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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Friday, October 21, 2005

Friday SportsFix

Friday Friday Friday. It doesn't matter as much to me or a lot of my friends (since many of us work on Friday and Saturday), but since many readers do so at work, here's the Friday SportsFix.

What's the deal with the short week game between the Dolphins and Chiefs? Will weather be a factor? Why force the short week down both teams throats? Why not show the game on TV anywhere in the country except Miami, KC or on DirectTV? Insanity!! Well, I suppose, with the way the NFL Schedule works, they don't really have an extra week to play the game, as they do in baseball. So, here we are with "the best alternative", since Miami refused to play the game in KC. I don't blame them for not wanting to give the Chiefs a "free" home game, costing the Dolphins Brass that ticket revenue and the team the home field advantage. Still, seems strange. Especially since most of the country won't be able to watch the frickin' game.

Ready for the World Series!? I know I am. Did you know that of the last 19 World Series, the team with home field advantage has won 16 times? Did you know the team who played at home has won Game 7 the last eight times? Well, this year may be different, because it'd be Oswalt in Game 7, so to Hell with that stat.

Random stat: Ben Hur won Best Picture the last team a Chicago team was in the World Series.

That brings me to something interesting. Most World Series Champions aren't the team with the best record in baseball. Of the last 17 one-hundred game winners in MLB, only the 1998 NYY have actually won the World Series (of course, that Yankee team was one of the best in baseball history, going 114-48 over the season, and 11-2 in the postseason). That Yankee team was also the only team of the last thirteen champions to win the Fall Classic with the best record in baseball. What gives?

Well, basically, it comes down to pitching. The best teams in baseball most likely have a good-to-great fourth starter and a better than average fifth starter, leading to more wins over the course of the season. However, in a seven or five game playoff structure, the fourth and fifth starters are pretty much useless. True, in some seven game series, the fourth starter will get one start, and one win in a seven game series is as important as the next. But, you see what I'm saying? A good hitting team with only three great starters has the same shot at the title as a team with five great starters on it. Five get you there, but three can take the title. Just ask the Arizona Diamonbacks of 2001 who got the ring with only two starters. Curt Schilling started three games, Randy Johnson started two, and Randy came in to hold off the Yankees in the late innings of Game 7. They basically won every game where those two horses were in the game.

Interesting facts:
  • The starting pitchers for the Yankees in the Game 6 and 7 losses in 2001 were Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens.
  • Andy Pettitte also accounted for one of the Yankees only two losses in 1998, going 0-1 that postseason with a 11.57 ERA, walking three and striking out only one.
  • Looking further, Andy was 0-0 in 1999 postseason (which the Yankees also won) with a 12.27 ERA. Ouch. Leads to the question of what Pettitte's postseason numbers are, eh?
  • Well, never fear, here they are: 21 Post season games, 13-8 with a 4.05 ERA, 1.36 WHIP. In the World Series, he is 3-4 with a 3.90 ERA in ten starts, averaging 6.0 IP per start with a 1.40 WHIP.
  • With all this being said, I say he loses his starts this year as well (or at least gets the ol' ND). *You heard it here first* or second, even.

So, you need at least two Superstars or three studs to nail down the trophy. So, will four matter in 2005? They will this time around, I feel, since it's Brandon Backe vs. Freddy Garcia in Game 4 on Wednesday. And, with Pettitte going 0-1 in the 2005 NLCS in two starts with a 5.11 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP, and with the above stats taken into consideration, is Andy really a stud?

More Baseball News: Leo Mazzone left the Braves to become the pitching coach in Baltimore for his long time friend, Oriole Manager Sam Perlozzo. Will this mark the beginning of the decline in Atlanta? The beginning of a new era in Baltimore? Or will the Braves still win and the Orioles still lose as if nothing happened? It will be interesting to find out.

Alright, that's enough for the Friday SportsFix. Gotta get ready for work. Still calling it as White Sox in Six. Not sure how some people still think the Astros have better pitching, even knowing it's four vs. four. Pettitte is struggling, Clemens may not be healthy, Oswalt rules (over anyone right now), and Backe vs. Garcia? Come on. Anyway, best of luck to both teams, and let's get this thing started. It should be great.


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