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Wounded Byrd

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The question of whether Byrd on full rest or Sabathia on short rest start tonight really is the kind of question that’s empirically unknowable. The difference between Byrd and Sabathia is less than the plausible effects of Sabathia on short rest, especially when you consider that it will limit his innings. This is a case where deference is owed to the manager, who knows the individual characteristics of his players. Plus, Byrd is a league average pitcher who throws strikes, crucial to beating the Yankees.

Still, I have to say that unless Sabathia is completely unable to pitch it seems crazy to me that Wedge is starting Byrd. This is partly the fatalism of the Yankee hater, I’ll grant, but there’s also good reason to believe that Byrd will be entirely non-competitive against the best offense in baseball. He doesn’t get many Ks, and going up against 7 lefty hitters in a lefty-favoring park his surrendered a .322 average to lefties, which is an improvement over 2006 when lefties hit .369 off him. I can’t believe that even on 3 days rest Sabathia doesn’t give you a better chance than that, and if it doesn’t work you still have Carmona on full rest at home in Game 5. Wedge is all but surrendering Game 4 in advance, something he may well come to severely regret.

Anyway, I can’t say I was looking forward to the Gus Van Sant skateboarding picture a friend bought me a ticket for at the New York Film Festival tonight, but now it seems likes a godsend…

…obviously a good start, long way to go. One more point before I go: one reason for both optimism and to wonder about the choice is that the Indians are in a decent position to score some runs here. Sinkerballer or no, you have to wonder about Wang on short rest, and with Torre’s bizarre decision to use Joba for two innings with a 5 run lead the Yankees are in a world of hurt if he gets knocked out of the box early. Hopefully Byrd can gut his way through a few innings, but I hope he doesn’t squander a lead a la Westbrook. (Good point about Laffey in the comments.) Anyway, I hope to be pleasantly surprised when I get back…

…so it turned out after I got to Columbus Circle that, to my ill-concealed annoyance, the Van Sant movie is tomorrow. It actually looked like we were going to see Le Voyage du Ballon Rouge instead — the usher didn’t notice either — but then someone showed up for their seats after the picture started. It figures that the Yankees would start hitting as soon as I got home…anyway, as I was saying starting wily veteran Paul Byrd was a brilliant choice and I predicted that he would shut down the Yankees for five innings…

…My question (and fear): if the Indians have, say, a 2-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, does Borowski come in?

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