- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 31, 2009

PHILADELPHIA | Charlie Manuel won’t bring back his ace on short rest. Joe Girardi hasn’t decided whether he’ll follow suit, but all signs point to CC Sabathia taking the ball for Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday.

The New York Yankees manager doesn’t plan to announce his starter until after Saturday night’s Game 3. Sabathia, though, appears the likely choice over journeyman Chad Gaudin.

“Physically, we’ll continue to talk to CC and see how our guys are doing,” Girardi said Friday. “And we’ll talk about it as a staff the next couple days and decide what we’re going to do.”

Sabathia already has pitched once on three days’ rest this postseason, coming back to win Game 4 of the American League Championship Series with eight innings of one-run ball against the Los Angeles Angels. He lost Game 1 of the World Series after surrendering two solo homers but has been dominant this month with a 1.52 ERA.

The Yankees are having Sabathia prepare as though he’ll start Sunday, and they’ll do the same with A.J. Burnett, who could come back on short rest to start Monday’s Game 5. It appears they’re doing everything they can to avoid pitching Gaudin, who went 6-10 with a 4.64 ERA this year between the Yankees and San Diego Padres and has thrown only one mop-up inning of relief during the playoffs.

The Phillies have the option of bringing back ace Cliff Lee to face Sabathia in a rematch, but Manuel decided instead to keep the left-hander on a normal pitching schedule and start right-hander Joe Blanton in Game 4. Blanton has been used sparingly this month but won 12 games in the regular season and last year won Game 4 of the World Series over the Tampa Bay Rays.

“I’ve kind of approached it the whole time the same, being in the bullpen and being back and forth,” he said. “Whatever’s going to help us win, I’ve been ready the whole time.”

Lee, who went the distance in Game 1 to beat New York, has never pitched on short rest.

Manuel fires back

The typically folksy, lighthearted Manuel got fired up Friday when he was asked about criticism of his decision not to put his runners in motion with Chase Utley at the plate facing a full count in the eighth inning of Game 2. Utley wound up grounding into an inning-ending double play.

Manuel responded to the criticism with a lengthy explanation.

“You know what? I didn’t even have to think about that,” he said. “That’s bad baseball if Utley strikes out and [Jimmy] Rollins gets thrown out at third base. Or if we hit a line-drive double play and we run into a double play, we’ve got one of the best hitters in baseball standing on deck. Between Utley and [Ryan] Howard, we’ve got 80 home runs. We’ve got over 200 RBIs right there. That’s our game standing right there in front of us.

“Also, it’s an out process there - it’s an out-elimination process. We’ve only got five outs left in the game. We’ve got our biggest offensive threat standing at the plate. There’s no way we could afford to make a mistake there. Those guys have to hit for me. I’ll do that as long as I live. Actually, I get upset when somebody asks me that, because that’s not baseball. I don’t give a damn who’s played 20 years or 50 years and think they know. That’s not the right way to play the game.”

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