Sunday, October 18, 2009

CC You in Game Four

According to the Star Ledger, Joe Girardi has official announced that CC Sabathia will pitch game 4 of the ALCS. This means that he will be going on 3 days rest. Now in the past, when CC has gone on 3 days rest in the playoffs, it hasn't worked out well for him (I don't think I need to go into what happened last year). However, this year is different. The Yankees cautiously gave him lots of rest down the stretch in hopes that it would allow him to pitch better in the playoffs, and so far, they've been right.

After looking absolutely dominant in his first two outings, CC will face his first true test as not only will he not be as well-rested, but he'll be pitching in Angel Stadium for the 3rd time this season. CC is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA at the Big A this season.

Despite those numbers, I still feel it's the right move for Joe Girardi. Say the Halos win tomorrow afternoon, making the series 2-1 Yankees. Would you really feel safe handing the ball to Chad Gaudin with the Angels oh-so-close to evening the series? If that were to happen, pitching CC in game 5 would be a lot less significant. The Yankees might be able to notch a win but would then be throwing the always-frustrating A.J. Burnett out there for game 6. Plus if CC were to lose, then those two games would become must-wins for the Yanks, a situation I can assure you they do not want to be in.

Now there is another side to this argument and that is Chad Gaudin and the Yankees bullpen. Gaudin pitched extremely well down the stretch, going into the 6th inning in 3 of his last 4 starts. Plus he didn't pitch in last night's bullpen extravaganza so he would be very well rested. If he can give the Yankees 6 quality innings (which he's proven to be able to do, even if he later falters in the 7th) then Girardi could turn it over to the 'pen to close it out.

That's one of the key advantages the Yankees have this post-season: their bullpen. Joba Chamberlain to Phil Hughes to Mariano Rivera makes up on the best back-end bullpens we've seen in a very long time. So if Chad Gaudin could go 6 or even 5 (don't forget about K-Rob) the Yanks would still have a good shot at winning. However, all of that goes down the drain if John Lackey can pitch the way he did against the Red Sox in the ALDS.

Going with Sabathia gives the Yankees their best shot at winning and I believe this to be a good move by Joe Girardi. However, my feelings don't matter in this situation. All that matters now is how Andy Pettitte the Yankees can fare in game three against Jared Weaver and his halos. Get pumped for a good one and I'll CC you in game 4

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