Phil Rogers needs to check his facts

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The following is from Phil Rogers from the Chicago Tribune, he is trying to make a point about pitchers starting on three days rest. To counter his point he points oit that last year
(2008) Milwaukee Brewer Manager Ken Macha used CC Sabathia on three days rest on 4 occasions. Uh, Phil. It was Ned Yost and Dale Svuem who managed the Brewers in 2008.


By Phil Rogers

Just so nobody thinks I'm second-guessing Joe Girardi tomorrow - as Yankee fans were after he pulled David Robertson with two outs and nobody on base in the 11th inning Monday - I'm going to first guess him. He's making a mistake starting CC Sabathia on three days' rest in Tuesday night's Game 4 against the Angels.

Long-time readers won't be surprised. The folly of short-rest starts in the playoffs is a recurring them for me in October. I've been pointing out the consistent downside -- the stupidity? -- of this for about a decade now, and the numbers just keep getting worse.

There are a variety I could point to but this October I'm hanging the case on this one: Teams using a starter on 3 days rest against one with at least 4 days rest are 7-27 in playoff games since 1999, including an 0-7 record since Roy Oswalt cowboyed up to win Game 5 of a first-round series in 2004.

Girardi points out that Sabathia pitched well on short rest down the stretch a year ago, and he's right, for the most part. The desperate Ken Macha used him on short rest four times down the stretch for the Brewers, and the widespread belief is he carried them into the playoffs. Sabathia was good in those starts -- seven earned runs (11 overall) in 25 1/3 innings -- but the Brewers went 2-2 in those starts, a lower winning percentage than their overall mark.

Three of those came in the regular-season, including one against the Cubs in the 162nd game. Sabathia allowed only one unearned run in a complete-game that day, wrapping up the wild-card spot. But Macha then made a mistake by using him on short rest in Game 2 of the Division Series against the Phillies. He didn't make it out of the fourth inning.

Sabathia will be fresher tonight than he was for that start, as he's worked only two times in the last two weeks. But still, why push him? Girardi is doing it so he doesn't have to win another start by A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte or a fourth starter, knowing he can finish off the Angels with wins against Sabathia in Games 4 and 7. Why put it all on one guy? Sabathia may be sharp Tuesday but he can't be as strong as he would have been in Game 5, set for Thursday.

The Angels have a real chance to get out of the hole they're in. If they can get to Sabathia tonight, they'll have their ace, John Lackey, going in Game 5. Win both games and they're ahead 3-2 going to New York. This is advantage, Angels.

Here's what Girardi said about the situation when he visited the Angel Stadium interview room on Sunday:

Q. Who will be your starter?


GIRARDI: Our starter in Game 4 will be CC Sabathia.

Q. Who is going to start Game 4, can you just discuss your decision using CC in that game?


GIRARDI: We he went out and did some work today, and we wanted to make sure he felt fine and did great. We're comfortable with him going on short rest. He's had success going on short rest. If you look at last year's numbers, so we're comfortable doing it. He feels good, and we're going right to CC.

Q. That was your plan coming in if there was no weather problems to use him three times. If you looked at how the series lined up with you guys that first round, was it an easy decision to use him on short rest knowing you only have to use him once on short rest if it goes the distance?


GIRARDI: We had thought about possibly going to the four-man rotation. But with this extra day off it allows us to do that. You wouldn't be asking him to go short rest twice in a seven game series if it went all seven. So we felt that we could do this. We were able to cut back on his work in September late August which we felt allowed us to do this.