Tuesday, October 05, 2004
While I write this, I am trying to figure out the peculiar odor in the JFK airport (Jon Stewart describes it as Freedom - I am not so sure) and our Sox have landed in the O.C. The Sox have the privilege of flying over 3,000 miles because they won more games than the A-Holes – WTF! Anyway, Big Schil goes in game one against Jarrod Washburn at four.
Thanks to the MFY and the size of the NYC metro area, the Sox will not get a prime-time slot so we all need to bust out of work early. This will continue throughout the ALDS if the MFY are playing on the same day as our boys (Yes, I am bitter; see yesterday’s post).
The only pitcher-hitter match-up that passes my statistically significant test (>30 at-bats) is Schilling versus Vlad. In 51 at-bats, Vlad is 255/309/569 against the big right-hander with four dingers.
I vividly recall one of the four. It was the bottom of the ninth in Montreal. Vlad was leading off. I turned to my buddy, Chico, and said something like “Schilling is going to challenge Vlad with a fastball and he is going to send us home happy.” Vlad made me look like a smart guy – he deposited the baseball in the leftfield bleachers at Olympic Stadium (more on the other baseball news – Montreal/D.C., Irchio, MVP and my three city/three park tour in six days - sometime in November when I need a topic to write about).
My point with that anecdote is that Vlad can hit any fastball a long way and historically, he has done that against Curt. Since Vlad has been red-hot and the key to the A-Holes lineup, it is imperative that not only Schilling, but also ALL of the Sox pitchers control the freakish hacker. Unfortunately, the only weakness Vlad appears to have is his tendency to chase some pitches outside of the strikezone. Fortunately, I am not a professional scout, but the pros that are communicating their findings to the pitchers and coaches are and have a better notion of Vlad’s flaws at the plate than I.
11 MORE WINS IN ‘04! And it all begins at four.
Other game notes
• Tito should not be hesitant about using Arroyo or Wake in certain situations, instead of the four horsemen of the pen. Arroyo should face RHB that have difficulty handling the breaking ball in the late innings. Wake against the power challenged, David Eckstein and Darren Erstad, whom he has held to a 235/333/412 line over 34 at-bats, should be considered too.
• The Sox brass made the right call having “everyone’s favorite angry white guy” on the bench against the southpaw. Unlike Ortiz, Nixon has never demonstrated any ability to hit lefthanded pitching. Tomorrow against Colon is an even tougher call. Nixon has a 188/278/500 line against the Flame throwing Fattie in 32 chances and Minky, in 33 at-bats, is 333/371/515.
• Erstad and Garret Anderson, like most LHB, have a significant split against LHP – paging Mike Myers. Anderson, a good fastball hitter, should certainly face Myers. The thought of an Embree – Anderson match-up causes me to wake up in a cold sweat.