Everybody has an opinion on New York Yankee Manager Joe Girardi's decision to stick with three starting pitchers in the World Series, meaning A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia (if necessary) are all working on short rest.
Mine is this. I love it.
Of course we know it did not work out last night, when Burnett imploded and gave up six runs in two innings. Did that have anything to do with pitching on short rest? Impossible to say.
What you can say is this. Burnett had pitched on short rest four times previously in his career, and had pitched to a 2.33 ERA. Most likely last night was just a case of the 'Bad A.J.' showing up an inopportune time.
Still, love the fact that Girardi is going to sink or swim the rest of the way with his best guys.
In that regard, I have to agree with Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.
A.J. Burnett was awful in Game 5, and while many will now second-guess Joe Girardi’s decision to start him on short rest, you won’t see any of that in this space. Burnett said he felt fine physically, he just couldn’t throw strikes. He went through the same thing on regular rest in Anaheim in Game 5 of the ALCS, so I’ll take him at his word that the short rest wasn’t the cause for his brutal outing. He had a terrible game, plain and simple. Can anybody tell me that they would have felt as confident with Chad Gaudin - who has thrown one inning in the postseason and 2 1/3 innings since Sept. 28 - starting Game 5 of the World Series? If you can answer that question with a "Yes," then you should have your head examined. If anything, the decision to use Burnett on short rest is an indictment of the Yankees’ lack of pitching depth, something that took a huge hit with Chien-Ming Wang’s injury and Joba Chamberlain’s terrible second half. If they had a fourth starter they trusted, it would have been an easy call to start him in Game 4 or 5. But they don’t, so they’re going to live or die with the three guys that got them to this point.
To me, that perfectly covers all of the essential points.
Now, will I be nervous Wednesday night when Andy Pettitte takes the mound? Sure. But, I'm still happier about an extra start from Pettitte -- even on short rest -- than I would be simply have seen Girardi mostly forfeit a game by using Gaudin.
If Pettitte doesn't get it done Wednesday I will be on the verge of a breakdown Thursday for Game 7. That, though, is the game Brian Cashman signed CC Sabathia to pitch. So, you still have to feel good about the Yankees right now.
They need one win. Philly needs two. In Yankee Stadium. Advantage Yankees.