October 26, 2009

The pitching plans of the Yankees and Phillies haven't been announced yet, but sources indicate that both teams are leaning toward rotations that would pit ex-Indians teammates CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee against each other three times should the World Series go the full seven games.

While the teams are still firming up their final plans, based on discussions so far there seems to be almost no chance for the teams to do anything but plan to employ their aces for three starts. Sabathia is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA in the playoffs, while Lee is 2-0 with a 0.74 ERA, and they've established themselves as the clear aces of their pennant-winning teams.

The Yankees are leaning heavily toward using a three-man rotation again in the World Series, with A.J. Burnett following Sabathia and pitching games 2 and 5, and Andy Pettitte following Burnett and pitching games 3 and 6. Unlike in the AL playoffs, which featured an extra off day, that would necessitate Burnett and Pettitte to also pitch on three days rest -- though unlike with Sabathia and Lee, just once.

The Phillies' entire rotation is very unlikely to be decided before the World Series starts, but the current plan appears to be to use Pedro Martinez in Game 2 and Cole Hamels in Game 3. Joe Blanton and J.A. Happ would remain candidates for games 5 and 6, as would Martinez and possibly Hamels. Martinez' brilliant start against the Dodgers combined with Hamels' recent struggles has, at least for the moment, moved Martinez ahead of him in their plans.

The Phillies seem likely to use Ben Francisco in left field at Yankee Stadium vs. left handers Sabathia and Pettitte, with Raul Ibanez moving to DH. Against the right-hander Burnett, Matt Stairs is the probably DH at Yankee Stadium, with Ibanez manning left field.

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