Game Four Prep
I know that some people feel slighted with the Yankees and Red Sox getting the prime time starts, but I have to say - I like the Cards getting the 3:00 game yesterday and today. It's hard enough to wait for 3:00, let alone 6:30.
Just a quick stroll through the split stats of Roy Oswalt before today's game. As expected, the guy doesn't have a lot of chinks in his armor. Although, compared to Roger Clemens this guy is a walk in the park.
vs. Left - .257/.319/.370, 688 OPS
vs. Right - .264/.303/.402, 706 OPS
A slight reverse split for the right-handed pitcher, although it's not by much. What's more, since OBP is more important than SLG you could call it even between lefties and righties. Which is why today will be the day that La Russa actually gives Sanders a day off for Mabry. One could argue that it might be a nice day to allow Luna to start for Womack, although I don't expect it. Tony has been very faithful and consistent to his regulars during the playoffs. (His lack of a consistant lineup in years past has caused some to become annoyed by him, but it never bothered me personally.)
OK, back to Oswalt. Looking at his numbers on an inning-by-inning breakdown, there is not obvious trend. Looking at pitch counts, the Cardinals had better jump on him very, very early.
Pitches 1 to 15 - .330/.379/.495, 874 OPS
Pitches 16 and up - .251/.305/.364, 669 OPS
That is a big difference. Looks to me as if the Cards need to score on him in the 1st inning, then hope Marquis is on.
Looking at individual numbers against Oswalt, only 4 Cardinal hitters have had success off of him, and 2 of those guys have done it over limited playing time.
Marlon Anderson - 1250 OPS, 4 at-bats
Edgar Renteria - 997 OPS, 25 at-bats
Albert Pujols - 917 OPS, 32 at-bats
John Mabry - 800 OPS, 5 at-bats
Everyone else has an OPS of 600 or lower against Oswalt over their careers. Not pretty.
This could end up being a long day in Houston, as Oswalt is tough (which should be of no surprise to anyone, of course.) Barring a meltdown, the Cardinals are unlikely to score many runs off of him today. Their best chance to win, as has been the norm in this series, will be for the Redbirds to run up his pitch count and get into the middle relief core. I suspect that Lidge will only be available for an inning today, so if they can get his Oswalt's pitch count high by the 6th inning, they should be in great shape. Assuming, of course, that Marquis can keep St. Louis to within 3 or 4 runs of Houston by that time.
This should be a fun game, much like Game 3. Hopefully, the outcome is different today.