Question of the Day

If the Yankees end up losing the World Series because they can’t get good production out of a starter for the final three games, how will this affect the machismo argument regarding pitcher rest?

Even if the Phillies come up short, Charlie Manuel made the right call to give his pitchers four days of rest. It’s an issue of physiology: the body needs time to recover from strenuous activity.

6 Responses “Question of the Day”

  1. Brad says:

    If the final three games end with a Yankee starter getting blown up, it sure doesn’t bode well for the “machismo argument,” but in the bigger scheme of things, it is simply like the rest of the playoffs: an insufficient sample size.

    I think there’s enough precedent to say full rest is better. If the Yankees believe that their top three pitchers are better than the entirety of the Phillie’s rotation (which is what their actions indicate), then so what if they send a ham sandwich to the mound in game 4? They still should be winning at a 3 to 1 ratio, assuming their top 3 are healthy — the latter clause being compromised on short rest.

  2. toad says:

    It’s just a tactical question. There’s not much doubt that full rest is better, but you have to consider the choices. Start Gaudin in Game 5 and your chances are very poor in that game. So you give up some chances in 6&7 to improve the odds in 5.

    That might have been wrong – I don’t think so – but it’s surely not wrong as a matter of straight logic.

  3. toad says:

    Well, it worked. Maybe the key is to be able to bring in the bullpen early. Don’t count on the starter for more than 5 innings or so.

  4. Marc Schneider says:

    I am generally against using starters on short rest if you have a better alternative; I think a key to the Braves winning in 1995 was having a rested Steve Avery to pitch Game 4. Clearly, more rest is better but how much rest a pitcher needs is probably contextual. Forty years ago, in different conditions, three days was apparently enough and, in some cases (Koufax, Gibson), two days was ok. I don’t know if, physiologically a pitcher needs 4 days but, obviously, that is what they are used to now and I suspect it is more difficult and physically taxing to pitch now compared to, especially, the pre-lowered mound era. Apparently, the Yankees prepared for this during the season by spacing out the Big 3′s starts to give them more rest. Whether that made any difference, who knows?

    But, really, the reason it worked for the Yankess is that they scored a lot of runs.

  5. toad says:

    Yes, the Yankees did score lots of runs – though they would have won both Games 4 and 6 with fewer. Really though, the key was a solid bullpen performance. Sabathia and Pettitte each gave up three runs and the BP gave up a total of one in those two games. Both pitchers came out relatively early, and Pettitte at least was tiring, so you do need the BP to make it work.

    Whether Burnett’s poor performance was due to lack of rest is not clear. He’s a very erratic performer in general.

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