Lee won't pitch on short rest

October, 30, 2009
10/30/09
3:29
PM ET
Rotoworld on the Phillies' Game 4 starter:
    Rather than go with Cliff Lee on short rest, Charlie Manuel said Friday that Joe Blanton will start Game 4 of the World Series.

    That sets Lee up to pitch Game 5 and rules him out for a possible Game 7. Lee has never started on short rest in his entire career, so perhaps that was never a viable option anyway in Manuel's mind, but letting him throw 122 pitches in Game 1 all but ruled it out. Blanton allowed four runs in six innings against the Dodgers in his only postseason start after going 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA in the regular season.
So, now let's see ...

Game 3: Pettitte vs. Hamels (advantage: Yankees)
Game 4: Sabathia vs. Blanton (Yankees)
Game 5: Burnett vs. Lee (Phillies)
Game 6: Pettitte vs. Martinez or Happ (Yankees)
Game 7: Sabathia vs. Hamels (Yankees)

This is no great revelation, I know. Objectively, Lee and Sabathia are essentially even, so in saving Lee for Game 5, he essentially trades two even matchups for one advantage (Game 5) and two disadvantages (Games 4 and 7). Maybe I'm missing some obscure aspect of game theory, but this decision obviously makes sense only if Manuel is convinced that Lee simply can't outpitch Sabathia on short rest. And in this case, I'm happy to assume that Manuel knows his pitcher better than I do.

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