A lot of questions stand unanswered regarding the Yankees and the World Series, such as: who is pitching games 4 and 5; who is starting in right field in games 3-4-5 and what to do with Hideki Matsui in games 3,4 and 5.
Matsui is the Yankees full-time DH. A former outfielder, Matsui has not played in the field since injuring his knee in 2008. He has been either the DH or on the bench. It seems as if Matsui will remain on the bench while the series is in Philly, despite his good bat. Even though going with Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, Jerry Hairston, Jr, or Eric Hinske means a worse bat at the plate, it does mean a better defensive player in the field.
Which leads me to who starts in right. Nick Swisher was the everyday starter in the regular season, but has struggled greatly at the plate this postseason. He is hitting .114 (4-35) with 3 walks and 1 RBI. He has struck out an amazing 12 times in 10 games before being pulled after Game 1 of the World Series.
I would want to choose Brett Gardner, but it seems as if skipper Joe Girardi wants Gardner’s speed off the bench. I am torn. I can appreciate how much his speed can make the difference as a pinch-runner, but couldn’t he impact the game more with his speed in center field (move Melky Cabrera to right) and his speed as a batter with 4+ chances to get on base? Gardner is also 2-4 in his 4 AB this postseason
Hinske and Hairston provide some veteran experience in the field and at the plate AND both were acquired in trades from National League teams mid-season – so they both have experience against Philly and national league teams in general. I want to resist Hinske as a starter because he was a beast as a pinch-hitter this season and with no DH in games 3-4-5, I would want him available to pinch-hit for the pitcher when needed.
Finally, what to do about the starting pitching. With no day off between games 4 and 5 like there was in the ALCS, the Yankees can start CC Sabathia in Game 4 on 3 days rest and then Burnett and Pettitte in games 5 and 6, also on 3 days rest (which I am sure both can handle) and then CC again for game 7 (if needed) on 3 days rest. This is probably the least likely scenario. If a Game 7 is needed, you don’t want to have tired out CC as much.
The most likely scenarios are Game 4-Sabathia, Game 5- Chad Gaudin, Game 6 Burnett, Game 7 Pettitte with Sabathia in relief or Game 4 – Gaudin, Game 5- Sabathia, Game 6 – Burnett, and Game 7 Pettitte with no Sabathia available.
My predictions? Hideki Matsui stays on the bench. Gardner should start in CF, Cabrera in RF, with Hinske, Hairston and Swisher off the bench and the first pitching scenario (Sabathia, Gaudin, Burnett, Pettitte/Sabathia.)