So yesterday I mentioned that Davey had pitched guys on short rest in the playoffs several times. Upon further review he did it a lot actually, out of the nine postseason series he's managed so far, he's gone to the short rest start in 7 of them and in one of the other 2 he didn't have a chance. On the flip side you can argue that he didn't have much of a choice in a couple of those that he did go short. Let's take a look at each series and see what you think,
1986 NLCS - No short rest starts
The 1986 Mets had a pretty good pitching staff. Gooden, Darling, and Ojeda were all excellent. The 4th starter, Sid Fernandez was above average, but was a significant drop-off from the Top 3. In the NLCS with a 2-1 lead in games, Fernandez pitched game 4 (Mets lost 3-1 to Mike Scott) allowing everyone else to pitch on regular rest.
1986 World Series - 3 short rest starts
In the series though the Mets skipped Fernandez and pitched Darling, Gooden, and Ojeda on short rest. (Darling would pitch 3 times but a rain-out allowed his 3rd game to be on normal rest). Age didn't matter to Davey. Darling was only 25 at the time and Gooden was 21. The Mets were down 1-2 and 2-3 when using Darling and Ojeda, so the need to win may have been a driving factor.
1988 NLCS - 1 short rest start
The 1988 had another great staff. Cone was the only one with a truly excellent season, but there were no weak links from 1-5. In this one Darling, the Mets worst pitcher that year (but still ok) ended up pitching game 7 on short rest. It's hard to blame Davey for this though. For one he DID use a four man rotation, it's just that the NLCS lacked a day-off for travel between game 5 in NY and game 6 in LA. Also Bob Ojeda had a fingertip severed at a bar in a playoff clinch celebration and missed the playoffs. He might have gone 5 deep if Ojeda was available.
1995 NLDS - No short rest starts
The Reds won the series 3-0 so there was no opportunity for one.
1995 NLCS - 1 short rest start
Pete Schourek was surprisingly a very good starter for the Reds for this (and only this) year. With the Reds down 3 games to none the 26 year old got the short rest call in game 4. The Reds did have a decent 4th starter in Mark Portugal but thanks to the 3-0 win in the NLDS and the scheduling of the NLCS you're talking over a week between starts if he goes out there. Is that better than a 3 day rest?
1996 ALDS - 1 short rest start
This is probably the most confusing of the short rest starts. The 1996 Orioles had an odd pitching year, basically getting Mussina & Wells worst years in the time frame, and Erickson before he had his decent stretch. The 4th starter Coppinger wasn't any good, but no one was this year. Also when Davey went to Wells to pitch on short rest the O's were up 2 games to 1 and the rest of the games were slated to be played in Baltimore. I guess you could say he had no faith in Coppinger.
1996 ALCS - 1 short rest start
There were no off days between Game 2 in NY and Game 3 in BAL so Davey had to use a 4 man rotation (going with Coppinger in game 4) and was forced to use Erickson on short rest in game 5. The other choice would be to use 2nd year pitcher Rick Krivda in the game when you are down 3 games to 1 in the series. I don't think that's much of a choice.
1997 ALDS - 1 short rest start
Did I say the 1996 ALDS was the most confusing? Take everything about 1996 but replace 4 pitchers having bad years with four having good ones. The 1997 Orioles had 4 good starters in Mussina, Erickson, Key and Kamieniecki. But in the ALDS up 2 games to 1 and in no danger of going back to Seattle, Davey pitched Mussina on short rest instead of Kamieniecki. Mussina was much better, don't get me wrong, but Scott was still good.
1997 ALCS - 2+ short rest starts
Both Scott Erickson and Mussina started on short rest (with the O's down 1 games to 2 and 2 games to 3 respectively), but Davey made up his mind that this was a 3 man rotation early. In game 2 Jimmy Key pitched ok and then Davey brought in... Scott Kamienieki to pitch middle relief. That essentially killed any chance at a 4 man rotation since the O's never found a 5th starter worth a damn. Just looking at the stats for the year it was a real curious.
In the end, while his hand was forced a couple time Davey seems to have no problem with the short rest starts, regardless of age or even it seems some people's logic, prefering a great pitcher on 3 days rest over a good one on normal time down. The only time he chose to go to a 4 man rotation where everyone got a full rest was his very first playoff series. After that he only went to the 4 man rotation when he had to prevent a pitcher from pitching on TWO days rest.
Like I said yesterday, I'd expect Gio to start on short rest this playoffs, if the opportunity arises, but we'll see. This is the best 4 man rotation he would have had in any playoffs.