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ALDS Roundup

A full recap is coming later today, but first a rundown of the media reaction to last night's series clincher:


Wedge never wavers, wins. Terry Pluto, PD.

Eric Wedge's managerial philosophy of stability (also known as complacency depending on the outcome) made the decision to pitch Paul Byrd in Game 4 a relatively easy one:

Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis said they never gave any consideration to Sabathia starting Game 4 in New York on three days' rest rather than a starting pitcher's usual routine of four days between outings. Sabathia threw 114 pitches in five draining innings when the Tribe beat the Yankees in the opener last Thursday. Conventional thinking is to hold a pitcher under 110 pitches. Next, Sabathia has pitched only once in his career with three days' rest. That was on Oct. 7, 2001, when he threw five scoreless innings at Toronto. But in his previous start, he threw only 59 pitches -- also in five innings.

In baseball, the unknown is something to be explored only in dire circumstances. The Indians had a 2-1 advantage, and while there was no guarantee that a fully-rested CC Sabathia pitches the Indians to victory in Game 5, a fully-rested Paul Byrd gave the Indians the best chance to win Game 4. Sabathia might have matched Byrd's 5+ innings on short rest, but the history of pitchers on short rest isn't pretty:

Willis said the track record for pitchers on three days' rest is poor. In Game 4 of the Division Series, it has been done 18 times since 1995, the latest being the Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang's being belted for four runs in one inning Monday night. In these 18 games, the starters' records are 5-8 with a 6.52 ERA. In the postseason overall, it's 29-52 for teams using a starter on three days' rest since 1995.

Indians reach ALCS with Game 4 victory over New York. Paul Hoynes, PD.

And what of Paul Byrd? How did he feel about the starter controversy?

When Paul Byrd went to the interview room Sunday night after the Yankees beat the Indians in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, reporters asked him two questions.

"No. 1, they asked me if C.C. Sabathia should start Game 4 instead of me," Byrd said. "No. 2, they asked me if C.C. did start instead of me, how would I feel. That was it. I walked out of there feeling like a loser. I think I'm a pretty heavy underdog."

Perhaps the media controversy was motivation for Byrd, who was aggresive against a lineup that hammered him the last time he faced them. Or maybe it was the chants from the New York faithful while warming up:

In the bullpen, a chant that began with "Byrd" and ended with an expletive got Byrd going.

"I told them all to calm down," the right-hander said. "What an amazing place to play."

New York

Season Over: Yankees Out, and Torre... Tyler Kepner, New York Times.

The major story over the last two games of the series was George Steinbrenner's ultimatum to Torre: either beat the Indians, or you're out. While George has always been one to change his mind, Joe Torre was certainly taking the threat seriously:

In his postgame news conference, Torre choked up when talking about how badly his players wanted to win. He does not have a contract for next season, and he spoke with a sense of finality.

"This ball club, they have a great future," Torre said, adding later: "This has been a great 12 years. Whatever the hell happens from here on out, I'll look back on these 12 years with great, great pleasure."

Even with Torre's success with the Yankees, I couldn't imagine a more difficult managerial job. In most other organizations, Torre's job would be as safe as the gold in Fort Knox. If George follows through with his threat, and Torre wants to keep managing, there will be a job for him.

It's not just Torre that might not be back with Yankees. Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera are both free agents, and Alex Rodriguez can opt out of his contract. Given the support that Torre has from his players, a new manager might make it easier to leave the Big Apple:

Rivera said he did not know why Steinbrenner would even think of firing Torre, and he said he would have to think about whether he would want to play for another manager.

Of his contract status, Rivera said: "They had an opportunity and they did nothing with me, so we'll see what happens. This is a business, and I'm going to treat it like a business."

Derek's Flat Fall. Mike Puma, New York Post.

In an amusing twist, the Yankee captain was the one being called out in wake of the Yankees' defeat:

Jeter disappeared for the AL Division Series, just part of the reason the Yankees are headed toward a seventh straight offseason that will not include a tickertape parade.

The Yankees captain had two singles in last night's 6-4 loss to the Indians in Game 4 of the ALDS, but finished the series 3-for-17 (.176) with no homers and one RBI.

Jeter grounded into three double plays in the series, including a key twin killing in the sixth inning.