Brackman Likely To Start Game 5; Arbiso To The Bullpen

The big start will go to the big man.

Andrew Brackman was told to shut it down after Game 1, that he was done for the rest of the season.  The phone call he got today provided some different information.

“I was told to come up here and throw a bullpen, just in case they need me for Game 5,” said Brackman before the rainout.  “I’ll be ready if that happens.”

It would seem that’s the plan, as Thunder manager Tony Franklin said prior to the game being postponed that Brackman was “more in play now if the game were not to be played than he was yesterday.”  The other option, of course, would be Cory Arbiso, which Franklin said he was “totally fine with.”

The most likely scenario, however, is Arbiso heading to the bullpen.

“Cory’s been able to go just about everywhere for us this year,” Franklin said.

“If there was something that were to happen to Brackman in the game, if he pitches, I could see (Arbiso backing him up).”

For Brackman, it’s a difficult position to be in as well.  He’s preparing for what would be the biggest game of his pro career, but is hoping that it never gets that far.

“I want to be there for Game 5, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to be, but I hope my teammates can come through and we can all just win a championship,” he said.

The 6-foot-10 righty has been in bigger games than this before, he says.  Pitching for NC State in the ACC Tournament was one thing, but getting to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Basketball Tournament was something else…

“The Sweet 16 (against Wisconsin) was probably the biggest, I played in front of more people and everything,” he said.

“The game before that, we played UConn, and that was a really big game, too.  The UConn game, I did very good.  The Sweet 16 game, I think I fouled out with no points and probably one rebound, that’s all.”

As for guys who stick to one sport, Arbiso has not pitched since September 5, but says throwing on the side since then has helped him stay sharp.

“You work on stuff (in side sessions), and I think most likely, I’ll be ready.  (I can probably throw) 95-100 pitches,” he said.

Arbiso has been in limbo ever since the start of the playoffs, seemingly pushed out of the rotation by the two rehab starts made by Andy Pettitte.

“I didn’t know where I was going to be,” he said.

“Yesterday, I was in the bullpen.  He said if I don’t throw out of the bullpen, I have a side just to be ready for Game 5.”

Arbiso is in the middle of his longest gap between outings since a 13-day gap in the middle of the season when both he and Josh Schmidt couldn’t buy an inning.  One possible concern about a possible Game 5 appearance is that the last time he had such a layoff, he didn’t feel his best.

“Some days, you’re going to have 80 percent,” he said.

“But what I say to myself is to use 100 percent of that 80 percent, and you get it done.  That’s what I did.  That doesn’t concern me at all, that’s just the part of baseball.  It’s the mentality.  Yeah, it’s physical too, but you just have to be ready in that moment.  I think I am.”

Game 5, if necessary, would be played at Waterfront Park on Sunday.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

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