As we get closer to game time, the Great Paul Byrd Debate of '07 continues. Eric Wedge is sticking to his plan, and I'm eagerly awaiting Paul O'Neill's flabbergasted reaction on the YES pregame show.
Several commenters in the last post made a pretty convincing case for holding back Sabathia, though, based on his high pitch count Friday and lack of experience on three days' rest, and I guess can see the argument there. Plus, it's true that having Carmona potentially ready to go behind Sabathia in a Game 5, should the Yankees get that far, is a fairly terrifying prospect for New York fans.
But I've also heard a lot of people elsewhere argue that Byrd's a really good pitcher, and back it up by pointing out his 15 wins. The thing is, wins taken out of context just don't tell you very much. You know who won 15 games last season? Randy Johnson and the Mets' Steve Trachsel, whose 2006 season will, for me, always stand as a monument to the meaningless of that particular stat.
Of course, that doesn't mean Byrd won't win tonight; this is one unpredictable Yankee team. They might get shut out or score 10 runs in two innings and it wouldn't be all that shocking either way. After all, would you expect them to lose a game where Andy Pettitte goes into the seventh without allowing a run, or win one where Roger Clemens is out in the third? Maybe the Yankees should've started Kyle Farnsworth, just to stick with the unexpected.
[UPDATE 5:47: Good lord, Eric Wedge really needs to shave. He seems like an intelligent guy and I'm sure it's intended to be lucky, which I respect, but it's tough to take his press conference answers seriously when they look like they're coming from a drifter with a substance abuse problem. Somebody should talk to him about this.]