Before I post all of the articles you will need, I need to address the hottest series topic of the day. Everyone and their mother is weighing in on whether or not Tribe manager Eric Wedge is making the right call going with veteran Paul Byrd in Game Four rather than C.C. Sabathia on short rest. I think Wedge is making the right call, as I stated in my last post. The numbers, however, say the opposite. Byrd made one start against the Yankees this season. He went just two innings, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits, including a bomb to Alex Rodriguez. The Yankee lineup tonight will feature seven guys hitting from the left side - Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Jorge Posada, Jason Giambi, Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano, and Melky Cabrera. That's not a good thing for Byrd; lefties had a .322 batting average against him this year. The Yankees will be bringing Chien-Ming Wang back on three days rest. He is a much better pitcher at home, going 10-4 with a 2.75 ERA. His ERA on the road was 4.91. You can bet both starters will be on a short leash. Rookie Lefty Aaron Laffey will be Wedge's first option and Wang will be backed up by 17-year Veteran Mike Mussina. The Moose shut down the Tribe in his only start against them going 7 2/3 innings allowing just two runs. Tonight should be very interesting. If Byrd implodes, Wedge is going to be second-guessed for years to come.
Wedge Set to Fly with Byrd - Bud Shaw, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Pitching Byrd, not Sabathia, Gives Yankees Hope - Howard Bryant, espn.com
Wedge's Tough Decision - Tom Verducci, si.com
Boss Hits New Low, Tops Himself with Torre Ultimatum - Mike Freeman, cbssportsline.com
Well, Nixon Started Out Well - Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Tribe Playing with Fire - Rob Neyer, espn.com
Youth Served as Hughes Bails Out Clemens - Mike Lupica, NY Daily News
Wedge will Stick With Byrd - Joe Lapointe, NY Times
Veteran Nixes Rare Shot to Excel - Jim Ingraham, Willoughby News-Herald
Yanks Focus Turns to Byrd - Ken Rosenthal, foxsports.com
Jon Heyman on si.com:
Indians manager Eric Wedge is sticking to his plan, by golly. And from here his plan has a hole in it.
Wedge's plan remains is to pitch OK veteran Paul Byrd in Game 4 Monday night, then come back with ace C.C. Sabathia in Game 5 Wednesday. The plan really should be Sabathia on short rest in Game 4, followed by the dynamic Fausto Carmona in Game 5 on Wednesday, which would still be full rest for him. Sure, three days rest is a risk to derail Sabathia's game. But that way, they'd have a better pitcher going in each of the next two games.
"Sabathia's 6-foot-7, 270 pounds, and he's 27," one AL executive said. "There's no reason he shouldn't be able to do it."
"I'd be ready," Sabathia said, "But Byrdie's a veteran. He's been in the postseason, and he deserves to start the way he's pitched this season."
Buster Olney on espn.com insider:
If I sat in Eric Wedge's chair, I would start C.C. Sabathia on three days' rest tonight, and then, if necessary, Fausto Carmona on full rest on Wednesday. Sure, Sabathia has never pitched on three days' rest in his career, but knowing Carmona would work Game 5, I'd feel good about taking my chances with Sabathia in Game 4. Byrd -- a right-hander with mediocre stuff -- could be absolutely mismatched against the Yankees, and if I'm the Indians, I'd want to use my two best pitchers to take my two chances to advance to the AL Championship Series. Reggie Jackson had good things to say about the Indians.
See a trend here nationally? Nobody is talking about the tribe bats or bullpen. The stories are Paul Byrd and the Yankees. Up 2-1, it feels as though the Indians are down 2-1 instead. The worst is that Game Five's start time Wednesday has moved to 8:37 at the Jake. Prediction for Tonight? I don't want to make one, but I think it's going to be a slugfest with the Yankees winning 10-7.