Facing elimination, the Yankees give the ball to CC Sabathia for Game 5 of the ALCS against the Rangers today at 4:07 p.m.
As if the pressure of keeping the Yankees from being eliminated on their home turf isn't enough, Sabathia also must salvage, to whatever degree he can, his manager's controversial decision to use A.J. Burnett in Game 4.
By starting Burnett in last night's 10-3 loss, Girardi risked falling into a 3-1 hole so his top three starters -- Sabathia, Hughes and Pettitte -- could pitch the rest of the series on full rest. Burnett lost, and if Sabathia throws a stinker tonight, Girardi's decision is a total disaster.
Sabathia gave up five runs in four innings in Game 1, but was bailed out when the Yankees came back to win their only game of the series. Sabathia has had a poor postseason, giving up eight earned runs in 10 innings for a 7.20 ERA.
But he's back in Yankee Stadium, where he was 11-2 with a 3.00 ERA. He is 8-3 with a 2.67 ERA in day games (this one starts just after 4 p.m.). The Yankees are 21-5 in his last 26 starts.
Texas sends C.J. Wilson to the mound. Wilson was solid in Game 1 in Texas, allowing only one run in the first seven innings. He's made only one career start at Yankee Stadium: a six-inning, three-earned run performance waaaay back on April 16.
Who can predict baseball, as John Sterling seems to say every other inning, but Sabathia should give the Yankees a good shot at sending the series back to Texas.