Saturday, October 08, 2005

Who Do The Sox Match Up Better Against?

Here's my response to Doug Gribben's suggestion that the Yankees would be easier to beat than the Angels because of the Yankees' poorer pitching:


I think you've got this wrong. Our team excels at run prevention, and it is easier to prevent runs against the Angels than the Yankees. That Yankees lineup gets on base and hits for power. That, and the fact that you've got to face Mussina and Johnson 4 times in a 7 game series, makes me think that the Sox are much better off facing the Angels, despite the fact that the Angels swept the Sox at home last time they met.

Timo Perez, Geoff Blum and Pablo Ozuna got 31 regular season at bats vs. the Angels. Those at-bats won't be thrown away again. In the 6/1 game the Sox lost, the lineup was Podsednik-Uribe-Rowand-Everett-Pierzynski-Dye-Perez-Crede-Harris, and the Sox still managed 7 runs. In the 9/9 game, the Sox threw away 9 at bats on Ozuna (leading off) and Blum, and they still managed to push the Angels to extra innings.

Garcia, Contreras and Buehrle all pitched relatively well against the Angels this year. Garland was OK once and sucked real bad once.

I love the idea of a Garland-Contreras-Buehrle-Garcia rotation for the ALCS. Contreras and Buehrle would be on the hill for games 6 and 7. And if the Angels get pushed to 5 against the Yankees, it'll be Lackey-Byrd-Washburn-Colon, meaning we'd get Byrd and Washburn in 6 and 7. Games 1 and 5 (Garland-Lackey) would be real, real tough, but I like those matchups in Games 6 (Byrd-Contreras) and 7 (Buehrle-Washburn).

If the Angels win in 4, it'll be Colon-Lackey-Byrd-Washburn, meaning we'd get Lackey and Byrd in 6 and 7, but Lackey would be facing Contreras in 2 and 6.

The Yankees right now look like (if they win the series, they'd do it in 5) they would be throwing Wang-Johnson-Chacon-Mussina at us. Which is nice, because the Sox would get favorable matchups in 4 of the 7 games, and even Mussina-Garcia is a wash at Yankee Stadium in Game 4. I'd take the Count against Johnson right now, too.

Despite those favorable pitching matchups, the Yankees scored 125 more runs than the Angels this year, and they didn't have the advantage of playing 36 games against the Texas and Seattle pitching. 199 of the Angels' 754 runs were scored against Texas and Seattle. That's 26% of their runs in 22% of their games.

The pleasure of beating the Yankees would be greater, sure, but I just want the Sox to go to the World Series, I don't care about the added psychological benefits of beating the Evil Empire.

[Edit- to be fair, here's Doug's response:

I've seen three White Sox teams in my lifetime throttled by good quality starting pitching in the playoffs.

Right now, I think the White Sox can take either one of them. And I'm officially greedy. I want it all. I have learned, bitterly, that"next year" never seems to work out.]

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