As We Await the First Pitch of the Postseason
Greetings from Citizens Bank Park in Philly... Quick news nugget: Pat Burrell, the Phillies' left fielder, is in the lineup, despite the recent flare-up in his lower back. The decision wasn't made until perhaps an hour ago, as the Phillies waited to see how the back responded to some light exercize and batting practice.
CC Sabathia, the Brewers' ace and Game 2 starter, was in the interview room before the game, and he spoke at length about the decision to keep pitching on three days' rest (his Game 2 start will be his fourth straight on short rest). It's a fascinating situation, made more so by the fact he is a pending free agent -- in line to get a contract that could approach $150 million -- and, arguably, is putting his future at risk by pitching so frequently on short rest.
Here is a little of what he said:
(Can he keep doing it?) "I've been feeling fresh. My body feels fine. I don't think there's any reason why I couldn't keep doing it."
(On whether he views starting on short rest as a sacrifice or a gamble on his future, given his pending free agency): "I think everybody who knows me.... knows how competitive I am. And if I'm healthy enough to pitch, they're not going to tell me not to. Because I'm not going to listen to it. We're going to end up getting in an argument. Because my wife and my agent were talking to me the other day. And they're both fine with it, just because they know how competitive I am, and they know I would be honest -- if I couldn't do it, I wouldn't do it.... So I don't think of it as a sacrifice. I think if anybody was healthy enough to do it, I think they would do it, if they had a chance to get in the playoffs and win the championship."
Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz is here doing TV work for TBS, and he recalled starting on short rest a couple of times in the postseason. "Some pitchers in this situation... just want the ball. You do it this time of year with no reservations at all."
We just had the introduction of the two teams down the first- and third-base lines, and first pitch is a mere moments away.
October 1, 2008; 2:40 PM ET
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