Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Last Post (On Baseball). For a While

Tentative Steps

Apparently people don't like it when I post about baseball, but with the postseason winding down, there don't look to be too many more American Pasttime related posts.

Game Four Analysis

The Red Sox are one win away, and they send rested Derek Lowe to the mound against Jason Marquis. Both pitchers are similar in that they are ground ball pitchers, and both have looked very hittable this season at times. The difference is that Marquis has been hittable lately, probably due to fatigue despite his protests to the contrary, and Lowe has been close to dominant in two starts against the Yankees. His game seven start on two days rest was masterful. He worked so quickly against what was supposed to be a patient lineup that it was like someone snuck into the hotel the Yankees were staying in and hypnotized them to play like the Mets (nothing against the Mets, I like them, but Cliff Floyd? Hidalgo? Mike Cameron? I count 400 K's a season right there, conservative estimate).

Busch Stadium should benefit both these pitchers, but it won't matter much if either of them fails to keep those sinkers and fastballs low. If Marquis is tired, look for adrenaline to carry him for two shaky innings, in which the Red Sox will tee off on elevated fastballs. If that fades and he's still in the game, his sinker will start missing as well and the Sox will then tee off on everything he throws. It's much the same with Lowe, but considering his rested state and veteran status, Lowe is much more of a psychological issue than a physical one.

This is why, even though the Sox won games one and two, those four errors each game had Derek Lowe shrieking into his towel. If Bill Mueller boots two ground balls out of five his way, he can expect to boot four with Lowe on the mound. This is a problem. Mark Bellhorn is usually solid at second, but even he missed one on a bad hop. The Sox defense was solid on Tuesday, which means that Lowe might be able to relax a little. A relaxed Lowe means fewer baserunners, and if there are baserunners, a 6-4-3 here and there.

The Boston offense will probably have to open up a can on Jason Marquis, as it will give Lowe confidence and perhaps keep them from going to the bullpen too early. It can also allow Francona to take Bellhorn out for Reese or pinch run Dave Roberts in an idea situation. Ideally, with an early lead, they could work Lowe through the seventh, use Embree and Timlin (Arroyo with a decent lead, say, 7-2) in the seventh/eighth as needed, and if they have to, go to Foulke in the ninth. I would attribute Foulke's lapse last night to a) not enough warm up time, as the Sox went 1-2-3 in the 8th, b) facing Larry Walker and Albert Pujols, and c) facing a lineup that had been seeing changeups all night. But it could also be fatigue, and I do not want Foulke pitching in the ninth with a two run lead against the Cardinals 2-3-4 hitters.

As for offense, I would look to score early as usual if I were the Red Sox. Look for Ortiz to hammer a sinker down and in that's not down enough. If I had a lead in the third, I would bunt with Damon or Cabrera even with no one on. The reason? Scott Rolen is Gold glove third baseman, but the more you keep him running on defense, the worse his performance at the plate will be, given his bum calf. Make him work, and Rolen and Sanders stay easy outs.

For the Cardinals, Pujols and Walker obviously have to keep contributing, but Edmonds has been a surprising non-factor in this series. How they keep getting to Edmonds is beyond me, as Edmonds is usually a patient and solid hitter. If the Cardinals want to win this game, Edmonds needs an extra base hit. Or two. Also, start John Mabry at DH for gods sakes. The Sox have seen him once this series. I'm starting to think La Russa knows that the Sox know something about Mabry's hitting style or something. And last, Tony Womack is amazing for wanting to keep playing, but at this point, he needs to do what is good for the team and sit out so Marlon Anderson can start in his place. Keep Womack on the bench as a pinch runner.

Prediction - Sox 7, Cardinals 4, World Series over.
Inning by Inning Prediction: 2/1 , 3/0 , 0/0 , 0/0 , 1/1 , 1/0 , 0/0 , 0/2 , 0/0
HR - David Ortiz, Albert Pujols
SB - Johnny Damon, Dave Roberts after being inserted as a pinch runner in the 6th
E - Manny Ramirez

Final Statement

Most people by now have picked up on the fact that there is no curse, just a team that is finally willing to spend $115 million to win. A smart 115 million, which is much better than a smart 60 million and much much better than a dumb 180 million. That being said, if the Sox win, I would expect Theo Epstein to bring back everyone but Pedro. A good baseball man knows that you have to spend money to win, and that winning gets the money back into your pocket. Steinbrenner is the master of this. But if the Sox win, merchandise and advertising shoots through the roof, to the extent that even after I renovate Fenway to add more seats, I have enough money to sign my big free agents, minus Pedro, and a solid starter in the Carl Pavano range. Because you can expect to sell out another 82 games next year, and every one of those fans, and others, will be sporting Curt Schilling jerseys. So even though teams that spend more than 80 million still win a whole lot more than teams that spend 60 mill, one really can't complain about it. The worst thing to do is to spend 75 million on a team and cut the payroll to 50 mill the next year.

Fire sales are the worst thing you can do, from a baseball and a financial point of view. First, you make your team suck. Second, you drive away fans. The Marlins were special because they had a decent farm system to fall back on and several good young arms, but even in their scenario fans only came back when it was evident they could win a World Series. Three people have been Marlins fans since day one, and everyone else in Florida is a liar and a republican. (or African American and ineligible to matter, as the GOP would have it). Look at the Reds. It's been a long time since the days of The Big Red Machine. It's been ten years since they fielded a decent team. They decided to go completely conservative after the Griffey trade didn't work out, even though they just opened a new ballpark. It has been proven that a new ballpark, however fan friendly, won't draw sustainable crowds without a good team playing in it. And yet, when it was evident they couldn't win in 2003, they held an auction.

Prediction In, Fingers Crossed


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree mostly, except for the fact that I think the sox will bring in Timlin, and he'll let up a homer, which will account for more St. Louis runs than Lowe gives up.

Also. Mabry can't DH. NL rules baby. Gonna enjoy seeing Lowe bat.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Satchmo said...

Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote about Mabry at DH. Just another one of the litany of errors I've seen from LaRussa. He's a good manager, but when Larry Walker is the only one on the team hitting, no way he should bunt. Then again, if you've played that way the whole year, no reason to change.

I can't believe Curt Schilling is endorsing Bush. If I'm in the Kerry camp, I either hire Johnny Damon or write off New Hampshire as a complete loss.

10:14 PM  

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