NEW YORK -- I made it to Yankee Stadium for Game Four of the division series and that has been no small accomplishment. Waiting for the No. 4 subway, there was no train for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes. I was just about to give up the ghost anyway when an announcement was made that there was an "investigation" at another stop and the No. 4 wasn't coming anytime soon. No problem, right? Just hop a cab. Except I found the only American cabbie in Manhattan who didn't know a). what Yankee Stadium was and b). how the heck to get to it.
Are you serious, dude? Ridiculous.
Anyway, things are a little tamer around here today after the pregame Joe Torre frenzy prior to Game Three. The biggest issue is why Eric Wedge insists on starting 15-game winner Paul Byrd instead of bringing C.C. Sabathia back on three days rest. I'm with Wedge on this one even if the national media is pouncing on him.
Sabathia will start Game Five if needed on Wednesday with Fausto Carmona ready to back him up. But it would be HUGE for the Tribe to win tonight, be able to go Sabathia-Carmona in Games One and Two in Boston -- and potentially get five starts out of them in seven games in the ALCS.
"The guy won 15 games for us and we wouldn't be here without him," Wedge said of Byrd. "The history of three days rest is nothing spectacular. And C.C. threw 114 pitches in five innings [in Game One] as as as he's thrown all year. He's pushing 250 innings for the season. We're not going to put anybody in harm's way, much less our ace one of the best pitchers in baseball. We're just not going to do it. From a common sense standpoint, people should understand that."
The Yankees have officially taken Roger Clemens off their roster and replaced him with Ron Villone. That means Clemens will miss the rest of this series -- and the ALCS if the Yankees advance. Doug Mientkiewicz is back at first base with sinkerballer Chien-Ming Wang back on the mound. The Indians have put in Byrd's personal catcher, Kelly Shoppach, and moved Victor Martinez to first base. That leaves Ryan Garko (4 for 11) on the bench.
Here's tonight's starting lineups:
Cleveland New York
Grady Sizemore, cf Johnny Damon, lf
Asdrubal Cabrera, 2b Derek Jeter, ss
Travis Hafner, dh Bobby Abreu, rf
Victor Martinez, 1b Alex Rodriguez, 3b
Jhonny Peralta, ss Jorge Posada, c
Kenny Lofton, lf Hideki Matsui, dh
Franklin Gutierrez, rf Robinson Cano, 2b
Casey Blake, 3b Melky Cabrera, cf
Kelly Shoppach, c Doug Mientkiewicz, 1b
Paul Byrd, p Chien-Ming Wang, p
taggedAL Division Series