Rainout may clear way for Lackey
Ace could go on three days' rest in potential Game 7
NEW YORK -- After taking considerable heat for removing John Lackey after 6 2/3 innings in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, Angels manager Mike Scioscia can now consider bringing his ace back on Monday on three days' rest for Game 7, now that the series has been pushed back a day because of Saturday's rainout.
"I think [the rainout] benefits both teams, certainly for resetting bullpens and some things," Scioscia said. "It's going to give us more options to look at, absolutely. We'll hopefully still have our whole staff out there for tomorrow. John Lackey is not -- he's still in play tomorrow. We'll get through Game 6. There's no sense talking about a Game 7."We'll have some more options and we'll obviously know better after [Game 6]." Lackey, as a rookie in 2002, pitched Game 7 of the World Series on three days' rest and picked up the victory, going five innings (86 pitches} and yielding one earned run.
Given his gung-ho attitude, Lackey would start on one day of rest if Scioscia asked.
The Texan's regular-season experience on three days' rest is limited, but not overly impressive. He has done it twice, going 1-1 while lasting a total of 9 2/3 innings with a 4.82 ERA, giving up 10 hits and six walks while striking out 11 men.
Jered Weaver, the team's most consistent starter all season, was likely to start Game 7 had it occurred on Sunday. He's still an option, but could also be used in relief of lefty Joe Saunders in Game 6, which begins at 5:20 p.m. PT on Sunday.
Weaver, who yielded three runs in five innings in Game 3 while throwing 95 pitches, pitched one perfect inning of relief in Thursday night's 7-6 victory at Angel Stadium.
Scott Kazmir, who has a history of success against the Yankees from his Tampa Bay days, would be operating on five days' rest in a Game 7 on Monday.
Kazmir did not fare well in Game 4 at Angel Stadium -- four innings, six hits and four walks, four earned runs -- but he was not helped by several critical borderline balls and strikes calls that did not go his way, notably against Alex Rodriguez.
Kazmir is 6-5 with a 2.67 ERA in his career against the Yankees. Prominent Yankees have struggled against the lefty in the regular season: A-Rod (3-for-24, .125), Derek Jeter (4-for-36, .125), Johnny Damon (6-for-36, .167), Hideki Matsui (5-for-28, .179), Robinson Cano (4-for-26, .154).
Only Jorge Posada (11-for-25, .440) and Melky Cabrera (8-for-20, .400) have hurt Kazmir.
Scioscia could open with Weaver, Lackey or Kazmir, with the non-starters, along with Ervin Santana, ready to heat up quickly at the first sign of duress.
Clearly, Scioscia has a wide range of options to consider.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.