For those of you tuning in for Last Week in Baseball, it will be seen here at the conclusion of the first round, in other words, Thursday morning.
When Eric Wedge fills out his lineup card tonight, he will be doing two groups of people a huge favor. Namely, The New York Yankees, and Jacobs Field beer vendors. That is because starting Paul Byrd tonight in game 4 virtually ensures that there will be a game 5 on Wednesday back in Cleveland.
Byrd, who lost three of his last four decisions down the stretch, pitched once against the Yankees this season, allowing seven (SEVEN) runs in two (TWO) innings on August 11th. By the way, that game was played in Cleveland. In that brilliant outing, in which his ERA was 31.50 and his batting average against was an astronomical .583, Byrd only faced 14 batters, and allowed seven of them to score. C.C. Sabathia, even on three-days-rest, can do better than that.
Please save your “But Byrd won 15 games this year” comments. Lets look at Byrd’s last 10 wins. In reverse order: White Sox, White Sox, Twins, Tigers, Devil Rays, Twins, Twins, Rangers, A’s, Red Sox. One playoff team. And during that span he was shelled by the Yankees and Angels, two playoff teams.
The Indians should be pitching Sabathia tonight on short rest, and, if need be, Carmona in game 5 on full rest. Byrd should be in the bully as a long man in case C.C. gets in trouble. Chances are, on three-days-rest Sabathia could give the Tribe five innings, and you could mix and match the final four innings with rested releivers Raffy Perez (whom the Yankees haven’t touched) and Raffy Betancourt (whom very few people in the AL touched) setting up for a rested Borowski. I would take a 75% C.C. in game 4 and if need be a 100% Carmona in game 5 any day over a 100% Byrd and 100% Sabathia. Wedge should be saying to the Yankees, if you are going to win this series, you are going to have to beat our two best pitchers.
Also, if you are going to post something ridiculous like “Who starts game 1 of the LCS if the Tribe wins in 5?” please save it. You don’t manage game 5 of the Division Series to set yourself up for the Championship Series. You have to do everything you can to give yourself the best chance to win the series that you are in right now, then worry about the LCS if you get there. Eric Wedge is not doing that.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we have to go bet our next two rent payments on the Yankees in tonights game.
*Update Fire Eric Wedge has hit the blogosphere in anticipation of tonight’s loss. Incredible*