Game 1 of the World Series is coming up on Wednesday evening, and it's likely to feature just the latest in a series of outstanding pitching matchups this month, with Tim Lincecum the odds-on favorite to represent the Giants, and Cliff Lee getting the nod to represent the Rangers.
But wait! What's this? Why, Cliff Lee hasn't thrown in a game since October 18, when he defeated the Yankees! To start on October 27, then, would mean that he's starting on eight days' rest, which is far more rest than that to which a starting pitcher is accustomed. Can the Giants entertain some hope that Lee will be rusty and off his game?
To answer that question, we turn to Cliff Lee's Baseball-Reference player page. And the short answer is that, no, they cannot. Lee this year on 6+ days of rest:
5 starts, 39 innings, 19 hits, 6 walks, 37 strikeouts, 1.15 ERA
Compare that 1.15 ERA to his 3.63 ERA on four or five days' rest and the only logical conclusion is that getting extended rest makes Cliff Lee more than three times as good as he already is. There's really no refuting it, and the Giants are probably screwed.
It's worth noting that Lee's final start of the 2009 season came on November 2, and his first start of 2010 came on April 30. In that start, on 178 days' rest, he allowed zero runs in seven innings. So if the Rangers want to improve the chances that Lee keeps the Giants scoreless even further, they might consider trading him to Seattle, injuring his abdomen, and getting him back really quick.