10/15/2004 9:13 PM ET
Rainout causes no rotation change
Brown to go on Saturday, El Duque on Sunday
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
|Mike Mussina walks up the dugout stairs onto the wet field at Fenway Park on Friday night. (Winslow Townson/AP)
BOSTON -- Following Friday night's rainout, the Yankees will stay with their scheduled pitching rotation for Games 3 and 4 of the American League Championship Series, throwing Kevin Brown on Saturday and Orlando Hernandez on Sunday.
Brown was scheduled to start on Friday, while Hernandez would have gone on Saturday. That would have set up Mike Mussina to pitch Game 5 on Sunday, taking the mound on his regular four days of rest. With the postponement, Mussina could have come back to pitch Game 4 on Sunday, moving Hernandez back to Game 5, if necessary.
"I can't sit here and tell you there won't be a change, but I doubt very much that there will be," said pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre. "Joe and I always take it one game at a time."
Stottlemyre said that Brown's preparation was the only thing that needed adjusting for Game 3, as the right-hander had already begun his pregame routine and was itching to take the mound on Friday night.
"I know he was ready to pitch tonight," said Stottlemyre, who feels that the extra day could actually benefit Brown's balky back. "He was more antsy than anyone else in our clubhouse. He was very anxious to pitch tonight because he was very prepared. I think he'll have the opportunity to go through the night and start all over tomorrow, put his game face on and be ready to pitch Game 3."
By keeping the rotation in order, Mussina will now pitch on Monday, likely eliminating any chances of him pitching out of the bullpen during the rest of the series.
Last year, Game 4 of the ALCS was rained out at Fenway Park, causing a one-day delay in the series. Mussina, who started Game 1 of that series, then pitched Game 4 after the rainout. The right-hander came out of the bullpen on two days' rest to throw three innings in Game 7, helping the Yankees spark their pennant-clinching comeback.
With the rainout on Friday, the two teams will now play the remainder of the series without an off-day. That means that the clubs will either have to use five starting pitchers if the series goes the distance, or bring back Kevin Brown and Bronson Arroyo, the Game 3 starters, on three days' rest to pitch a Game 7.
"That's a decision which we'll have to see where we are," Torre said. "Hopefully we won't need more than two starters. That would be ideal."
Should the series go the distance, New York would likely have to start Javier Vazquez, unless they decided to use Brown on three days' rest.
"With the off-day being taken away, it will put us in a situation where we'll have to think about what we want to do if the series goes seven games," Stottlemyre said. "We have some options, but we'll explore those options as we go along.
"I'm not going to look at Game 6 or 7," the pitching coach added. "We know there's a Game 3 and a Game 4. We'll just see what happens and try to adjust to the situation."
The Yankees currently lead the series, 2-0, having won both games at Yankee Stadium. After beating Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez, New York arrived in Boston with all of the momentum, but Friday's rainout made the Yankees wait yet another day to get back on the field.
"We want to play," Torre said. "The fact that we've won two games, we want to get back out there again. More than worrying about the result, we just feel good about playing."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.