Sunday, October 23, 2011
Thoughts: Short series? Instant replay?
By David Schoenfield
The Cardinals' blowout win and decimation of the Texas bullpen in Game 3 suddenly raises the possibility that this World Series may not get back to St. Louis. The biggest issue is this list:
C.J. Wilson: 5 IP, 8 R
Derek Holland: 5 IP, 3 R
Colby Lewis: 6 IP, 1 R
Matt Harrison: 5 IP, 2 R
C.J. Wilson: 4.2 IP, 2 R
Derek Holland: 2.2 IP, 3 R
Colby Lewis: 5.2 IP, 4 R
Matt Harrison: 5 IP, 2 R
C.J. Wilson: 6 IP, 6 R
Derek Holland: 4.2 IP, 4 R
C.J. Wilson: 5.2 IP, 3 R
Colby Lewis: 6.2 IP, 1 R
Matt Harrison: 3.2 IP, 5 R
Ron Washington entered the postseason with a plan to pull his starters as early as reasonably possible and turn the game over to his bullpen. The strategy worked fine against Tampa Bay and Detroit, but at some point you need your starters to go deeper into the game, like Colby Lewis did in Game 2. The problem is the bullpen depth was supposed to include Koji Uehara and Alexi Ogando. Uehara was so bad in three appearances in the first two rounds of the playoffs (five hits and three home runs in 1.1 innings) that he was left off the World Series roster. Ogando is suddenly shaky and after throwing 34 pitches in Game 3, may be unavailable for Game 4.
With that mind, Washington will have to consider stretching out Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz in Game 4. In a perfect world, he gets six or seven innings from Holland and hands the ball to Adams and Feliz. But if Holland can't go that long, who does Washington use?
- Feliz had just one save of more than one inning during the regular and pitched more than inning just six times, including two stints of two innings. He did have a four-out save in Game 3 of the ALDS against Tampa. While Feliz has allowed just three hits and one run in 8.2 postseason innings this year (a .111 batting average against), his control has been shaky, with five walks against seven strikeouts. Adams, likewise, hasn't matched his regular-season dominance either: He's allowed 12 baserunners in 7.1 innings, a 1.64 WHIP, compared to 0.90 in his 27 regular-season games with the Rangers.
- While Ron Kulpa's call on the double-play ball hardly cost the Rangers the game, it's just another reminder that more instant replay seems inevitable. You can't televise your biggest and most important games of the year and see mistakes like that and not expect fans to be turned off by your product. Expand instant replay to fair/foul ball calls and give each manager one red flag to use per game. It's time.
- Edwin Jackson starts for St. Louis in Game 4. When he's one, he's getting right-handed hitters to chase his slider. He threw it 45.7 percent of the time to right-handed batters, the second highest percentage among starters (behind only Houston's Bud Norris). Jackson acknowledged in his pre-start media conference that he wasn't aggressive in his last start in the NLCS, when he lasted just two innings. If he is more aggressive early in the count, let's see if the Rangers look to match with an aggressive approach of their own.
- As Mark Simon and Katie Sharp point out, look for the Cardinals to continue attacking Nelson Cruz away. Of 38 pitches he's seen from right-handers in the first three games, only four came inside.