Yankees comeback difficult, but not impossible
If the Yankees put themselves in that position, their Game 7 starter may very possibly be David Phelps. Wednesday’s rainout moved CC Sabathia’s Game 4 do-or-die start to Thursday, which means the Yankees won’t have the Big Lefty available for a potential Game 7. Not on two days rest, a suggestion Brian Cashman shot down immediately.
“No,” Cashman said. “I’m not thinking that far ahead, let’s just worry about tomorrow. If we take care of business tomorrow then we can worry about the next day. I want to be in a position to do that.”
Right now, the rotation is Andy Pettitte for a Game 5 on Friday in Detroit and Hiroki Kuroda in Game 6 on Saturday at Yankee Stadium. Joe Girardi could maneuver Phelps into a Game 5 or 6 and give his two veteran hurlers what would amount as two extra days rest. However, Girardi’s philosophy dates back to his days as a starting catcher on the 1996 World Champion Yankees: Play today, win today. He refuses to consider tomorrow, so it’s more likely he’ll roll the dice (sound familiar?), and go with Phelps and an all-hands-on-deck bullpen for Game 7.
Thursday afternooon, Girardi added another name to the mix, Phil Hughes, initially questionable for the rest of the postseason after he was pulled from Game 3 with back stiffness.
"We believe he's going to be okay and he could be available to us, yes," Girardi said.
All this, however, is moot if the Yankees lose once more. But with Sabathia on the mound, their odds of victory are increased.
“It doesn’t matter what they throw at us, we have to find a way,” Cashman said. “It’s all about winning our next game, then we’ll worry about the day after and the day after. Whatever the schedule turns out to be, it doesn’t matter. We will find a way. We have no choice.”
Mission 28 may have become extremely difficult, but not impossible. On the Yankees’ active roster is Derek Lowe, a big part of that Red Sox team who came all the way back – against the Yankees – eight years ago. The a famous story before Game 4 at Fenway Park, which Lowe started, is Kevin Millar turning to reporters and shouting a warning to the Yankees. “Don’t let the Red Sox win tonight! “Do not let the Red Sox win this game!” He explained that a Red Sox win puts Pedro Martinez on the mound for Game 5. Another win and Curt Schilling takes the ball for Game 6. And another win forces an anything-can-happen Game 7.
You all know what happened beginning with a leadoff walk to Millar in the ninth and pinch-runner Dave Roberts’ stolen base. Lowe is one of many who will never forget and he’s taken that “Why not us?” attitude into the Yankee clubhouse.
“Well,” Lowe said, “one thing you know for sure, right? You know it isn’t impossible. It isn’t easy by any stretch. But the record shows: it’s doable. We can’t win all four [today]. All you can do is win one.”
If the Yankees win one times four, followed by four more, this may indeed be the best pinstriped story ever told.
Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC