          If the Yankees win tonight, then obviously there’s no question Hughes starts tomorrow.

      • thenamestsam

        It’s not hard to understand. It’s irrelevant.

        I care 0% about whether they play Game 5. I care that they win the series. Showing that pitching CC in Game 4 increases the chances they get to Game 5 is irrelevant if it also decreases the chances that they win that game. You have to make a case that pitching CC in Game 4 increases the chances they win the series. You have entirely failed to do that.

        • Mike

          “You have to make a case that pitching CC in Game 4 increases the chances they win the series. You have entirely failed to do that”

          Actually, No. You have to make a point in that pitching Hughes in Game 4 increases the chances of playing a 5th game as opposed to CC pitching in Game 4.

          • Ed

            You do realize that the goal is to win the series, not just to make it to the end, right?

            I don’t think many people would disagree with you that our odds in Game 4 are better with CC pitching than with Hughes. It’s just that either way we have to win a game with Hughes starting and a game with CC starting, so we care about maximizing our odds of winning *both* games. If we’re going to lose the series due to Hughes, I can accept that. I just would rather not lose because we pitched CC on short rest and he wasn’t quite good enough.

            (All of this only applying with a Game 3 loss of course)

          • thenamestsam

            What? Are you serious? Think about what you’re saying. We don’t care about the probability of winning Game 4. It’s only relevant in terms of how it affects the probability of winning the series overall.

            Pitching CC first clearly increases your chances of making it to game 5. It does not directly follow that it increases your chances of winning the series. This is simple math.

            • Chuck-O

              Mike, are you trying to argue that winning Game 4 and winning Game 5 are not independent? Perhaps that our chances of winning Game 5 with Hughes are greater than our chances of winning Game 4 with Hughes based on some increase in morale or game 5 bump?

              Because otherwise I don’t understand your argument. As many have stated, you need to win two games. The order of your pitching in terms of quality is CC on full rest, CC on short rest, and then Hughes. Why pitch your #2 and #3 best options when your #1 and #2 options are available?

              • Mike

                You realize if you’re arguing with me, you’re arguing with Axisa too right who is stating the exact same thing I am?

                And do you not realize that to win a Game 5, you have to win a Game 4 first if you’re trailing 2-1?

                I don’t get how you guys don’t get that CC on short rest is a Better Option than Phil Hughes.

                CC > Tillman (good probability Yankees win game 4 if that’s the matchup)

                Tillman > Hughes (good probability the O’s win game 4 if that’s the matchup)

                Hughes vs. Saunders or Hammel I’d consider it a toss up

                By starting Hughes in Game 4 against Tillman, you are increasing the chances that the Yankees have of losing the series

                Do you want that to happen and for the Yankees to be at a disadvantage? No? Okay good, then starting CC is the f’in answer to this.

        • Mike

          By the way, I’ve already said, pitch CC in Game 4 if the Yankees are down 2 games to 1. If the Yankees win tonight, then of course it makes sense to start Hughes and save CC for Game 5.

  • Silverback

    I’m not confident about this series…starting to get that old feeling from the 06 & 07 ALDS

    • DERP

      I am the complete opposite. I feel great about this.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        What choice do we have, really? I’ll gladly take the Yanks, at the stadium, to win two out of three anytime.

        • Silverback

          I hope so…the Orioles have had a magical year, no doubt, but the Yanks have really overcome alot (some of which was their own doing) and it would be a shame to see the Core’s last great run together go pffft in only the ALDS. Nothing ever feels more final than the Yankees getting knocked out of the PO

          • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

            core’s last run? you mean 2009?

            • Silverback

              coem on dude, don’t play semantics…there’s still 3 left and that’s still a Core

              • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

                well 2, Mo’s on the shelf, so…

              • Jim Is Bored

                Is two a core? Is one a core? Semantics are important sometimes.

      • MannyGeee

        I feel “2009 good” about this series. Not even joking.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Technically, for the Yankees, game 2 of postseason series are important.

    Since the 2005 playoffs, every game 2 result for the Yankees, was the same result of that series.

    So….

    • Mike

      But the Yankees did not have 3 home games in the final 3 games in any of those series.

      • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

        agreed. just thought that was an interesting occurrence.

        • Mike

          Oh it certainly is for sure. I just think we have a better shot this time with 3 home games now.

  • Eddard

    Down 2-1 you have to go with your best even on short rest. CC would start Game 4 and Andy would start Game 5. We’d have a rested Hughes and Phelps in the pen if they can’t go deep into the game. The whole pen is rested thanks to CC and Andy so it should be CC and Andy that get the starts in an elimination scenario.

    • Mike

      Hughes + Phelps + others is more than enough to go 9 innings. That would be a better scenario for Game 5.

      There’s also no way Hughes is a bullpen pitcher in this series since there are now 0 off days until Monday if the series goes the distance and the Yankees win in 5.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I actually agree with you on this. I ride the vets.

      • MannyGeee

        another great name for Granny Porn… thanks for that.

    • rek4gehrig

      We will not be down 2-1. Let’s all focus on winning tonight instead of these doomsday scenarios.

  • vinny-b

    take Arod out of the #3, and start Eric Chavez in his place. And that will make life easier for the Yankees.

    • Eddard

      I really hope Alex has a big game tonight to end this obsession with where he hits in the lineup. I’m sick of hearing it. It doesn’t matter what the actual problem is people will always bring it back to Alex.

      • MannyGeee

        10000 times this

      • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

        Even Alex Rodriguez aside, I’m not sure I understand why Robinson Cano isn’t hitting third.

        • vin

          Because your best hitter should hit 4th, not 3rd?

          Of course that’s from “The Book” and is based on statistical fact, which means that’s not the reason Girardi has Cano hitting 5th. I’m sure Girardi wants Derek to lead off, which means the 3rd hitter should be a RHB (or switch hitter). Also, having there’s the likelihood that Alex will see more fastballs, and potentially face a LHP with Cano protecting him. Problem is that he’s just missing fastballs, and when he does connect the power’s not there. Partly due to the broken hand, partly due to him not being 25 anymore.

      • rek4gehrig

        Me too. BTW..Fielder is 1/11 in ALDS :-)

        • Mike

          He got robbed twice actually. One of a HR by Crisp and one of a single and possible double (doubt it though) by Cespedes

    • Mike

      Chavez has done excellent against RHB this season (.543 slugging percentage). If Girardi is going to continually put A-Rod at 3B, it seems as if he’s only going to use Chavez as an emergency backup 3B, because it’s almost certain Ibanez will play every game as the DH.

      • Mike

        *RHP, not RHB

  • Hassey

    What’s wrong with some of these people? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

      Your humor is Kuroded…

      • Hassey

        Nice one

  • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    No faith in Hughes down 2-1. Zero.

    • MannyGeee

      I am assuming you have no faith in Hughes at any point.

      • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

        No, not really. I think he’s settled in to a nice niche of homer prone mediocrity. But he’s probably better than Nova and Garcia. And *someone* has to start game four. And if you’re up 2-1, you feel better rolling the dice.

  • Robert

    Hughes did pitch a playoff gem against the twins a few years ago. He is a better pitcher now…

    • Mike

      He also pitched against the Rangers in the playoffs and got clobbered, twice.

      • MannyGeee

        all of this is history. and it means as much as any other playoff records… He is a better pitcher in 2012 in either the Twins series (shouldn’t count, on account of being the Twins in the ALDS) or the Rangers Series…

  • Athenian

    This is a good thread. The problem is that the X factor is not being fully discussed, the Yankees poor AB’s when pitchers are struggling, the apparent change in approach when RISP, and the recent sloppiness of defense and base running.

    Last night in the A’s game (think it was the 3rd inning) Tigers had 1 out and runner at first, Cabrera on deck. The count was 3-1 and the batter swung at the next pitch = GIDP. Now, this is not to say the result would not have been the same but why on earth with a batter like Cabrera on base, a 3-1 count, and the previous batter getting a hit on a 2-1 count would the hitter not at least run the count full?

    This scenario is similar to the Yankees recent struggles when they have RISP and the pitcher has run the count 2-0 and the next pitch the Yankees are swinging. With these kind of AB’s, it won’t matter whether it is Hughes or CC, either pitcher will be playing catch up or having the fear that one pitch could turn the game.

    • MannyGeee

      “The problem is that the X factor is not being fully discussed, the Yankees poor AB’s….”

      Thats because its been beaten to death in every thread on RAB for the past two days. WE GET IT… the Yankees suck, you hate them, shoulda kept Austin Jackson or Joe Torre or Alfonso Soriano, and fck A-Rod/Swisher/Girardi/Cashman/Granderson…

      Did we cover it? Can we talk about something else now?

      oh shit, I forgot CHOKERZZZZZZZZ

      there we go. moving on

  • mick taylor

    how about trading a rod to the angels for vernon wells. wells is owed abiut 40 million through 2014. the yanks could put wells in right to replace swisher. the angels would still be taking back 80 million more in arod’s contract, so the yanks could agree to pay say 20 million0f that. carl crawford for arod would work better because he is owed about the same amount as arod. maybe the yanks offer arod and 20 million for crawford

    • DC

      Forget your medication this morning?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      …and do this by tonight, I imagine, finding a way to circumvent roster rules…

    • MannyGeee

      yuck. 1000 times yuck

  • Yank The Frank

    Just win baby.

  • Luisergi

    If they lose tonight (hopefully not, lets go Hirok), CC has to go Thursday, and Andy Friday.
    Period.

    • Mike

      I wouldn’t trust Andy on short rest because of his age and recent return from injuries. I’d rather go with Hughes + long relief in Game 5 than Andy on short rest

      CC on short rest in Game 4 is an absolutely No Brainer if the Yankees lose Game 3.

      • Luisergi

        “I wouldn’t trust Andy on short rest because of his age and recent return from injuries. I’d rather go with Hughes + long relief in Game 5 than Andy on short rest”

        Rispectfully disagree, Andy’s performance since returning form the DL has been good enough for me not to worry. Pitching a playoff game on short rest could affect him?? Sure, but i’d be willing to try it.

        I prefer Andy + Long Relief, than Hughes + Long Relief.

        “CC on short rest in Game 4 is an absolutely No Brainer if the Yankees lose Game 3.”

        Totally agree, obviously.

        • Mike

          I get what you’re saying, and it’s about time someone besides me and Axisa think CC should start Game 4 if they lose game 3 (sorry if I miseed out on anyone else who said the same)

  • Joe F

    Going better not rainout.

  • vin

    Have I mentioned lately how much I hate the 5 game series? I think the stupid wild card play-in game will take the spotlight off the inequity of the 5 game series. More games should be played to decide a champion, not less.

    Having said that… if the O’s win tonight, then I firmly believe Hughes should and will start game 4. It will be a all-hands-on-deck situation, so we may see CC if the game goes long, or if Phil gets yanked early (he will be on a short leash).

    Give me a 100% CC in game 5 and a fully-confident Hughes in 4. As opposed to CC on short rest and Hughes with a battered ego in game 5.

    • Luisergi

      Right, but what if they lose game 4 with a fully confident Hughes on the mound, Will CC be 100% by April next year??

      • vin

        What if we win with CC in game 4 and lose with Hughes in game 5 (as you believe is inevitable)? Do the Yankees rate higher in the history books for at least pushing the series to 5 games?

        • Luisergi

          I’d send Pettitte out there for game 5 by the way, but that’s just me…

          If you’re asking me, i’d prefer that, if they are gonna lose the series, they push it to 5 games. Nothing to do with history books, but if they play game five that’d mean that they won at least one more game.

          • Mike

            I also prefer a series loss in the decisive game myself lol.

            • mitch

              Pitching cc in game 4 increases the probability that the yankees win game 4.

              Pitching cc in game 5 increases the probability that the yankees win the series.

              • Mike

                Pitching Hughes in game 4 when down 2-1 against Tillman increases the probability that the Yankees will lose game 4.

                • mitch

                  right, but pitching cc in game 4 increases the probability that they lose the series. The goal is to maximize the probability of winning both games, not just winning game 4.

                  • Mike

                    If you want to say the Yankees have an advantage in Game 5 if CC pitched, well of course. Except some do not seem to realize the Yankees would be at a huge Disadvantage should Hughes face Tillman, even if it’s at the stadium.

                    • mitch

                      Hughes would still be favored over tillman, but that’s neither here nor there. The opposing pitcher are irrelevant and will balance out.

                      Think of it this way: You’re playing a game where you have a coin and a die. To win you have to flip heads and roll a 1. Which order do you play the game to give yourself the best chance of winning?

                    • Mike

                      What makes you think Hughes will be favored over Tillman when Tillman has better numbers? Is it due to the Yankees being the home team? I find that irrelevant.

                      Here’s how I put it

                      CC vs Tillman – Odds favor Yankees
                      Hughes vs Tillman – Odds favor O’s
                      CC vs. Saunders/Hammel – Odds favor Yankees
                      Hughes vs. Saunders/Hammel- Split

                      Therefore, at least on paper, whichever game CC pitches favors the Yankees. But Hughes against Tillman favors the O’s, whereas Hughes against Saunders/Hammel is a toss up.

                      I’d lean towards the options where 1 game favors the Yankees and is a toss up as opposed to 1 game favoring the Yankees and 1 game favoring the O’s

                      I hope you understand what I’m saying.

            • Mike

              *decisive game 5, not decisive game lol

    • Luisergi

      Of course this is all under the asupmtion that they lose tonigh… Thing that i don’t see happening by the way.

      If the yankees win tonight, then you throw Hughes for game 4. The importance of tonight’s game, you know.
      Just my humble opinion.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I don’t hate the five-game series. I hate how this five game series has been scheduled.

      • Mike

        Luckily it’s only that way for this year. MLB never should have rushed to get that 2nd wild card in this year.

        I know it’s back to a 2-2-1 format next year, and I’m pretty sure the top seeds get the first 2 at home and the 5th game at home once again.

      • vin

        I actually don’t mind the 2-3 format. The team with the better record doesn’t have to play an elimination game on the road. That’s a decent advantage. But I could be swayed the other way.

        I’m just bothered by the fact that they play 162 games during the regular season, only to have everything come down to a best of 5 (ignoring the insane silliness of the WC play-in).

        Hell, I’d rather see 154 game regular season, with 3 best of 7 rounds. But that would never happen.

        I always say that one advantage the NBA has over other sports is that the finals typically have the best teams (or close to it). NHL is similar, except a hot goalie can steal some games. There’s enough drama in the MLB playoffs, we don’t NEED Cinderella teams to make things interesting. Leave that for March Madness.

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    Jeter
    Ichiro
    Cano
    ARod
    Tex
    Ibanez
    Swisher
    Martin
    Grandy

    Break up Swish/Grandy…and I mean Granderson already hit 8th, so 9th is’nt a big deal, and put speed in front of Jeter/Ichiro.

    • Athenian

      And have Ichiro bunt more often, especially if Jeter is on first and there is wet grass.

      But as much as I think Tex is still does not have his timing back, I would flip ARod and Tex. If you keep ARod behind Cano, there is no incentive to pitch to Cano. And, Tex is a switch hitter which removes pitching around Cano and then bringing in a pitcher to handle ARod.

  • Mike HC

    Even if we lose game 3, we still have a better chance to take the series than those past numbers indicate because those past division series didn’t have one team playing games 3-5 at home.

    Still a huge game no matter what obviously.

  • Tom

    Assuming every game is 50/50 – With 26 series the team up should win game #4 13 times, if they lose, they win game #5 6.5 (out of 13)

    So basically on average it should be 19.5 out of 26. Not sure 21 out of 26 really demonstrates any momentum or significant advantage from winning game 3.

    21 out of 26 sounds impressive, but that is pretty close to saying every game is basically 50/50. Not sure if it really shows a “boost”.