Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Baseball Playoffs, day 1

There is not much to say about the Yanks' win last night that otherwise has not been said in most media outlets: Jeter was fantastic (5-5, 3R, HR), Abreu looked sharp and had a nice playoff debut in pinstripes (4 RBI), the bullpen is shakier than a strawhouse in a hurricane.

How about these notions: (1) Torre played fast and loose with the bullpen and the game last night -- there was no need to remove Wang in the 7th, by then he had overcome a shaky first 5 innings and had actually begun to roll for the first time all night, he had thrown only 93 pitches, and the top of the Tigers lineup is not that much more fearsome than the bottom (they're pretty well-balanced). Wang had 12-15 pitches left in the tank, that's another 2-3 outs and no need to use Myers and either Proctor or Farnsworth. Bad move, Joe. This is the postseason, stretch the starters and stop treating the 'pen like it's the regular season when a loss means less. I griped about this two years ago and Torre hasn't reformed.

(2) Gary Sheffield is a better firstbaseman than Giambi. That stretch that Sheff made in the top of the third to catch Cano's relay throw on the double play that shut down Detroit's first scoring chance was top-notch.

(3) Kyle Farnsworth is a head case. How else could a guy who throws 100 with a nasty slider not trust his stuff enough to go after hitters?

(4) What's up with FOX's coverage? First, the wrong/misleading graphic -- Farnsworth was not 4/4 in saves, he was 4/4 in saves in September when Mo was on the shelf. But Farnsworth honked game four of the four-game set in Detroit in June because Torre refused to use Mo after pitching him for three innings two nights before. Second, Tim McCarver was asleep at the wheel -- no comments about Matsui's poor timing at the plate, no comment about Matsui's lunchboxhead defensive play that turned a single into a double, no comment about how Torre pulled Wang when the kid had started pitching consistently well (despite prompting from Joe Buck), no comment on the AL MVP contest (despite prompting from Joe Buck who said he thought Jeter should win), no comment on Detroit's ability to whack extra base hits against Wang. McCarver needs to drink his Red Bull before he and Buck call the Mess-Dudgers game tomorrow night.

(5) Why do talking heads keep saying that Justin Verlander with his 95-100 mph heater is better than Mooooooooooooosina?

Here's Verlander's numbers: 186.0 IP, 187 H, 21 HR, 60 BB, 124 K, 3.63 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, .266 OBA
Here's Moooooooooooose's: 197.1 IP, 184 H, 22 HR, 35 BB, 172 K, 3.51 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .241 OBA.

Moooooooooose wins EVERY category (do the math on the IP/HR ratio). Most shockingly, Verlander only averages 6K/game despite that rocket arm. That said, the numbers mean nothing if Verlander pitches a shutout and the Moooooooooose gets thumped. But the talking heads need to stop thinking that a rocket arm is the be-all and end-all. Two words: Brett Tomko. Two more words: Jamie Moyer. Smarten up.

(6) Jim Leyland's right, the Tigers do not need to apologize for being in the playoffs. That team simply does not stink. Winning 95 after a roaring start or winning 95 after stinking up the first 6 weeks of the year (Yankees, 2005) ends up with the same result, a 95-win team.

(7) Torre needs to play Cabrera as a defensive replacement late in games in leftfield. Forget the respect factor for Matsui (who does deserve it), Cabrera's just superior in the field.

As for the rest of the lot:

(a) Here's the situation for the Twins: you won't win if Rondell White is your best hitter. Thanks for playing. I'm thinking that if Thomas is kept quiet, the A's will fold. Don't put too much stock in the fact that Minnesota is pitching Boof Bonser tonight instead of someone with a real name -- Gardenhire is great at getting the young Twins to play as if the playoffs are any regular game (i.e., no extra pressure). Remember also that the Twins went 40-25 without #2 starter Francisco Liriano down the stretch to win their division. Twinkie fans rejoice: game 1 losers are 13-9 in ALDS since 1995.

(b) The Pads need to consider if they're willing to live and die with Jake Peavy's arm against the Cards. The redbirds seem to have his number. Pads fans may worry: game 1 losers are 3-19 in NLDS since 1995.

No comments: