The matchups for the first three games of the World Series are set. C.C. Sabathia will face Cliff Lee in Game 1, A.J. Burnett will oppose Pedro Martinez in Game 2, and Andy Pettitte will draw Cole Hamels in Game 3. The Yankees’ plans for Game 4 are less clear.
The Yankees seem likely to go back to the same three starters for Games 4, 5 and 6, with Sabathia ready for a potential seventh game.
“We feel good about all of them going on short rest,” said the pitching coach Dave Eiland. “If we see something that we don’t feel comfortable with, we won’t do it. It’s an option, but I’m not saying that’s what we’re going to do. We haven’t ruled it out, but we haven’t set it in stone.”
Teams rarely use only three starters in the World Series anymore. The San Diego Padres were the last to do it, in 1998, when Kevin Brown started twice in a four-game sweep by the Yankees.
But the Yankees’ options are limited. The only other pitcher who could start would be Chad Gaudin, who has worked one inning in the postseason and threw a simulated game Tuesday. Joba Chamberlain made 29 starts in the regular season but has shifted to short relief.
Sabathia started on three days’ rest in the American League Championship Series and threw eight strong innings to beat the Angels. Burnett and Pettitte have not pitched on short rest all season, but they seem strong.
“We had the luxury of having several off days in September, and then we clinched relatively early as well, so we were able to get guys out earlier in games because we’d already clinched,” Eiland said. “Most of our starters got an extra day all of September, so they were very well rested.”