Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Concealed Weapons and Common Sense

What a rare treat. The Sox played a postseason game, and I didn't have that weird tingling sensation down my left arm when it was over. The last time my crew won a playoff tilt without having to record either a save or a walk-off was 1999, Pedro v. Clemens in Game 3 of the ALCS.

If there was one stray note in this Ode to Joy, it was the re-emergence of Troy Glaus as a serious threat at the plate for the Halos. Glaus wasn't supposed to make it back from injury this year, and so he's an unscouted wild card lurking in the heart of their order.

Fortunately, we have one of those guys, too. Trot Nixon's been tearing it up this September after missing the greater part of the season, and most other teams haven't had a good look at him, either. Something tells me both Nixon and Glaus will be in the thick of it for the rest of the series.

One of the ESPN announcers mentioned in passing that the Red Sox brass expected Schilling and Pedro to pitch 15 of the 18 innings in the first two games. This way lies madness. We all know that 2004 Pedro isn't 1999 Pedro, but what seems equally obvious, though much less frequently discussed, is that 2004 Schilling (good as he's been) isn't 2001 Schilling. I know we all have visions of Bob Gibson, Jack Morris, and even Randy Johnson dancing in our heads, but let's face it: the complete game is a thing of the past. Schilling's tacked so many extra runs on his ERA in blowouts this year trying to stretch a seven inning outing into an eight inning outing. I feel weird even saying this--somewhere Calvin Schiraldi is cackling gleefully and rubbing his hands together while on break from his telemarketing duties--but how about letting the bullpen do its job? Pushing pitchers past their regular workload in a given start is really no different than starting them on short rest. Everybody thinks that October demands it, but if you look at the results it just doesn't work.

Case in point: tonight's Twins-Yankees game. I'm sure a lot of people were darkly muttering about lifting Santana after seven. But if that's what you've been doing all year, stick with the plan.


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