Monday, October 04, 2004

Playoff Prep

Just a few odds and ends I picked up listening to Sports radio this morning in St. Louis.

Cardinals Playoff Rotation

According to the morning show on "590 The Fan", the reasons Tony is going with Marquis in Game 2 and Morris in Game 3 are as follows.

  1. Matt Morris needs the extra time off between starts.
  2. Matt Morris has been awesome in road playoff starts in his career.
  3. Jason Marquis has an ERA under 2.50 on 4 days rest, over 4.00 on 5 or more.
Personally, item 1 on that list doesn't surprise me. In fact, I wonder why they're letting a guy that appears to be hurt continue to get starts, especially in the playoffs. Should the Cards drop Games 1 and 2 (which I think is unlikely), I wouldn't be surprised if they move up Suppan to start Game 3 and consider giving Haren a start in Game 4.

The whole home/road splits thing is, in my opinion, overblown. Some Cards fans will cite the fact that Morris is better at home than on the road, and that he's better at night than during the day. To me, that's a fluke of small sample size more than anything of substance. Just look at his start on Thursday - at home, at night, against the Brewers - to see that the guy has the potential for problems no matter when or where he starts.

Dodgers Rotation

The Blue Team is going to be going with a 3-man rotation of Odalis Perez, Jeff Weaver, and Jose Lima. Not a bad move, when you consider that Perez will actually get 4 days between starts if he starts Games 1 and 4 (Tuesday and Sunday.) I still think that this could play into the Cardinals hands, should the series go 5 games. And don't forget - Eric Gagne had an MRI on his shoulder just last week. Their bullpen isn't as deep as the Cardinals with Gagne. If he's struggling, the Cardinals have a big advantage.

Another thing to keep in mind during this series is in fact Odalis Perez. The Cardinals were rumored to be interested in dealing Jim Edmonds to the Dodgers for Perez during the off-season. So basically, think about this year's team with Drew instead of Edmonds, and Perez instead of Marquis. I'm sure there were other players involved as well, but at face value, the Cardinals look like they're in better shape next year for keeping Edmonds and dealing Drew, who would have been a free agent.

General Feeling

I've heard several people, both personally and on the radio, who are now afraid of the Astros in the playoffs. While I can understand why fans would feel that way - the Astros beat the Cardinals the last 4 times they played, and 5 of the last 6 - I'm not sure that they should be overly worried about it.

As awesome as Clemens and Oswalt are, they aren't super-human. Clemens won't be allowed to pitch on less than 4 days rest, and Oswalt has been getting his arm injected with cortisone and other fun substances for the last few months. So, in a 7 game series, the most the Cardinals would have to face those guys would be 4 times. I'll take my chances that the Cardinals could win at least 1, if not 2 games out of those 4, and thus win the series by beating up on the rest of the rotation (regardless of how they fared against them over the last few weeks.)


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