Bob Gibson wonders why everyone fusses about the World Series starters going on three days’ rest:
“What’s the big deal? I don’t get it. I don’t think it’s going to kill somebody. A pitcher can’t pitch with three days’ rest? Some of those guys make $8 million a week . . . I don’t imagine you’d want to do that all year, but for playoffs and World Series … if you can’t do it then, when the hell can you do it? I don’t quite get it.”
Gibson’s point is taken — Old Hoot kicked all kinds of butt pitching on three days’ rest in three different World Series — but he’s also missing a larger point: It’s not the number of days’ rest itself. It’s the fact that it’s shorter rest than a guy is used to. Gibson pitched in the era of four man rotations, so three days’ rest was normal rest. Andy Pettitte and A.J. Burnett and Cliff Lee pitch in the era of five man rotations, and three days is short rest. Asking someone to change their routine and force their body to adjust to it so quickly is a taller order, I think, than Gibson is giving today’s starters credit for.
And as the article reminds us, Bob Gibson actually pitched on short rest himself in the 1964 Series: two days’ rest before the clinching Game 7. And he was great. But (a) he’s Bob Gibson, not some mere mortal like Andy Pettitte or A.J. Burnett; and (b) even he said that he “didn’t feel really dynamite after that.”
So let’s cut these guys some slack, huh?