By showing confidence in veteran big-game pitcher Andy Pettitte, the Yankees preserved ace CC Sabathia to pitch in Game 1 of the World Series against the Phillies on Wednesday night in New York.
Pettitte, 37, allowed just a run while striking out six and walking just one batter over 6 1/3 innings to earn his record 16th postgame victory and lift the Yankees to their 40th American League pennant. Pettitte is 16-9 with a 3.83 ERA over 38 postseason starts since 1995.
"He does this all the time," Derek Jeter told the told the New York Daily News. "He doesn't have the most wins in postseason history for nothing."
Sabathia has been outstanding this postseason and against the Angels in the ALCS, going 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two starts -- good enough, in fact, to be named American League Championship Series MVP. Pettitte, however, was never concerned about having his start skipped.
"I never thought that they would skip me," Pettitte said. "I would hope they have a lot of confidence in me and hope that they think I can get this game, and we can win this game with me on the mound."
Lidge not worried about layoff: Brad Lidge isn't concerned about the week-long layoff between winning the National League Championship Series and beginning the World Series.
"It's not hard to keep yourself motivated and hungry right now," Lidge told MLB.com. "Everyone is so excited. There's a lot of adrenaline right now and a lot of anticipation, so guys are getting to the field a little earlier and staying a little later. Everyone is different, but there are certain things that work for each guy [to stay sharp]. I know for me I need to make sure I'm playing catch a lot, having a hitter step in there, throwing a bullpen here and there, just keeping myself in the same rhythm that I'm in. But everyone is a little different."
Park finally sees World Series stage: After 16 years as a Major League pitcher, Chan Ho Park is finally getting his shot at a championship with the Phillies. Park, the first Korean-born player to play in the Majors, could not be more excited.
"You know the word L-O-V-E, love?" Park told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I feel that for the people back home in Korea, who have always supported me, and for the fans in Philadelphia, who have treated me so well. I am so happy that I did not give up two years ago, that now I have a chance to be a champion."
Park was in the National League Division Series with the Padres in '06 and reached the NLCS in '08 with the Dodgers.
Utley glad to bring World Series experience: Chase Utley thinks playing the 2008 World Series was great preparation for playing in this year's Fall Classic.
"Just the experience that we had last year, playing in October, playing for a championship, knowing that you're facing the best pitchers every single night, playing defense in cold weather," Utley told MLB.com. "Just having all those experiences kind of helps slow the game down. I've talked about this before, but this game can be very quick at times. But the guys that are able to slow it down even when things are happening fast -- those are the guys that are successful."
Martinez can count on another chance: Pedro Martinez will be in the mix for Phillies manager Charlie Manuel
"We're going to use Pedro," Manuel told MLB.com. "I look at Pedro as a starter. He's been in the big moment, and I think from his performance the other day at Dodger Stadium, he deserves another chance to go back out there."
Sabathia's calm demeanor paying off: CC Sabathia is so calm he usually sleeps all day and sometimes plays video games in the clubhouse before a start.
"He is super-relaxed," Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland told the New York Daily News. "I spend a lot of time with him in his pre-game preparation, stretching, throwing in the outfield, and we're constantly having a conversation, and usually it's not about baseball -- just anything: his family, my family, football.
"But then when he gets on the mound in the bullpen to warm up, he locks in, instantly. We can talk about his beloved Oakland Raiders one second and then Torii Hunter the next. It's amazing how relaxed he is, and then a split-second later totally focused on the job. Every day, it's the same."
Mr. October praises Yankees veterans: Yankees senior advisor Reggie Jackson, often outspoken as a player and an executive, admires the low-key approach of veteran Yankees Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.
"The four of them all exemplify what the best Yankees are supposed to be -- classy, tough, gentlemen, winners, team-first," Jackson told the Washington Post. "If things don't go well, you sit down and be quiet."
Angels also wanted Sabathia: It's "what if" time for the Angels with respect to their pursuit of CC Sabathia when he was a free agent last offseason. The veteran left-hander signed with the Yankees instead and was the MVP of the ALCS.
"There would definitely have been a difference," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter told the Los Angeles Times. "He's one of the best lefties -- if not the best -- and you get to start him three times in seven games. That would have been pretty impressive.
"If you face him three times in a seven-game series, you're in for it."
Guerrero hopes to remain in Anaheim: Vladimir Guerrero, who will become a free agent, had three hits and finished the ALCS with a .370 average, a homer and five RBIs. The 14-year veteran has played for the Expos and, during the last six seasons, with the Angels.
"I'm not thinking so much about the uncertainty, but I'm thinking about my mom and how comfortable she feels in Anaheim," Guerrero told the Los Angeles Times. "That's always one thing that I'm going to think about regarding free agency.
"It would be very gratifying to continue to play with the guys I've known here and have gotten used to."
Ethier already planning to get back: A second straight NLCS loss to the Phillies wasn't sitting well with Andre Ethier.
"It's more disappointing this year than last year," Ethier told the Los Angeles Daily News. "We felt like we were more prepared, but it seems to be the same outcome.
"It's annoying, frustrating. We have a long winter ahead to try to do this again and get back to this point. ... I was standing out there the last few innings just thinking how I can't believe this happened again."
Nathan has bone chips removed from elbow: Joe Nathan had bone chips removed from his elbow last week in what was described as "cleanup surgery," and it will be a full 12 weeks before the All-Star closer is able to pitch off of a mound.
"It's a case where I knew that [my elbow] was not 100 percent, but it wasn't really a problem until we really got in there and really took a look at it and got a chance to see that these bone chips can do some real damage if they aren't taken care of," Nathan told MLB.com.
Ohlendorf lands internship with government: Ross Ohlendorf is spending the offseason in an eight-week internship with the Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.
The Princeton-educated pitcher plans to do research in conjunction with the National Animal Identification System. The NAIS is a national disease response network built to protect against the devastation of a foreign animal disease outbreak.
"I think, for Ross, it's probably the way he's going to relax," Pirates manager John Russell told MLB.com. "It's what he enjoys doing. I think different guys have different ways on how they like to relax. We just have to make sure that he doesn't try to run the country or something."
Ohlendorf says doing this internship is something that very much interests him.
"I thought it was going to be a very good opportunity," he said. "It worked out well. I have an interest in it."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.