Today's Action

Three teams face elimination today. I find it interesting that two of them (Yankees, San Diego) were picked as the favorites by most "experts" and the third (Dodgers) was a lot of the "experts" surprise pick. Well this proves that no one knows whats going to happen in the playoffs. Here are the matchups:

San Diego at St Louis

San Diego will send Chris Young (11-5 3.46 ERA) to the mound to face off against Jeff Suppan (12-7 4.12 ERA). This matchup would seem to favor the Padres but they were the favorites last game as well when David Wells faced off against Jeff "Spicoli" Weaver, and we all know what happened there. Pitching has not been the issue for San Diego as much as there offense has. The Padres are hitting an anemic .164/.235/.262 which is last so far in the playoffs. On the other side of the spectrum the Cards are leading the playoffs with a team line of .338/.371/.431. There are some interesting things to look for in this game:
  • Chris Young was 6-0 with a 2.41 ERA away from Petco park this season. He also faced the Cards once this year going 7 innings allowing only 1 ER with 6 strikeouts.
  • The Cardinals are a combined 19-4 in the NLDS over the last few seasons.
  • Out of the Padres who have had at least 10 at bats against Suppan, four of them have an OPS over .900 (Brian Giles .983, Mike Piazza 1.824, Geoff Blum 1.250, Dave Roberts 1.667)

Most of the past stats point to San Diego winning this game, but I am going to go with momentum and experience. LaRussa is a better in game manager than Bochy, Suppan has almost 30 innings of post season experience, the Cardinals will have their home crowd, and most importantly they still have Pujols. I think the Cardinals will wrap it up today and finish off the Padres.

New York at Detroit

The Yankees will send Jaret Wright (11-7 4.49) to the mound against Jeremy Bonderman(14-8 4.08) . While the numbers may make this matchup look pretty close it is not. Bonderman is by far the superior pitcher, but he has tired down the stretch which caused his numbers to elevate. This game will depend on what Bonderman the Yankees get, the one from the beginning of the season or the one from down the stretch. Bonderman pitched the final game of the season and allowed 4 ER in 4.1 innings. Some things to look for:

  • Bonderman has never pitched in the playoffs, Wright on the other hand has appeared in 15 playoff games 9 of them starts and posted an ERA of 7.24
  • Bonderman faced the Yanks twice this year and pitched decent. He allowed 4 ER in both games the first over 7 innings the second in 5.1 innings.
  • Jaret Wright has only faced Detroit once and he allowed only 2 runs over 6.3 IP.

I am not going to look at matchups since these pitchers today are so different than they were in the past. Bonderman has come into his own this year after a couple years of struggling, and arm injuries have caused Jaret Wright to alter how he has pitched over his career. I think the Yankees can win this game. This may be because I really like Wright. I think Jaret will buckle down and pitch a real gutsy 5 innings. There are no stats to back this up just what I have seen over the season. I think Torre is going to have a meeting before the game and smack some life into these players. If the Yanks can win today I will have some confidence going back to New York.

New York at Los Angeles

The Metsies will send Steve "Human Rain Delay" Trachsel (15-8 4.97) to the mound against a resurgent Greg Maddux(15-14 4.20). That record for Maddux is a little misleading as he has pitched much better since joining the Dodgers. Maddux is a much better pitcher than Trachsel is but the Mets are by far the best hitting team in the NL. Both these pitcher have been around a while so both teams lineups have experience against the pitchers. Out of the Mets lineup the guys who have hit Maddux best over their careers are David Wright (1.091 OPS), Paul Lo Duca (.933 OPS), and Shawn Green (1.301 OPS). The guys who have hit Trachsel best are Marlon Anderson (.956 OPS), Rafeal Furcal (.321 BA) and Kenny Lofton (1.060 OPS). So even though these pitchers are well known only a few people on each side have done very well. Here are some other things to look for:

  • Jose Reyes is a dismal 2 for 19 against Maddux with one walk and 6 strikeouts. Reyes is the spark plug for the Mets and if he cant get on they may have some trouble scoring.
  • Out of the Mets middle of the order only Wright has hit Maddux well, the Carlos' are a combined 7 for 36 with only 1 HR.
  • Trachsel has never pitched in the postseason, while Maddux has pitched in 31 postseason games 29 of them starts and posted a 3.22 ERA.

Momentum plays a big role in the playoffs in my humble opinion but I think this game is going to be an example of good pitching shutting down a good lineup. I expect the Dodgers to win this game and send this series to a game four. Sadly if the Yankees lose today I may be way too pissed off to actually watch this game.


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