If I'm Managing, I Go With Price, Madson
We're in uncharted territory here, obviously, with Game 5 of the World Series set to resume tonight at 8:37 p.m., in the bottom of the sixth with the Rays and Phillies tied at 2. The Phillies have four more turns at bat in regulation; the Rays have three.
But here's the guiding strategic principle I believe both teams will carry into tonight's resumption of play: You don't want to lose this game without deploying your best pitchers.
For the Rays, who will play defense first, it means you go with rookie LHP David Price from the get-go. But first, you send RHP Grant Balfour (who remains the pitcher of record from Monday night's suspension of play) to the mound, so that the Phillies have to announce their LH pinch-hitter (either Matt Stairs, Greg Dobbs or Geoff Jenkins). That's when you make the move for Price. This will force the Phillies either to switch to a RH pinch-hitter (probably So Taguchi, since it's a leadoff situation), which would burn up one of their top pinch-hit options, or allow the LH hitter to face Price.
If you're the Rays, you leave Price in the game for at least two innings, all the way through the Utley-Howard combination in the heart of the Phillies' order, and maybe beyond. If Price gets you through the sixth and seventh, you still have two lefties (Trever Miller and J.P. Howell) to match up against Utley and Howard, as well as a full assortment of RHPs (Dan Wheeler, Chad Bradford, Edwin Jackson).
If you're the Phillies, you should go with RHP Ryan Madson right away, and begin with the assumption you'll ride him for two innings -- unless you take a quick lead, in which you deploy Madson and LHP J.C. Romero in a typical matchup fashion. What you don't want to do is fall behind with your best arms sitting in the bullpen. You only have nine outs to secure in regulation. So you get six of them from Madson, and the final three from Brad Lidge and hope your offense scrapes together a run. If the game goes into extra innings, you might be able to squeeze an extra inning out of Lidge, and you would still have Romero, as well as Chad Durbin and Scott Eyre, if it goes deeper than that.
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