© 2007 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
10/18/07 8:45 PM ET
Notes: Making most of schedule
Using off-days to advantage, Wedge keeps relievers active
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- You won't find Eric Wedge complaining about the extra off-days in the American League Championship Series schedule this year. After all, they helped Wedge's Indians get within a victory of clinching the pennant. With an off-day between Games 2 and 3 and between Games 4 and 5, Wedge has been able to manipulate his bullpen to his own advantage. The greatest example of this comes with his use of Rafael Betancourt in Game 2. Betancourt worked 2 1/3 innings and threw 42 pitches that night. It was the first time all season he had worked into a third inning. Thanks to Sunday's off-day, Betancourt was nonetheless available for Monday's Game 3, in which he pitched a perfect inning. And with Wednesday's off-day looming, Wedge had no problem going to Betancourt again for two perfect innings in Game 4 on Tuesday. If Wedge had the time, he'd probably fill out a thank you card for the schedule makers. All is apparently forgiven after the mess of those April snow-outs and the loss of in-season off-days that came with it. "It does have an impact on your bullpen, knowing that you're going to have an off-day," Wedge said. "You can tend to be a little more aggressive. Because you do know the schedule ahead of time, in regard to the off-days you're going to have, you can plan it out ahead of time. It's always going to change, but at least you have a starting point." The LCS schedule always has an off-day between Games 2 and 3. But the extra one added this year, between Games 4 and 5, has some crying foul. Not Wedge. Forget all that talk of "carrying momentum" from Game 4 to Game 5. He was happy with the extra rest afforded his players on Wednesday. "I've been fine with all the off-days," Wedge said. "I think our team has benefited from it. I think, as our guys gain more experience, they do a better job handling off-days and what they have to do mentally and physically to give themselves a break." No average Joe: The Indians found themselves on the verge of a potential World Series berth on Thursday, but the talk around baseball centered on Joe Torre's decision to turn down a one-year contract offer from the Yankees. That ends Torre's 12-year tenure at the helm of the storied franchise. Wedge was particularly vocal on his feelings about Torre during the AL Division Series, when rumors of his potential dismissal first surfaced, and that didn't change on Thursday. "I've got all the respect in the world for him as a person, player and manager," Wedge said. "I believe a person who's accomplished all he's accomplished should manage as long as he wants to. He's one of the greatest managers of all time. What's as important as anything is he treats people the way they ought to be treated. But [Torre's situation] is what it is." Booster on the bench: It seems like ages ago that David Dellucci was the Tribe's regular left fielder. Signed to a three-year contract last winter, Dellucci was expected to be a key contributor to the middle of the Indians' order.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.