Monday, September 29, 2008

Hair of the Dog, 9/30/08

Lets just enjoy this a little bit longer

Did anyone go to the rally yesterday? I couldn't make it, but apparently 14000 other people did. It sounds like it was a good time.

Gallardo was named pitcher for the first playoff game against the Phillies. I think Sveum's first move as a manager in the playoffs was a good one. Besides Sabathia, I think Gallardo gives us the best chance of winning against Hamels, although it is a bit of a gamble. Gallardo is 0-0 on the year with a 1.88ERA in 4 starts. In his short career he's 9-5 with a 3.35 ERA and 121K/45BB. The Phillies are sending left handed pitcher Cole Hamels, who is 14-10 on the year with a 3.09ERA and 196K/53BB. His career numbers are similar at 3.43 and 518K/144BB. Hamels is a lefty, but as ESK pointed out, his splits are the reverse of what they should be. He's better against righties (671 OPS) than he is against lefties (742OPS).
It's impossible to say for sure, but I have a hard time believing that Ned Yost would have made the move to start Yo in the first game. With Suppan's experience, he seems like he would have been the Yost choice, never mind that he's not nearly as good at pitching as Yo. I think Sveum's managerial decisions thus far have been mostly sound. He still puts stock in things like experience--adding Durham and Counsell to his standard rotation for example--but mostly when it is backed by numbers. By the way, Counsell's OBP in September is 450.

The rest of the pitching match-ups will be CC Sabathia vs. Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55ERA, 163K/65BB) and then whoever our third pitcher is against Jamie Moyers (16-7, 3.71ERA, 123K/62BB). Maybe I'm biased, but I feel pretty good about CC vs. Myers, and Moyers does have normal lefty splits. I think we can take this series.

Most pundits are picking the Phillies over the Brewers. Here's ESPN's game preview for tomorrow. All 10 of their "experts" pick the Phillies, but it's probably because they list Gallardo's record as 0-10 instead of 0-0. That's a big difference. I'd love to do a position by position comparison, but I'll leave that sort of thing to Paul, or E. But I will say that I think the Brewers and the Phillies are a lot closer than most people seem to think. They're 3rd in the NL in OPS (770), we're 6th (757). They're 1st in home runs (214) and we're 3rd (198). On the other side of the ball, we're actually a little better than them. We're 2nd in ERA (3.85) and they're 4th (3.88). In WHIP, we're 4th (1.33) and they're 6th (1.36). That's with Sheets, but it's without Gallardo and without Sabathia for the first half of the season. If it goes to 5 games, I think we'll take 'em.

Aaron Rodgers wants to play on Sunday. When Rodgers went down, after looking bad against the Bucs, many Packer fans were worried about the season. With a number of other injuries, and that old guy in New York having a huge game, it had a lot of people worried about the future of the franchise. Not that is should quell all of our fears, but Rodgers says he wants to play on Sunday against the Bears.

"Speaking with Aaron this morning, he has every intention on playing," McCarthy said Monday in Green Bay. "But I think Wednesday's practice will be a pretty good indicator for us. It's just something we'll have to continue to rehab and see where we are on Wednesday."

Rodgers has been tagged injury prone, and maybe he is, but I think the fact that he returned to last weeks game and seems genuinely intent on playing this weekend says something about the guy's toughness.


E.S.K. said...

I think there is a difference between "injury prone" and "tough" and the two aren't mutually exclusive.

I love Rodgers, but damn if he isn't an injury magnet. Tough son-of-a-bitch for sure though, he got fucking killed against Tampa.

Eric said...

I'm thinking Aaron Rodgers will be a synthesis of Lynn Dickey and Brazil.

Anonymous said...

I think Yo is better than Hamels. I think the Brewers will sweep.

Are they giving us the second game? Isn't Moyer easily better than Myers? Why would they put their weakest of the three against CC?

PaulNoonan said...

I'd agree with that. Steve McNair was a tough sonuvabitch, but he was hurt all the time. Still, there are no other Favre's in football, and since everyone else in the league is injury-prone, tough is a good start.

I think the Phillies can be had for a few reasons.

1. Their biggest weapon is easy to neutralize. Ryan Howard sucks against lefites. Prince has also sucked against lefties, but he's not our biggest weapon.

2. Their starting pitching has been kinda shitty. Basically, it was all Hamels for most of the year. Then Myers got hot, but in September, reverted to shitty. Moyer is the old-style crafty lefty. The Brewers are simply not vulnerable to that type of pitcher.

3. Brad Lidge has been great, but the playoffs may make his head a-splode.

4. The national media thinks Ben Sheets was the Brewers' ace coming into this season, when it was really Yovani Gallardo. If Gallardo is good to go, they're in good shape.

Pundit-wise, the Phillies are overrated for many reasons. First, Howard is overrated and can be managed around if you're smart.

Second, Jimmy Rollins is one of the league's most overrated players, and was completely undeserving of the MVP award last year. This year he's hit .277/.349/.437 with 11 dingers and 38 2Bs, a big power decline after hitting 30 and 25 dingers the previous two season (even if you accound for 25 missed games).

Most people wouldn't think of JJ Hardy as being the equal of the reigning MVP, but...

JJ's line - .283/.343/.478, 24 HRs, 31 2Bs.

He really is.

Also, mush like the Brewers, the Phillies employ one of the worst 3rd baseman in baseball with Pedro Feliz and his sparklin 80 OPS+.

Chase Utley is aswesome and Pat Burrell is the righty Adam Dunn, and all of their outfielders are at least above average, but if not for Corey Hart's ill-timed swoon that would also be true of the Brewers.

The Phil's biggest advantage is probably in their awesome bullpen. Here's are som ERA+'s from the pen:

229 (Lidge)
163 (Romero)
147 (Madson)
155 (Durbin)
137 (Condrey)
127 (Seanez)
237 (Eyre)

If the Phillies do win, it will likely be based on shutting the Crew down in the latter half of the game.

E.S.K. said...

Starting Myers against Sabathia is not a bad idea, if you think Moyers is the better pitcher, as you don't want to waste a good start against Sabathia. Better to throw up your third best option if you aren't going to go with your first.

But, the Brewers hit Moyers really well (.826 OPS)and have struggled MIGHTILY against Myers (.531 OPS). If it were I, I'd throw Moyers against Sabathia and hope Sabathia has the normal playoff meltdown.

DannyNoonan said...

Our Bullpen by ERA+:

Torres 124
Shouse 155
Mota 106
Villanueva 107
Stetter 136
DiFelice 153
Gagne 80

McClung 108
Suppan 87
Parra 99

Just for reference.

DannyNoonan said...

And we might as well compare starters while I have the page up.

Gallardo 231
Sabathia 262
Bush (I assume) 104


Hamels 145
Myers 98
Moyer 120

We'll have a favorable match-up in every game if we use ERA+ as our rubrick and ignore Yo's small sample size.

E.S.K. said...

Torres is a bit misleading as his second half stats have been awful.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't think Torres is our go-to guy anymore. Mota, CV and Gagne have looked better in the last month or so.

I do like how are starters match up though. Everyone seems to be mocking Yo:

They'll see.

Anonymous said...

Just saw DiFelice didn't make the playoff roster. Strange when he has the best ERA+ in the bullpen besides the LOOGy.