Scioscia also said that Washburn will be quarantined from the rest of the players, both at the park and on the team charter, whether they fly back to Anaheim for Game 5 against the Yankees on Monday night or to Chicago for Game 1 of the AL Championship Series against the White Sox on Tuesday. Washburn may also stay back in New York for a couple of days if he doesn't improve by the time the team is ready to leave after Sunday's game against the Yankees.
Lackey pitched on short rest for the fourth time in his career and second time in the postseason. Lackey started Game 7 of the 2002 World Series on short rest and allowed one run on four hits over five innings to become the youngest rookie pitcher to win the seventh game of the World Series since Babe Adams did so for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1909.
"I think on three days' rest he's shown that he can do it and he's arguably our best pitcher right now, our best starter," Scioscia said. "We're confident giving him the ball. He's strong, he feels good, and mentally he's ready."
Lackey last pitched on short rest in Texas on Sept. 30 when he held the Rangers scoreless over five innings to pick up the win. He drew a no-decision in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Yankees by allowing two runs over 5 2/3 innings in the 5-3 Angels win.
"The times we've had him on three days' rest his stuff is still crisp and his command is still good," Scioscia said.
Lackey is 2-1 with a 3.77 ERA in his career on short rest.
Washburn was slated as the starter for Game 4 on Saturday, but that game was washed out by rain and rescheduled for Sunday. The left-hander had been bothered by tendinitis in his left forearm for most of the second half of the season, but made his last start, two scoreless innings in Texas, with no pain.
Posting an 8-8 record with a 3.20 ERA in 29 starts this season, Washburn is 1-3 with a 5.53 ERA in seven career postseason appearances, six of which were starts.
Saving an ace: Bartolo Colon would have pitched Sunday had it been Game 5, but when rain altered the schedule and washed out Saturday's game, the Angels decided to hold Colon out and give him the extra day instead of moving him up in the rotation for Game 4. Colon has nursed a sore lower back since Aug. 30.
"Bart needs the time; nothing has changed from where Bart is," Scioscia said. "He'll be fresher and rested for Game 5 if we go that route. He's much better off in the slot we have him right now. Even though it's normal rest, the extra day could be important for Bart."
If the Angels clinch Sunday, Colon will be ready to start Game 1 of the ALCS in Chicago.
Reinforcements: The bullpen got some unexpected rest with Saturday's rainout, putting the relievers at full strength for Sunday. Starting Lackey, instead of rookie right-hander Ervin Santana, also helped maintain the integrity of the relief corps while right-hander and Game 3 starter Paul Byrd was sent to the 'pen Sunday.
"The arms we want to get in there, if we have a lead, are ready to go," Scioscia said. "If we had started Ervin and John was out of the picture, if we get to a 4-4 game in the third or fourth inning, we weren't going to be able to shorten the game the way we wanted to. But I think with Ervin and his depth, hopefully John can go out and pitch well and get us to that point."
Good to go: Bengie Molina was in the lineup as expected Sunday, despite suffering a bruised left elbow when he was hit by a pitch from Yankees reliever Tom Gordon in the seventh inning of Game 3 on Friday.
X-rays were negative and the elbow was stiff Saturday, but Molina and the Angels caught a break when the game was called because of rain.
"The extra day has helped some of the discomfort there," Scioscia said. "He had full range of motion yesterday and today is even better as far as the little discomfort he had."
Moving up: With Garret Anderson swinging the bat better in Game 3, Scioscia slotted the left fielder back into his customary cleanup slot in the batting order for Game 4, with Vladimir Guerrero hitting third. Molina moved to fifth with Darin Erstad sixth.
"Logically, this is out best lineup because of the on-base percentage that Vlad brings," Scioscia said. "But obviously you have to have someone behind him who swings the bat and make people think twice about walking Vlad."
The Yankees have pitched Guerrero carefully in the series but haven't exactly pitched around him and the Angels are hoping to avoid losing his at-bats to intentional walks.