Game 6 plans for Pettitte clear; weather isn't
Girardi will not turn to Sabathia if Saturday's game is postponed
NEW YORK -- Game 6 of the American League Championship Series is scheduled to start at 7:57 p.m. ET on Saturday, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after a blustery workout back home on Friday that Andy Pettitte will be his starting pitcher whether that game is played or whether forecasted thunderstorms force a postponement to the following night.
As of Friday night, Weather.com's forecast called for 80 percent chance of rain/thunder from 7-9 p.m. on Saturday, increasing to 90 percent from 10 p.m. through midnight. Expect periods of rain throughout the day in the Bronx, with temperatures in the mid-60s -- warmer than it was here last weekend.
"We plan on Andy starting our next game for us," Girardi said. "I've heard reports that we're going to get tomorrow's game in. And I've heard other reports. It seems like we were just doing this about five or six days ago. So we're planning on playing tomorrow, and Andy is pitching."
Girardi said there has been no discussion about switching Pettitte and CC Sabathia, who probably would start if a Game 7 is necessitated. The Yankees left unopened champagne on ice in Anaheim and will have it in the clubhouse again as they lead the series, 3-2.
Games 1 and 2 were played in frosty conditions requiring earflap caps and the Ninja Cano look. But rain held off -- until the bitter end, when the extra innings were played in between raindrops. Sabathia started Games 1 and 4.
"The last two games we played here were supposed to be canceled, and they were saying how we would be playing them three days later, and we didn't get a drop of rain," Pettitte said in the Yankees' clubhouse before throwing on a sweatshirt for batting practice. "I saw that it was supposed to rain, my wife called me, but there was 100 percent chance the last two times, so ...
"I started a game here [against Baltimore in September], one of my starts, and it was coming down sideways. I couldn't even see home plate. So I figure we're going to play it."
Then Pettitte, who made a quality start in the Game 3 loss at Anaheim, added somewhat facetiously: "It's rained every start this year that I've pitched in. The guys are kind of making fun of me about it now."
So far, there has been one postponement this postseason, the Game 3 pushback of the Phillies-Rockies National League Division Series due to snow in Denver. If this game is played and the Angels win, then a seventh and deciding game would be Sunday night at Yankee Stadium. If this game is played and the Yankees win, then the Bronx Bombers stay put and will play host to the Phillies on Wednesday in Game 1 of the 105th World Series.
If Game 6 is postponed, then fans who have tickets for that game would be able to use them at the rescheduled Game 6 on Sunday. The Yankees invite their fans to stay abreast of any weather updates by going to Yankees.com/weather and following @YankeesWeather on Twitter.
"We want to close this thing out," Pettitte said. "We know [the Angels] are a good team, and it's going to be a battle.
"I don't think anybody really feels like were pinned up against the wall. We're back here, we love playing here, everything is extremely comfortable and confident with where this club is. I can't say it enough how that's a very good team. This was not going to be an easy series. I was saying all along it was going to be a battle, and that's what we've got on our hands. They could have just folded up when we scored those six runs yesterday. But they battled back. That's a sign of a good team, and the sign of a team that we knew we were gonna have to play and beat.
"We still have a lot of work left to do. Everything feels extremely confident about this club and what we've done all year. So we're just going to go out there and try to get where we want to be, which is the World Series. ... I'll be prepared to hopefully give us a great start tomorrow and a chance to win the ballgame."
Derek Jeter said of Pettitte: "We've got as much confidence in Andy as in anyone here. He's been outstanding for us this whole year, he's been big in situations his whole career, he's pitched in big games like this before, so he's not going to be surprised by anything that goes on there."
Yankees catcher Jorge Posada said he isn't sure about the weather, but he is sure what the Bombers will get out of their battle-tested veteran starter.
"I think Andy's here for a reason [in Game 6]," Posada said. "He loves playing in the postseason and you know Andy's been so good for us throughout the years, a big-game pitcher, and I know he's going to be ready for the game tomorrow."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.