Going four it
Schilling to start Wednesday on three days' rest
Updated: Wednesday October 31, 2001 8:20 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Curt Schilling has been popping into Bob Brenly's office every day, reminding the Arizona manager that he'd be just fine to start Game 4 of the World Series on just three days' rest.
Now he'll get his wish.
"Curt Schilling starts tomorrow because he's the right guy to pitch tomorrow for a lot of different reasons, including his low pitch count," Brenly said after the Diamondbacks lost Game 3 to the New York Yankees Tuesday night.
"I said all along if we were up 3-0, Miguel Batista would pitch Game 4," Brenly said. "We had Miguel up a couple of times warming up."
When Schilling saw that, he knew he had won his argument.
"I feel good enough to take the ball," Schilling said. "I feel real good. I went to him today and told him I prepared the last two days as if I was pitching tomorrow. I wanted the ball.
"This is the World Series. The way I felt after the other day and the way I felt the last three days, I'm ready."
Schilling beat the Yankees in the Series opener, allowing just three hits in seven innings. He was lifted after throwing 102 pitches, a move Brenly felt gave Arizona the option to go right back to him in Game 4.
There is another advantage to this move. It means if the Series goes seven games, Schilling would be available for the last one. That, too, would be on three days' rest, new territory for him.
Brenly claimed he wasn't thinking that far ahead.
"Game 7 is a long ways away," he said. "Right now, we are concerned about Game 4. As I said before, because of his pitch count in his last outing and his insistence that he's ready to take the ball, I think he'll be fine."
Asked about his history pitching on short rest, Schilling said, "Don't have one. Never did it before in the big leagues."
Actually, he did, but it was in a special situation.
On July 18 at San Diego, he pitched two innings in a game that was suspended by an electrical problem. He came back on July 21 to pitch seven shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out 12 batters at San Francisco.
It became clear that Brenly was going with Schilling when he got Batista up in the bullpen Tuesday night. Brenly said Batista would now pitch Game 5 and Game 2 winner Randy Johnson would work Game 6 on his full four days of rest.
"The big question is whether you're better served pitching your horses four times on regular rest or five times, [two of them] on short rest," Brenly said. "The numbers say it is not a percentage play to bring them back on short rest, but these guys are not your run-of-the-mill everyday pitchers."
There is statistical data to support that approach. Since 1999, starting pitchers going on three days' rest instead of four are 1-9 in 15 starts with a 9.73 ERA. In six postseason starts this year, the record for pitchers on short rest is 1-5 with a 3.98 ERA.
"That's the great gamble," Brenly said. "The numbers will show over the past two or three years that it is not a good gamble and some very good pitchers -- some aces -- have failed coming back on short rest in the postseason."
And others have flourished. Milwaukee's Lew Burdette won three games in the 1957 World Series. Mickey Lolich did it for Detroit in 1968.
"That's the difference between today and 25 years ago," said ex-manager Kevin Kennedy. "They're not schooled in that."
The Yankees are not hedging. Manager Joe Torre will start Orlando Hernandez in Game 4. El Duque struggled through a number of injuries and was 4-7 in 16 starts with a 4.85 ERA this season. He has flourished in the postseason, though, with a career 9-2 record.
"He had a strange season because he was physically handicapped," Torre said. "He didn't pitch a whole lot and when he did pitch he wasn't entirely healthy."
Torre said Brenly's move to Schilling was expected.
"It doesn't surprise me," he said. "We'll be here."