The conventional wisdom of baseball says win the game being played today and worry about tomorrow's game tomorrow. According to this morning's St. Petersburg Times, Rays manager Joe Maddon is going against this strategy. The newspaper reports that Maddon is planning to use his bullpen to finish the suspended game 5 and save starting pitchers James Shields and Matt Garza to pitch games 6 and 7. Maddon is quoted in the article as saying "we have to win this game [suspended game 5] to get to Garza." By choosing to use his bullpen, Maddon is setting his team up to have their season end Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
The Tampa Bay bullpen has been less than stellar in the World Series. Grant Balfour, Chad Bradford, Edwin Jackson, Trever Miller, David Price, Dan Wheeler, and J.P. Howell have combined to pitch 14.2 innings. They have allowed 12 hits, 5 homeruns, walked 8 batters, and allowed 8 runs. In the only game of the Series the Rays have won, starting pitcher James Shields pitched 5+ innings of shut out baseball. In an elimination game, Maddon should use the best pitcher he has available. That pitcher is staff ace James Shields. If Maddon goes through with his plan to use his bullpen the next game Shields or Matt Garza will pitch will in the opening series of the 2009 season.