Rangers won't use Cliff Lee on short rest in ALDS

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Earlier this week Ron Washington said that Cliff Lee “could go” on short rest in the ALDS “if we think we need him” to allow the Rangers to use a three-man rotation, but yesterday the manager squashed those plans.
Rather than start Lee in Game 1 and then in Game 4 on three days’ rest, the Rangers will use Tommy Hunter as their fourth starter and have Lee lined up for a potential Game 5 assignment.
“The numbers didn’t look good,” Washington told T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. “We’re going to use our whole pitching staff. We just decided not to push Cliff out there on three days.”
In nine seasons as a major leaguer Lee has never pitched on three days’ rest and his lack of short-rest starts was an issue last postseason as well, when the Phillies decided against using him three times in a seven-game series.
Sullivan also notes that pitchers starting on short rest in the playoffs during the past eight seasons are a combined 13-20 with a 5.01 ERA, compared to a 4.18 ERA on normal rest and a 3.80 ERA on extra rest. Last year’s playoffs included six short-rest starts that produced a combined 6.30 ERA.

Joe Girardi won’t use Masahiro Tanaka in Game 7

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The Yankees and Astros are set for Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday, and neither team will hold back as they seek a World Series berth. The Astros are prepared to back starter Charlie Morton with any able-bodied pitcher in their ranks — including Justin Verlander, though A.J. Hinch said it would be a “dream scenario” to get anything more from his ace — while the Yankees are prepared to utilize all but a few of their arms. One pitcher you won’t see? Right-hander Masahiro Tanaka, who last took the hill for the Yankees during their Game 5 shutout on Wednesday.

Tanaka expended 103 pitches over seven scoreless innings in his last start, fending off the Astros with three hits, a walk and eight strikeouts. He hasn’t pitched on fewer than three days of rest all year, and even with a do-or-die scenario facing the Yankees on Saturday night, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t want to compromise his starter’s ability to stay rested and ready for the World Series.

Girardi will also play it safe with fellow right-hander Sonny Gray, who dominated in a five-inning performance in Game 4. All other pitchers should be available and ready to go, though the club is hoping for a lengthy outing from veteran starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia is no stranger to the postseason: over eight separate playoff runs, he touts one championship title and a collective 4.24 ERA in 123 innings. He held the Astros scoreless in his Game 3 start, blanking them over six innings on three hits, four walks and five strikeouts for an eventual 8-1 win.

Even without Tanaka or Gray likely to take the mound for Game 7, the Yankees will enter the series finale with history on their side. Per MLB.com, they have a 4-3 road record in Game 7s and are 6-7 in all 13 Game 7 finales to date. The Astros, on the other hand, dropped their first and only Game 7 clincher back in 2004, when the Cardinals capped the NLCS with a 5-2 win in St. Louis. The teams are scheduled to face off for the first-ever Game 7 at Minute Maid Park on Saturday at 8:00 PM ET.