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World Series Game Four Thoughts

Random thoughts while watching a game that feels very long…

◊  I really wonder about Girardi’s ability to adapt on the fly. Sabathia was decent in game four but certainly not great.  Girardi stated that CC could go 110 or 120 pitches on three days rest.  The plan is to have CC pitch game seven if it’s needed.  CC has struggled with control problems his two starts and would be pitching his second start in a row on three days rest.

If you’re going to use CC on short rest so much and he’s showing control issues, should he really be throwing possibly 110 to 120 pitches?  Maybe a little restraint is in order.

◊  Jerry Hairston, Jr. was the replacement outfielder when Nick Swisher was given a day off.  He is also the backup infielder.

Robinson Cano has been terrible in the World Series.  Have you heard any calls for his day off?

◊  Speaking of second basemen, I am scared of Chase Utley right now. I know Red Sox fans are in love with Pedroia and Yankees fans like to think Cano is great, but Utley is light years beyond either of them.  And not just in the postseason, either.  Utley has put up consistently great numbers at second base that make Cano and Pedroia look average.

Watching him take CC deep three times this series has been humbling, to say the least.

◊  The warning issued to both teams after ARod was hit for the third tme in two games was ridiculous.  Baseball has created all of these inane rules to try and combat the unwritten rules about hitting batters, retribution, etc.

The problem is, when an umpire issues a warning, the implication is that there was some form of intent when the batter was hit.  By the rules, if an umpire feels there is intent, he is allowed to kick that pitcher out of the game.

ARod has been hit three times.  THREE. There must be some intent because that is a heck of a coincidence.  Does the ump kick Blanton out for intent?  No.  Instead, he gives a worthless warning that not only prevents the Yankees from retaliating but also makes the inside part of the plate a dangerous place to tread.

These rules are silly and accomplish absolutely nothing.  Let the players solve it on the field and spend the time trying to keep the headhunting to a minimum.

◊  It appeared to Buck, McCarver, and everyone else that Ryan Howard didn’t touch the plate when he scored in the fourth inning.  It was only obvious after watching it in high def slow motion but could have been noticeable to an umpire five feet away.

This led to a discussion in the chat with an umpire with AA credentials.  His contention was that, even if Howard had not touched the plate, the umpire was supposed to call him safe if the tag was not made.  It is then up to the defense to appeal the play.

This doesn’t make any sense to me.  If the play isn’t completed, I see no reason why the umpire should signal safe or out.  Technically, the play should still be alive.

Sure enough, half an inning later, Melky Cabrera blows a stop sign and scores on Johnny Damon’s single  The throw is wide and Melky misses the plate.  The ump doesn’t call safe until Melky gets up and touches the plate with his foot.

Well, which is it?  What’s the rule?  I don’t think the umpire knew that Howard missed the plate in the fourth, but how can there be such conflicting opinions about how that play is handled?

For a game as old as baseball, there sure seems to be a lot of kinks to work out.

◊  ARod’s hit drove in the run, but Damon’s at-bat and subsequent baserunning changed the whole focus of the inning.  Damon got a tremendous jump off of Lidge to steal second, then stood up and almost immediately took advantage of the over-shift in place for Teixeira and stole third.  It was an incredibly smart and bold play on Damon’s part that changed the tenor of the inning.  Instead of two outs a runner at first, Lidge was a bounced ball away from giving the Yankees a lead.

Instead, he plunks to Teixeira and gives up a hard hit double to ARod into left field to score Damon.  Posada follows with a two run single.

The Yankee late inning magic continues.

◊  So the Yanks are up 3-1. There is an interesting question to be asked:

With “Lights Out” Cliff Lee pitching Monday, should AJ Burnett pitch on three days rest or should Girardi throw Chad Gaudin?

The reasoning is simple.  Lee has been almost unhittable this postseason and likely will win game five.  Is it worth wasting Burnett on basically a lost game when you can hold him back for game six?

Two schools of thought: you can’t assume Lee will be lights out again.  It’s a short series and you can’t afford to give up games.

Or: pitching all of your pitchers on three days rest is too risky.  Let Gaudin pitch and let AJ go on full rest for game six.  Then, if needed, pick between CC on short rest or Andy Pettitte on full rest for game seven.

I’m leaning towards starting Burnett.  I don’t think you can take much for granted in a short series.  At the same time, I am a bit concerned about all the short rest.  Burnett has dne okay with it in the past but it’s only three starts and really doesn’t mean much.

I’m interested to see what Girardi comes up with.

◊  Finally, Alex Rodriguez played the hero again in game four. Critics, you have been silenced.

◊  We play today, we chat today. Dat’s it.  Join us at game time right here.

Scott Ham

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