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Brewers go with Gallardo in Game 1

Sabathia to follow on short rest again

By Colin Fly
Associated Press / September 30, 2008
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MILWAUKEE - Yovani Gallardo will start Game 1 tomorrow for the Milwaukee Brewers in their National League Division Series against Philadelphia, followed by ace CC Sabathia for Game 2.

"I don't know how to explain it. I'm very excited, just ready to go," Gallardo said yesterday. "I'm just going to give my team the opportunity to win."

Gallardo returned from a torn knee ligament and pitched four innings last Thursday against Pittsburgh in his first start since May 1. The 22-year-old righthander allowed one run and three hits while throwing 67 pitches.

"That was huge, everything worked for the best and he threw the heck out of the ball," interim manager Dale Sveum said. "Everything went fine, he recovered and he's ready to go."

Sveum said Gallardo doesn't act like a young pitcher, one of the reasons he's confident in giving him the ball.

"I think that's the important thing, you've got to take it as another regular baseball game and not try to do anything extra," said Gallardo, who does not expect to be on a pitch count. "You just take it as another extra game and go from there."

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, preparing for his team's first postseason appearance since 1982, said a final decision on the postseason roster won't be made until after today's workout in Philadelphia.

"You want to make sure someone doesn't get hit by a line drive or get hurt or come up sick, those kind of things can happen," Melvin said.

Milwaukee will have to replace reliever David Riske (elbow surgery) and outfielder Gabe Kapler (shoulder), but Sveum wouldn't rule out Ben Sheets (sore elbow). Sheets, who started the All-Star Game and is the longest-tenured Brewers player, said after his last start he thought he was done for the year.

"That's one thing we're probably waiting on," said Sveum, who wanted to wait one more day before deciding on Sheets. "There's always a chance. He's breathing."

Sveum said he hadn't decided on Game 3 or Game 4 starters, but it is likely between veteran Jeff Suppan (10-10, 4.96 ERA) and Dave Bush (9-10, 4.18), who pitched well down the stretch.

"We've got a smorgasbord pitching staff," Melvin said. "Guys have all stepped up, some in different roles."

Gallardo had a 1.88 ERA and no record in four starts this season after going 9-5 with a 3.67 ERA in 2007. He had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee just before spring training, then hurt his right knee while trying to hurdle a baserunner against the Cubs May 1.

Sabathia has been dominant since being traded from the Indians July 7. The reigning AL Cy Young winner is 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts, including seven complete games.

But he's pitched 253 innings this season and will be making his fourth straight start on three days' rest even though he had no doubt he'd be ready for Game 2. In his past three starts, he's thrown 335 pitches.

Milwaukee is 14-3 when Sabathia pitches.

"This is big because the city's been starving for this. Everybody's excited," Sabathia said. "This is unbelievable."

Cole Hamels (14-10) will start the opener for the Phillies. The 24-year-old lefthander went 7-7 with a 2.99 ERA in 17 starts at Citizens Bank Park this season. Brett Myers (10-13) and Jamie Moyer (16-7) follow in the rotation.

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