Tuesday, October 26, 2004
CONTROL IS THE KEY
The Cards do have an advantage playing at home, as do most clubs and an even larger advantage with the Sox numbers on the road and Ortiz at first. So if you assume the Sox and Cards are evenly matched, then at best the Cards have a 55-60% chance of winning Games 3-5. But those odds are not considering the starting pitchers.
Jeff Suppan had a nice season. He had a National League average season with a RA/9 of 4.69. Suppan is a control/no out pitch pitcher that needs to get close calls, support from his defense and keep the ball in the park to be successful. The Sox usually eats these type of pitchers up for breakfast, but not their $hits like Shooter. The Sox offensive strategy, which I will not repeat, works perfectly with control type/no out pitch pitchers. Even though the Sox will be without the DH, it should not affect their performance against Suppan (knock on wood) if 2004 is any indication.
Suppan versus N.L. teams with > 550 BB – RA/BB/SO/HR – IN
6.1 / 4.4 / 5.1 / 1.6 – 74
Suppan against all others
3.8 / 2.3 / 5.4 / 0.9 – 114
As you can see, Suppan has difficulty with patient clubs or ones that earn walks. (Seven teams had more than 550 BB this season. I excluded Colorado for obvious reasons. The other six were not necessarily high run producing teams. Cincy ranked 10th and San Diego ranked 8th were included.) He gives up over two runs per nine innings relative to more impatient teams. Suppan is a good match up for the Sox lineup even with the loss of Millar’s bat.
My concern about this critical game is Pedro and not his velocity outside of the first inning. It is his control that has become more and more erratic lately.
02-03 – 2.03
4-8/04 – 2.29
9/04 – 3.75
10/04 – 4.95
Petey’s walk rate has steadily increased. If September looked more like the rest of the regular season, I would not be concerned and just chalk October up as the MFY (a very patient club) and small sample size. September and October are certainly sss, but the numbers do show an alarming trend.
Pedro has to have pinpoint control against this club. It is critical to get first pitch strikes versus the heart of this order. If not, the Cards can do damage like the MFY, and then this game favors them at home in a slugfest. My gut tells me that vintage Petey with extra rest in his first World Series appearance will step up, which tips the scale back to the Sox, making them a slight favorite. It all comes down to Petey's control.
TWO MORE WINS STARTING TONIGHT
I have my Game 4 ticket in-hand! But this freakin’ rain is giving an ulcer. What does this do to my ticket? Do I need to change my flight and stay an extra day? Will I be able to keep my job? I am just waiting for a similar scene in “Office Space” to happen. Some bigwig consultant: “I see you have been missing a lot of work recently.” Me: “Well, I can’t say I’ve been missing it.” But then, the bigwig consultant says “You’re Fired” like the boob Trump.
Anyway, it looks like Kriegers near Union Station is at least the initial spot in St. Louis for Red Sox Nation. Doesn’t every other major city have a Union Station?