Monday, October 10, 2005

ALCS Pitching Matchup

Now that Houston has clinched, but the Yankees and Angels are pushed into Game 5 tomorrow night, I'm going to say something contrary to the Sox's interests.

The ALCS should be moved back a day, and the NLCS should be moved up a day.

The whole purpose of starting the NLCS on Wednesday was that the scheduled day for NL Game 5s was Monday, thus giving the Game 5 winner one day of rest and travel to head to the NLCS. Now, both teams will have two days' rest. On the other hand, the ALCS was meant to start on Tuesday because the ALDS Game 5's were to occur on Sunday, meaning both teams would have at least one day's rest.

The rain in New York screwed those plans up, and now the Yankees or Angels will have no rest, and have to make two consecutive transcontinental journeys to play in Game 1 of the ALCS. It's unfair to those teams when the perfectly viable alternative of swapping the ALCS sked for the NLCS sked remains. I'd hate to see the Sox win their series simply because the other team was too exhausted to play.

That said, regardless of rest, the pitching matchups look great for the Sox. Right not it looks like if the Angels won Game 5, it would be:

(1) Contreras vs. Washburn or Byrd (three days' rest if Washburn still sick)

(2) Buehrle vs. Washburn or Byrd

(3) Garland vs. Lackey (on full rest)

(4) Garcia vs. Colon (on full rest)

That means 4 games against the bottom of the Angel rotation, and only 1 game against Colon. Lackey vs. Garland is a scary matchup, however, as Lackey is 5-2 against the Sox in his career, including two good games this year to go 2-0.

Washburn is 1-3 against the Sox over the last 4 years, with a 5 or so ERA.

Byrd's actually pitched decently against the Sox in his career, although he got dinged for 5 runs in 6 innings in his one start this year. In 2002, he beat the Sox 3 of his 4 starts, but got blasted for 10 runs in the 4th start.

If the Yankees win, it looks like it would be:

(1) Contreras vs. Wang

(2) Buehrle vs. Johnson

(3) Garland vs. Chacon or Mussina (3 days rest)

(4) Garcia vs. Mussina (full rest) or Chacon

Those matchups largely favor the Sox, although each of the Yankees pitchers has the ability to shut the Sox down totally. Heck, the Sox only scored 2 runs per game against the Yankees, so that's nothing new.

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