Tuesday, October 12, 2004
If Schilling can accomplish pitching in a quiet MFY Stadium, then he will have to effectively pitch inside and control the strike zone. A good splitter will go very far too.
It is critical to jam Jeter and A-Hole as they stride into the pitch and like to hit the ball to right field, especially at MFY Stadium. Like the overpaid SSs, the scouting report on Matsui is to start him off inside, since he has been going the other way recently, but he can make adjustments. News Flash: All are tough outs.
The book on Posada is no heat - off speed stuff can get him out. The catcher, who has demonstrated a difficulty catching the baseball, also has a terrific batting eye – near the top in BBs every season. Bernie can't catch up to good fastballs or flyballs in the gap anymore.
No heater usually gets by Sheffield and off speed pitches don't fare much better. Pitchers need to make THEIR pitches early in the count, and then Sheffield can be enticed to chase with two strikes. On the bright side, Sheffield is 200/324/350 in 71 plate appearances versus Schilling.
Since Rivera could miss game 1 due to a family tragedy, it can not be stressed enough to be patient against Mussina [although the report now is that he will make it back]. Not only is it an effective strategy for game 1, but getting deep into the MFY pen could affect game 2 as well. Quantrill and Gordon may not be able to go or as long or as effective, if they are taxed heavily in game 1.
SST numbers against Mussina (AVG/OBP/SLG – PA).
Damon – 240/298/333 – 82
Manny – 203/253/459 – 79
Nixon – 193/270/333 – 62
Tek.. – 091/149/091 – 47
Ortiz – 069/156/069 – 32
It is not a pretty picture.
Schilling has to be on his game tonight and lineup has to work Mussina. Only Millar, 348/423/565 in 26, has had any success against Mussina. The Sox need to take advantage of their opportunities to score tonight. If Mussina is on his game, the Sox can not sit around and wait. Tito may need to enhance those few chances by playing more aggressive baseball depending upon the situation this evening. Regardless, Schilling is the key tonight and a win will go a long way in determining the A.L. pennant.