WS Coverage: Game Four Thoughts

Several things stood out to me about last night’s game, so I’ll touch on them each briefly with the patented notes post.

1. I’ll give Charlie Manuel this – the man has cojones the size of the Liberty Bell. No matter how many times he had to watch Brad Lidge melt down on the mound this year, he remained convinced of his abilities to get critical outs in a high leverage situation. It doesn’t get much higher leverage than last night’s ninth inning, and Manuel put his trust in Lidge again. Lidge was one strike away from justifying Manuel’s confidence before it all fell apart. As bad as he’s been this year, I’m not sure the Phillies had a better option for that spot, which is one reason why the Yankees are planning a parade right now.

2. If there was one glaring lesson from last night’s game, it was how quickly a dominating pitcher can get humbled. Joba Chamberlain looked like he was at the top of his game, blowing away Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez with 97 MPH fastballs. After getting ahead of Pedro Feliz with two swinging strikes, Phillies hitters had missed on the six of seven swings they had taken against Chamberlain that inning. And then Feliz hit one out of the park to tie the game.

Fast forward to the ninth inning, and Lidge had no problems dispatching Hideki Matsui and Derek Jeter. All three strikes to The Captain were of the swing-and-miss variety, as Lidge showed the stuff that caused Manuel to still believe in his closer. And then, after getting to within one pitch of ending the inning, he allowed the next four guys to reach base and lost the game.

Forget hindsight – at the moment of their failure, both Chamberlain and Lidge looked great. There was nothing to suggest that a problem was lurking. They were throwing the hell out of the ball, and then they got hit. Trying to predict the future is really hard.

3. Joe Girardi has made a lot of small mistakes in the playoffs, but he got one thing right that dwarfed all of those – the decision to use a three man rotation has given the Yankees a huge advantage. Just like in the ALCS, 84 percent of the innings thrown by Yankee pitchers have been handled by CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera. Eighty-four percent. Expect the trend to continue tonight – Girardi knows who his horses are and he’s planning on riding them to a World Series title.



Print This Post



Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Mike Ketchen
Guest
Mike Ketchen

Dave,

As a long time reader of Fangraphs I truly respect you guys opinion a lot, So I am really curious on your take as to the trade off Girardi is making. Riding his premier pithcers the team has long term intrest in Burnett and CC. I know we play for championships but in your opinion is the motto win the ring and worry later? Could he be starting a trend that kind causes other teams who handle with care to reasses? Thanks for any reply and keep up the good writing.

Steve
Guest
Steve

so you think ONE start on 3 days rest with 100 off days to follow, will have “long term” implications on AJ Burnett?

don’t you think that is, well, insane?

Mike Ketchen
Guest
Mike Ketchen

Steve,

It is not “ONE” start per say, its the fact that for the first time in his career Burnett has gone over 200 IP back to back and further more he is now past any IP he has ever had. The point of my question was is this one championship wort it if is say hypothetically cost him +1WAR of value over the remaining life of the contract. It is strictly an opinion thing hence why I asked. But hey, if Burnett gets hurt next season I am sure you will simply be on here to point out how dumb the contract was for the Yanks given his injury riddled past.

Steve
Guest
Steve

but you are implying that before tonight, Girardi has “ridden” AJ Burnett.

he hasn’t. he’s simply made all of the scheduled starts that a #2 starter would make in a postseason where his team goes deep. before tonight, there was nothing “discretionary” about his usage.

it’s a good question with regards to CC, but i guess i was just confused when it came to AJ. in my opinion, he is only being “ridden” for one start.

Vode
Guest
Vode

Mike, he didn’t go with a 3-man rotation for the year, just for the postseason. This is the first time anyone not named CC will go on short rest. Everything’s gonna be alright.

Mike Ketchen
Guest
Mike Ketchen

Vode,

Did the Sox go with a 3 man rotation in there runs? (And I am a Sox fan not a Yanks fan btw) I think my point may be getting lost or perhaps I should have explained better. The way they are using CC and Mo and Burnett to shoulder most of the load goes against what has become common practice in the last few years with more pitchers being handled very carefully. All I wanted was opinion if it was logical for teams to make this trade off (one WS vs the remainder of contracts) that is all.

Steve
Guest
Steve

but did the Sox have all of these extra off-days?

it’s apples to oranges if you don’t factor that in.

i think you are asking a very interesting question about the trade off.

i just think you are missing the SPECIFICS of this situation a little bit. the Yankees have used a 3 man rotation, but for the most part, it’s because the schedule allowed them to do this.

Mo has a lot of appearances, but he has also had a ridiculous amount of off-days.

wpDiscuz