Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Not a real creative title, but fitting.
The Good: The Sox roughed up not only Tanyon “95 mph – WTF!” Sturtze, but Gordon as well. It bodes well in future games. The Sox are not going to be no-hit through six again.
The Bad: Wake and Timlin got hit hard last night. Timlin made some quality pitches last evening. Bernie’s RBI double was a tough fastball on the outside corner. A nice piece of hitting from the centerfielder that made me suffer through the Mad Man years. Boy, the loss of Williamson hurts – Timlin and Embree just don’t miss enough bats.
Even though it is inconsequential, Tito did not bring in Myers to face Matsui in the eighth. Matsui does not have a huge split against southpaws, but it is still significant – 745 OPS vs. LHP and 896 vs. RHP over two seasons. Perhaps, Matsui kills off-speed. I don’t know, but I think it is safe to say that it is unlikely that Matsui has faced many LHP coming from Myers angle and the numbers suggest the Sox would have had an advantage. I would rather have Matsui-Myers and Bernie-Foulke than have those hitters against Timlin.
The Ugly: Curt Schilling performance last night was downright scary. Speculating on the reason for the bad outing is a waste of time for a fake journalist without access. To paraphrase the All-Star, I have to pitch better or I should not be out there. That’s the bottom line. He has four days to prove himself to the Sox brass.
Yesterday, I hinted at the fact that I thought this was going to be the Sox toughest game. The most even pitching match up at MFY Stadium with a rested Gordon and Rivera. But I still gave the Sox a chance with Schilling, and if the boys pulled this one out, we could see a 4-1, 4-2 or even a sweep in this series. Of course that did not happen; and the bats keep the Sox in the game. Basically, I am not surprised with the loss just the way the Sox kept it close and guess what…the Old Town Team plays again tonight with a three-time Cy Young award winner on the mound.
I have written a ton on Pedro. In summary, if the velocity is there early on, he will be on. I fully expect to see mid-90’s out of the gate. As for Petey’s counterpart, Jon Lieber, here is the scouting report according to STATS:
Lieber gives righthanded hitters fits with a tight slider and terrific command. He has had trouble with lefthanded hitters, who take advantage of his unremarkable fastball and changeup. Despite his inability to corral lefties, he is so tough on righthanders that he's generally effective. He also is so efficient with his pitches that he's consistently able to work deep into the game. Lieber seems to pay a price for the heavy work, however, wearing down late in the season year after year.
Lieber’s 2004 numbers backup the scouting report, even though it was based on the pre-Tommy John Lieber. He did not pitch in 2003. Lieber has only walked 18 over 176.2 innings and has held RHB to 250/266/348. Southpaws have hit 346/358/524 against Lieber this season. Intentionally or not, Lieber has worked the fewest number of innings in a non-injury season in quite sometime and it appears to have allowed him to pitch better in the second half. He has a 64/12 K/BB ratio in 93 innings post-Break versus a mark of 38/6 in 83 innings this spring. Lieber is coming off his best month of the season. In September, he pitched in 40 innings with 31 strikeouts to only two walks and three dingers allowed. Lieber is certainly on his game, but the Sox are too and crush control pitchers. Plus, one of Lieber’s strengths controlling RHB is not really applicable tonight. The only RHBs in the lineup will be one of the best in the business, Millar with a successful past against Lieber and the first pitch hoping for a fastball swinging Lando. I like the Sox chances tonight.
And one last thing, I can now get a do-chop. Rest easy, ladies.