Monday, October 3, 2011

Pivotal decision

With a pivotal Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Yankees and Tigers just hours away, the big question is whether New York manager Joe Girardi should throw ace CC Sabathia against Detroit's Justin Verlander, who is having an MVP-worthy season.

Or should Girardi have held Sabathia to pitch in tomorrow's Game 4.

Girardi chose to throw Sabathia tonight, but is it the right move?

The two contradicting theories of thought here are:

1) Match your ace with their ace. I'm sure Sabathia wants the challenge of pitching against baseball's best pitcher this season. And if the Yankees do win to take a 2-1 series lead by beating Verlander, it would be a pretty good bet the Yanks will take the series.

2) Concede the game to Verlander and throw CC in Game 4. Girardi has to do what's right for the Yankees and in this case it just might be to hold his ace a day. If you subscribe to the notion Verlander will be too tough to beat tonight then why waste what could be a great but just not-great-enough outing from Sabathia. Then the Yankees would also be facing an elimination game with the inconsistent at best A.J. Burnett on the mound on Tuesday.

Give Girardi credit for this — he has the confidence in both Sabathia and Burnett to throw CC tonight against Verlander. If the move backfires, however, Girardi will have a lot of explaining to do.

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