Wednesday, October 13, 2004

First-guessing the NLCS

Here's a quick take on Phil Garner's pitching staff mishandling in the NLDS -- this is where the [pick flightless avian] should come home to roost: games 1 and 2 of the NLCS, using Brandon Backe and Pete Munro against the Cards. I say SHOULD because baseball is the sport where anything DOES happen -- the 2003 Tigers pulled off a win against both the Yanks and Blosax last year and that team was putrid. Worse yet for the 'Stros: the realization that the only way the Astros can get 4 starts out of Clemens/Oswalt in this series is to pitch them again on three days rest in games 6 and 7.

I've already noted that Garner fouled up by pitching Clemens on three-day rest in game 4, especially with a 2-1 series lead because he then HAD to pitch Oswalt. Go back to Clemens in Game 5 on full rest and you get Oswalt on six-day rest for game 1 of the NLCS and Clemens on four-day rest for Game 3 (then Oswalt again on four for game 5, Clemens on four for game 7).

That said, it'd be surprising for the Astros to actually go up 2-0, and potentially devastating for the Cards if that happened.

Nonetheless, this series should be a bullpen-buster. The Cards have only so-so starters, the Astros' 'pen is frayed and iffy; advantage Redbirds. Then again, in 2000, the Mariners had their rotation set, rested and ready for the Yanks while the Yanks had to reverse their pitching rotation (#4, #3, #2, #1 starters in games 1, 2, 3, 4, respectively) after a five-game war with Oakland . . . and the M's lost in 6.

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