Print and Go Back MLB Playoffs 2003 [Print without images]

Friday, October 17, 2003
Updated: October 18, 3:16 AM ET
Penny is 1-1 this postseason

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- David Wells is ready for the Florida Marlins, even if he will be pitching with just one day of rest.

 Brad Penny

 David Wells

"I've been blessed with a rubber arm -- just hope that everything else falls in and I'm ready to go," he said after being picked to start against Brad Penny in Saturday night's World Series opener.

New York and Florida each used three pitchers who usually start in Game 7 of their league championship series.

Yankees manager Joe Torre had not figured out whether Andy Pettitte or Mike Mussina will pitch Game 2. Florida manager Jack McKeon picked Mark Redman for the second game Sunday and Josh Beckett for the third back in Miami on Tuesday.

"Last night, on the plane, they came up and told all the pitchers our roles," Penny said. "It's exciting."

Wells, a 40-year-old left-hander, threw 104 pitches in Tuesday's 4-2 Game 5 win at Boston, then came out of the bullpen Thursday night in the Yankees' 6-5, 11-inning win in Game 7.

Torre wasn't about to start Jeff Weaver, the target of boos at Yankee Stadium as he slumped to a 7-9 record and 5.99 ERA.

"It's not fair to him, I think, after he's been idle for so long, to all of a sudden heap all that on his shoulders right now," Torre said Friday.

Mussina had a 95-pitch outing in Game 4 Monday, then relieved Thursday when Roger Clemens was chased in the fourth inning after throwing 65 pitches. Making the first relief appearance of his career after 400 regular and postseason starts, Mussina came in with New York trailing 4-0 and runners at the corners with no outs.

He struck out Jason Varitek and got Johnny Damon to bounce into a double play, and wound up allowing two hits in three scoreless innings. Mussina threw 33 pitches.

"The guy who stopped the bleeding, the guy who put a tourniquet on the whole thing, was Mike Mussina," Torre said. "That was the turning point for me."

Andy Pettitte, New York's other postseason starter, threw 92 pitches Wednesday in New York's 9-6 loss in Game 6. Torre also is taking into account that Clemens, who intends to retire after this series, is 41, and that Wells isn't as wedded to routine as most starters.

"He can get up Christmas morning and probably throw the ball 89 (mph)," Torre said. "Andy recovers pretty well. Moose proved last night he can come back out of the bullpen -- he doesn't like the fact that we know that -- but he's probably one of the guys that we try to keep on his day."

As for Clemens, Torre said "we just want him pitching with enough rest, as opposed to trying to cram too much into him."

Florida had an only slightly easier task in Wednesday night's 9-6 win in Game 7 at Chicago. Redman started and threw 69 pitches, and was followed by Penny, who had a nine-pitch inning and got the win. Beckett, who threw 115 pitches in Sunday's two-hit shutout in Game 5, followed and threw 45 pitches over four innings.

Game 6 starter Carl Pavano threw 86 pitches Tuesday and Dontrelle Willis, who threw 74 pitches in his Game 4 start Saturday, threw 23 pitches over one inning of relief in Game 6.

If Boston had beaten the Yankees, Willis would have started the Series opener.

"It was a case of where we could use Dontrelle the most," McKeon said. "We need a power left-hander in the bullpen, and he would be the guy."

Florida's only other left-hander in the bullpen is Michael Tejera.

"Bullpen work is obviously different than starting," Willis said, "but we have a bunch of pitchers who will do anything to help us win."

Penny went 14-10 during the regular season but has won only once since hyperextending his pitching elbow Sept. 12. He has an ERA of 14.14 in two postseason starts, and McKeon opted to start Pavano instead of Penny in Game 6 of the NLCS.< Game notes
Jeff Conine or Juan Encarnacion will be Florida's designated hitter during the games in New York, according to McKeon. ... New York's Jason Giambi, who has been a DH much of the time because an injured knee, is confident he'll be able to play first base during the games in Florida, when there is no DH. ... Torre is 70-80 percent sure he will add LHP Chris Hammond to the roster and drop either INF Erick Almonte or OF David Dellucci.