Archive for Saturday, October 18, 2003

Wells, Penny set to duel in opener

AL, NL playoff series took toll on pitching

October 18, 2003


— For starters, the World Series is a scramble.

David Wells will open for the New York Yankees tonight against Florida's Brad Penny.

With both teams scraping their bullpens to win their pennants, the Yankees and Marlins each used three pitchers in Game 7 of their league championship series who usually start.

Yankees manager Joe Torre hasn't figured out whether Andy Pettitte or Mike Mussina will pitch Game 2, Florida manager Jack McKeon picked Mark Redman for the second game Sunday and Josh Beckett for the third Tuesday back in Miami.

"Last night, on the plane, they came up and told all the pitchers our roles," Penny said. "It's exciting."

Wells, a 40-year-old left-hander, threw 104 pitches in Tuesday's 4-2 Game 5 win at Boston, then came out of the bullpen Thursday night in the Yankees' 6-5, 11-inning win in Game 7.

"Yesterday, it would have been like a side day anyway," Wells said. "I've been blessed with a rubber arm -- just hope that everything else falls in and I'm ready to go."

Mussina had a 95-pitch outing in Game 4 Monday, then relieved Thursday when Roger Clemens was chased in the fourth inning after throwing 65 pitches. Making the first relief appearance of his career after 400 regular and postseason starts, Mussina came in with New York trailing 4-0 and runners at the corners with no outs.

He struck out Jason Varitek and got Johnny Damon to bounce into a double play, and wound up allowing two hits in three scoreless innings. Mussina threw 33 pitches.

"The guy who stopped the bleeding, the guy who put a tourniquet on the whole thing, was Mike Mussina," Torre said. "That was the turning point for me."

Andy Pettitte, New York's other postseason starter, threw 92 pitches Wednesday in New York's 9-6 loss in Game 6. Torre also is taking into account that Clemens, who intends to retire after this series, is 41, and that Wells isn't as wedded to routine as most starters.

"He can get up Christmas morning and probably throw the ball 89 (mph)," Torre said. "Andy recovers pretty well. Moose proved last night he can come back out of the bullpen -- he doesn't like the fact that we know that -- but he's probably one of the guys that we try to keep on his day."

As for Clemens, Torre said "we just want him pitching with enough rest, as opposed to trying to cram too much into him."

Florida had an only slightly easier task in Wednesday night's 9-6 win in Game 7 at Chicago.

Redman started and threw 69 pitches, and was followed by Penny, who had a nine-pitch inning and earned the win. Beckett, who threw 115 pitches in Sunday's two-hit shutout in Game 5, followed and threw 45 pitches over four innings.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.