Putting C.C. Sabathia in the bullpen for Game 5 -- on two days' rest after he threw 106 pitches in Game 3 -- is why the Yankees are the Yankees.
Talent is disposable to that franchise. If Sabathia blows out his arm, the Yankees can -- and will -- go get another $15 million pitcher. Assuming Sabathia returns next season and grows ineffective as the 2012 schedule progresses, the Yankees can (and will) acquire someone else's ace starter at the trade deadline.
Yankees fans will note that Sabathia is set to throw a side session on Thursday anyway, so what's the difference between that and an inning or two of relief? Answer: There's a major difference in the stress on a pitcher's arm from 20 pitches on the side to 20 pitches in a postseason game.
A major difference.
The Tigers know it, which is why Game 3 starter Justin Verlander isn't under consideration to come out of the bullpen on Thursday. Another difference between the Yankees and Tigers is that New York has a $203 million payroll ... while Detroit's is $106 million. The Tigers have money, but they don't have Yankee money.
So they don't have the Yankees' cavalier attitude toward an ace's arm.