The Yankees plan to start CC Sabathia in Game 1 and A.J. Burnett in Game 2 of the 2009 ALCS. A potential rainout of either of these games would likely force them to use a fourth starter, since Andy Pettitte is scheduled to pitch Game 3, setting up Joba Chamberlain or Chad Gaudin to pitch Game 4 at Anaheim.
Anyone paying attention lately knows that it’s not going to be Joba Chamberlain and most likely will be Chad Gaudin.
Now, if the Yankees win the first three games of the ALCS, this probably is not an issue – because if Gaudin tanks, at the worst, you’re still up, three games to one, with three to play. (Sure, we remember the “2004 ALCS situation” – but, having CC Sabathia ready to pitch Game 5 should ease that concern.)
But, if the Yankees are not up, three-oh, by Game 4, then starting Chad Gaudin has all sorts of risk tied to it.
If the Yankees are down, three-oh, do you really want your season riding on the arm of Gaudin?
If the Yankees are down, two games to one, do you really want to start Gaudin and risk being down, three games to one, after that start – and then be forced to win the next two in a row or go home?
Heck, even if you’re up, two games to one, do you want to start Gaudin and then maybe find yourself in a spot where the series is tied at two (assuming you lose Game 4) – and then have the series turn into a best two out of three?
Of course, maybe Chad Gaudin starts Game 4 and is a hero – throwing six shutout innings. Anything is possible. But, is it likely?
In the end, if this ALCS comes down to the Yankees starting Gaudin in Game 4 – and him costing them the game and maybe the ALCS, many will blame it on the rain. But, is that fair? If the Yankees had a fourth starter they could trust, then none of this would be an issue right?