After getting a solid start from the much-maligned A.J. Burnett last night the Yankees have to be feeling pretty good about their chances of winning Game 5, as they’ll turn to rookie Ivan Nova against Doug Fister and the Tigers.
Nova was technically a reliever in Game 1, “starting” the suspended game and pitching 6.1 innings of two-run ball for the victory.
He came on in relief of CC Sabathia then, but now Sabathia is the one who’ll be an option out of the bullpen in Game 5, telling Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York that “I’m definitely available.”
Whether he’ll actually be needed is unclear, because having today off allows the Yankees’ bullpen to rest up and the Mariano Rivera, David Robertson, Rafael Soriano trio should be ready to go for an inning or two each. If the Yankees turn to Sabathia it probably means Nova had a short start or the game is in extra innings, as Detroit’s lack of dangerous left-handed hitters makes using him as a specialist unlikely.
Plus, with a rough outing in Game 3 and a 4.78 ERA in 15 career postseason starts Sabathia hasn’t exactly made a strong case for being trusted out of the bullpen.