The Yankees got some great news today when Phillies manager Charlie Manuel announced that he will use right handed pitcher Joe Blanton and not left handed ace Cliff Lee in game 4 of the World Series according to the AP.
“I don’t think he’s ready for it on three days’ rest,” Manuel said. “I think you’re taking a chance on really pushing him.”
This also means that Lee can only start in two games this series, game 1 and 5. He probably would be available out of the bullpen in game 7 if the series goes that far.
“That would be on his bullpen day, and he might be able to pitch,” the manager said.
It was not simply a choice between Lee and Blanton for game 4 either. Apparently the Phillies pondered going with rookie JA Happ as well, but ultimately chose Blanton for experience and the idea that Happ fits better as a long man.
“I think Blanton fits for us because I think we want to keep Happ right now in the bullpen, especially kind of in the middle where he could do some innings,” Manuel said. “And also, Joe pitched last year in the World Series, and he’s got a little bit more experience.”
It is uncertain right now how this news affects the Yankees and CC Sabathia. It is likely that they will still go with The Big Man for game 4 which would give the Yankees a pretty big edge for that game. Although then you would need another big game out of AJ Burnett because Lee wasn’t just getting lucky out there the other night.
Of course the Yankees could use this as an excuse to go with Chad Gaudin thinking that if they get even a decent performance out of him it could be enough to beat Blanton. If the Phillies did go with Lee in game 4 it would have been almost impossible to justify giving Gaudin a start.