Monday, October 8, 2007

Relax, Joe

Good news: Joe Posnanski is blogging again. Better news: as was the case with the Soul of Baseball, Joe goes onandonandon. Which, by the way, is wonderful because Posnanski is the exception to those sentiments I expressed in the previous post. He can go 3250 words whenever he wants, because his 3250 words are almost always interesting.

But I can say that I really would like to see this Indians team break the spell. And I’m seeing heartbreak ahead. The Indians lost Sunday night. Now, they’re going with Paul Byrd, which probably means another loss — and an eventual Game 5. I cannot believe they’re starting Paul Byrd. I mean I know Paul, I’ve written about him — he’s gutsy enough. He has done what he can with his abilities. I respect that. But come on.

To me, you have to win one of the next two games, and you have two of the best pitchers in baseball, C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona. You HAVE to start them in Games 4 and 5 and give yourself the best shot to win. You cannot start Paul Byrd. That’s all.
I never begrudge a Cleveland fan (or former one) the right to be paranoid because, let's face it, Cleveland fans have earned the right. But even though Paul Byrd didn't exactly end the season with a bang, I think that he's a better option than pitching Sabathia on short rest. He's a big guy. He needs his rest.

And let's not forget that Wang is starting tonight for the Yankees on short rest, and won't have Phil Hughes to bail him out if he pulls a Clemens. Let's also not forget that Chamberlin went two innings and 38 pitches last night whereas previously he has only pitched on back-to-back days once this season, and even then he was coming off a one-inning, 14-pitch performance in a 12-4 Yankees' laugher.

I give the Indians a good chance to win tonight, and even if they don't, I give them an excellent chance to win a game 5 with a fresh C.C. on the hill.

Update: Neyer (Insider only) agrees with Posnanski. Those guys are way smarter than I am, so maybe I'm full of it. Still, I think going with Sabathia on short rest is a panic move and my guy tells me that Cleveland will be OK with Byrd on the hill.


Diesel said...

While I'm generally skeptical of the supposed difference between normal rest and short rest, I'm probably in your camp here for a couple of reasons. First, if the Injuns were going to start Sabathia on short rest, they should have prepared him for it, which may have included a pitch limit in his previous start lower than the 115 he ended up reaching. Second, the bullpen hasn't really been taxed yet for Cleveland, thanks in large part to Carmona's performance in Game 2. I think Cleveland should just approach this as a bullpen start; the second Byrd gets into any kind of trouble, just start the parade, safe in the knowledge that there's a day's rest waiting in case of a loss, and a few more than that if they win.

Shyster said...

And the knowledge that they can burn the bullpen tonight and just split game 5 up between Sabathia and Carmona if need be.

Of course one aspect of this no one is really talking about is whether Wedge is looing ahead to an ALCS and hoping against hope that he can start out with CC and Fausto in games 1 and 2.

My rule is that a manager shouldn't look ahead like that (it's one reason I criticized Piniella for yanking Zambrano in game 1 of their series), and if Wedge is, he may be accumulating unnecessary karma.

It'll certainly be fun to watch either way, however.

Vegas Watch said...

I've already debated and thought about this Sabathia thing too much, but I thought I should point out that if Wedge pitches CC tonight and they win, he could pitch Fausto in G1 of the ALCS on Friday, and then CC in G2 on full rest. If CC ends up pitching on Wednesday (and winning), he wouldn't be available until G3. So, if anything, pitching CC tonight sets you up better for the ALCS.

Also, just a thought- might NYY bring Pettitte in to face Sizemore (and maybe Hafner) in the middle innings if Wang gets knocked out early? He's the only LHP on the entire staff, and Torre did use him in relief twice in April.

Diesel said...

@ Shyster: You're absolutely right about the "looking ahead" thing; the Sophoclean law of the universe is that excessive hubris will almost always result in tragedy for the principals. However, I sense that Wedge's decision has more to do with not wanting to embarrass Byrd by essentially admitting that he's not up to the task.

@ Vegas Watch: That's such an astute perspective that I'm almost positive no one has considered it. That's the best justification of pitching CC tonight I've yet to hear, with all due respect to Joe and Rob, who are wicked clever baseball thinkers. In addition, Torre's willingness to pitch Pettitte out of the pen on his throw days during the season indicates that he may in fact utilize your gambit. Which is kinda strange, since Torre's one of the most unimaginative bullpen managers in baseball.