In CC they trust: Sabathia to start Game 4
Big left-hander will take the hill on three days' rest
ANAHEIM -- CC Sabathia was breaking a sweat at Angel Stadium on Sunday, getting re-acclimated to the West Coast after flying across the country. He had an assignment to prepare for: Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.
Manager Joe Girardi confirmed that Sabathia has been tabbed to start the fourth game of New York's series with Los Angeles on Tuesday at 7:57 p.m. ET on FOX, making that effort on three days' rest.
"We wanted to make sure he felt fine, and he did great," Girardi said. "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, we're comfortable doing it. He feels good, and we're going right to CC."
Sabathia made his final three starts of the 2008 regular season on short rest, fueling the Brewers' improbable playoff run. He is 3-1 with a 1.01 ERA in four career regular-season starts made on three days' rest, averaging nearly a strikeout an inning.
Sabathia's start in Game 2 of the National League Division Series on three days' rest didn't go nearly as well, as the Dodgers tagged the big left-hander for five runs -- including a Shane Victorino grand slam -- and chased him in the fourth inning.
But the Yankees took care to make sure that Sabathia's final four starts of the regular season this year came with either one or two days of extra rest, which should help him stay fresh.
The Yankees had also considered starting right-hander Chad Gaudin in Game 4, but now they can align their rotation to bypass him. A.J. Burnett will pitch Game 5 and Andy Pettitte in Game 6, if necessary, before Sabathia would be called upon on regular rest to pitch a Game 7.
"We had thought about possibly going to the four-man rotation," Girardi said. "But with this extra day off, it allows us to do that. You wouldn't be asking him to go on 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 [Sabathia's] work in September and late August, which we felt allowed us to do this."
The $161 million ace limited the Twins to two runs (one earned) over 6 2/3 innings in Game 1 of the ALDS and then stifled the Angels in Game 1 of the ALCS, holding them to one run over eight innings. In two playoff starts this season, he has allowed just 12 hits and one walk in 14 2/3 innings, striking out 15.
"I think that something that's killed me in the past in the postseason -- the walks and the extra baserunners," Sabathia said. "It's tough in the playoffs to pitch well when you're behind all the time and you have runners on base, especially with this Angels' lineup and the way they steal bases and run the bases. You just can't afford to walk too many guys."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.