Jim Leyland said he wouldn't use Joaquin Benoit or Jose Valverde in Game 5, with Phil Coke serving as the closer/late-inning reliever if needed. Both Benoit and Valverde have appeared the past three days and Valverde certainly didn't get the job on Wednesday.
Still, Valverde has thrown 7.1 innings over 11 days and everybody acts as if his arm has fallen off.
Not to sound like a cranky old dude, but back in the day ...
Specifically, Rollie Fingers. Look what he did in the 1972 World Series:
Game 1: 1.2 innings
Game 2: 0.1 innings
Game 3: 1.2 innings
Game 4: 1 inning
Game 5: 3.2 innings
Game 7: 2 innings
Total: 10.2 innings, two runs, a win, two saves, a hold (and a loss in Game 5). But that was nothing compared to the 1973 World Series:
Game 1: 3.1 innings
Game 2: 2.2 innings
Game 3: 1 inning
Game 5: 2 innings
Game 6: 1.1 innings
Game 7: 3.1 innings
Total: 13.2 innings, five runs (one earned), two saves, a hold, a loss, plus his Game 7 effort, when he entered with one out in the sixth and departed with two outs in the ninth. The A's, of course, won the World Series both years.
I'm not knocking Leyland; he doesn't want to put relievers in situations they aren't used to, such as pitching four days in a row. But it's also a sign of the times. And, yes, 1973 isn't 2011 in terms of power hitters up and down a lineup. Still ... let's at least tip our caps to Rollie, back when men were men (or something like that).
Follow David Schoenfield on Twitter @dschoenfield.