But some careful discussion among those involved -- as well as a quick peek at the numbers -- suggested that Gibson should go first, and Molitor quickly made the switch.
"Mike thought he'd be better off, after preparing like he was going to pitch [Friday], to take the day to get ready for a night game as opposed to coming back early this morning," Molitor said.
Molitor said he and his staff also looked at splits to make a decision. Pelfrey has an ERA nearly a half-run lower in night games this year, while Gibson has pitched better during the day.
In the end, however, it came down to the comfort level of Pelfrey, who hasn't made an appearance since Sept. 9, when he allowed one run on five hits and a walk in 5 1/3 innings against the Kansas City Royals.
"I wanted to give Mike a chance to pitch the first game if he felt that was the best thing for him," Molitor said. "He's waited long enough to pitch. I didn't want to push him back, but he thought it was a better scenario for himself."
Dan Myers is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.