Seemingly everyone has an opinion on Yankees manager Joe Girardi opting to pitch his three-man staff on three days' rest throughout the playoffs, but one person whose opinion carries a little more weight is the man who has an opinion on everything: Curt Schilling.
So what does Big Schill think it takes to pitch on short rest in the playoffs? In a word — desire.
"From a starting pitcher’s standpoint, three days’ rest in October was never an issue, because from the time you’re 5 years old, doing that 'World Series' replay in your back yard, it’s the game, the innings, the at-bats you’ve always dreamed about having the ball in your hand for," Schilling wrote on his blog, 38 Pitches.
The retired pitcher owns one of the best postseason pitching resumes in history, and his gutty October (and November) performances have been well-documented. He twice pitched on three days' rest in the 2001 World Series in a postseason in which he compiled a 1.12 ERA in 48 1/3 innings, striking out 56 batters and walking just six. Three years later he toed the rubber at Yankee Stadium just seven days after the worst postseason start of his career. With a bloody sock covering his injured ankle, he allowed one run over seven innings to help force a Game 7. He ascended the hill for Game 2 of the World Series five days later and — with a new bloody sock — earned his third win of the 2004 postseason.
Still, he said he admires how hard some of his teammates worked during that same time.
"The far bigger story was an almost 40-year-old, 6-foot-10 pitcher coming in, in relief, the DAY AFTER he pitched seven innings," Schilling wrote in praise of Randy Johnson, who as a Diamondback shared co-MVP honors with Schilling in that Fall Classic. "In 2004 you had Keith Foulke who pitched in pretty much every single game, in insanely high-leverage innings, the entire month."
Schilling was hardly being hyperbolic, as Foulke pitched on zero days' rest five times in 2004 yet still posted a minuscule 0.64 ERA.
Schilling said that writing about short rest isn't worth the ink.
"[CC Sabathia is] a stud, and he’s an ace," Schilling wrote. "Aces take the ball on three days’ rest and make sure you — the media — understand it’s a non-issue and should be writing about more important stuff."
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