Pavano: 'All hands on deck in playoffs'

Former pitcher used as starter, reliever during 2003 World Series run

Pavano: 'All hands on deck in playoffs'

MIAMI -- Carl Pavano can certainly relate to what Jon Lester went through on Wednesday night in the Cubs' dramatic 8-7 victory in 10 innings over the Indians in Game 7 of the World Series.

When everything is on the line, anything goes for pitchers. Cubs manager Joe Maddon showed that by using Lester, a starter, for three innings of relief. From personal experience, Pavano embraced similar challenges for the Marlins during their 2003 World Series run.

A staple in the Marlins' rotation, Pavano made six relief appearances and two starts, compiling a 1.40 ERA during the 2003 postseason.

The strength of the '03 title team was its rotation, and manager Jack McKeon didn't hesitate using his starters on short rest or in relief.

"When you look back on it, it's a mentality," said Pavano, now a Fox Sports Florida analyst. "You know there could be no tomorrow. It's not like in the season, where you can have 15 starts, and you're like, 'I don't know if I can go on three days' rest.' It's a lot to ask over a long season, but in the playoffs, it's all hands on deck, and anything you can do."

In the '03 postseason, Pavano, Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett each started and came out of the bullpen at least once.

Beckett, of course, was the World Series MVP, shutting out the Yankees on three days' rest in Game 6. Had that series advanced to a seventh game, Pavano was scheduled to start.

"What the manager is asking of you, basically, is what your teammates are asking of you," Pavano said. "This mentality is just accepted. There's not even a second thought about it.

"For me, it brings you to another level. If you're a competitive person and you understand what's at stake, just that atmosphere brings you to another level. You're willing to do anything."

McKeon made it clear to his starters that they could be called upon at any time, and that raised the excitement level for Pavano.

"Every time you came to the park, you felt like you were going to be counted on. That was kind of cool," Pavano said. "It created a culture where guys wanted the ball. Guys wanted to make a difference because so many guys were doing it."

The increased workload created a potential injury risk, but Pavano said no one gave that a second thought.

"Could some of these things, if you're used too much, ruin your career? Maybe, but I don't even think the guys care," Pavano said. "If there is a time to do something that can possibly hinder, it's the playoffs. Not reckless abandon, but you've got to throw yourself out there."

In Game 7 on Wednesday night, the Cubs and Indians used a starter in relief. Lester entered with one on and two outs in the fifth inning, and in the 10th, the Indians turned to Trevor Bauer, who recorded two outs.

"It's the playoffs," Pavano said. "It's tough to get there. It's tough to stay there. It's tough to win. Every out is a battle. You've got to get so invested in it, that it really doesn't even matter your role. You do what you can. To the teams that are in it together, it's not even a second thought."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.