Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hair Of The Dog, Roll Of The Dice

It is an interesting facet of human nature that when it comes down to deciding championships in sports, we like to inject a bunch of randomness. NCAA basketball has it's one-and-done format, as does the NFL. Baseball opts for a short series in the first round, and this is where the magic happens, as they say. Over 162 games you get a pretty good idea of who can play and who can only play in Pittsburgh. Over a best-of-5 series, all of that nice, large-sample info can be destroyed by a bad bounce, an ill-timed injury (see: Josh Beckett), or a bad matchup.

Anyone who tells you that they know who will win these short series is delusional. And frankly, I'm a little sick of the punditry almost unanimously fawning over the Phils. I'm not even sure why I'm bothered by this. I don't mind the Phillies, they recently swept us, maybe it makes sense. Heck, if I were betting I'd probably bet on them.

But this isn't some slam dunk. Here are things I'm sick of, specifically:

1. The seeming lack of knowledge about Yovanni Gallardo.

Was there really ever debate about the game 1 starter? Really? And sure, he has only pitched in one actual game in months, but he looked fine. When healthy Gallardo is every bit as good as Cole Hamels, and a healthy Gallardo coming back gives the Brewers everything and more that they lost when Sheets went down. One of my greatest hopes is that Gallardo goes from undercovered and underappreciated to overcovered and fawned over by tomorrow.

2. Jamie Moyer.

Look old man, I know your wily ways have kept you around for 400 years of baseball, but the Brewers hammer crafty lefties like you, and by all accounts you are the team's second best starter. Let me throw some OPS's at you:

Rickie Weeks - 1.314
Prince Fielder - 1.083
JJ Hardy - 1.569
Bill Hall - 1.500
Corey Hart - 1.458
Ryan Braun - 1.167

Jamie Moyer's been great. He's a great story like all old guys who continue to succeed in professional sports. It's just that the Brewers eat guys like Jamie Moyer for breakfast.

3. The Phillies chasing down the Mets again.

The Phillies did what they had to do, but they did it against a severely depleted (and bad) Atlanta Braves team, and a terrible Washington Nationals team, both at home. Just something to keep in mind.

4. The Focus on CC Sabathia

I love CC. He deserves every bit of adulation that he gets. What I'm tired of is the idea that the Brewers can't win a game started by by anyone else. The Phils are going to face Dave Bush in Milwaukee, where he has a 3.50 ERA and limits opponents to .228/.276/.401. Bush has held his WHIP down this year to a very respectable 1.141, and he'll be facing the aforementioned Moyer. With Sabathia and Gallardo, the Brewers' top 3 is fairly formidable.

I have not talked about the Philly strengths of which there are many (their stolen base percentage, for instance, is off-the-charts good), and this should not be read as a ringing endorsement of the crew, I just think the media, and much of the blogoland is failing to consider both sides of the equation in this series. I can easily imagine Yo outdueling Hamels, Sabathia winning easily against Myers, and Bush finishing the series off at home. I can also see the Brewer bats going dormant and the Phillies blowing them out of the water.

That's why it's essentially a roll of the dice.

Sausage Links

Just go read Brew Crew Ball for awhile. They're coverage has been excellent.

Someone was dumb enough to sign Cedric Benson.

Aaron Rodgers is doing better:

We also hear that Aaron Rodgers is doing much better and should be able to throw well today and with velocity on the ball.

Will Carroll, however, is a bit more cautious. He also has an update on AJ Hawk:

A.J. Hawk definitely has a groin strain, but some reports have it as a "tear" or Grade III strain. That could cost him months, not weeks. Sources tell me it's not as severe as some speculated ...

You'll have to look closely to see what they're talking about.

Today's HOTD is brought to you by Gatorade, because sometimes nothing is better than Gatorade. The yellow kind.


tracker said...

Pretty shitty breakfast they had vs moyer last time out. Maybe they should hammer him. But brewers have been more nail than hammer lately.

E.S.K. said...

I don't know, I'd be pretty happy if Moyer only goes 5 and a third and gives up 3 runs.

DannyNoonan said...

Are those their OPS's against Moyers or against lefties?

E.S.K. said...


PaulNoonan said...

Yup. Moyer.