Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 2, 2006
BASEBALL: Programming Note

Sorry, took a while on the Iraq essay below. It may be next week by the time I resume the series on the great disappointments of 2006, especially since I have to keep straight a number of them that changed teams the past week.

In the meantime, discuss: after Pedro and Glavine, now that no additional help has arrived, who would you want starting Games Three and Four of a postseason series? I think at this point my trust in Trachsel is so low I'd go with El Duque (who at least hasn't been terrible and has been known to pitch well in October) and (holding breath) Maine. Which doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:28 AM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I'd go with El Duque third if the playoffs were starting today, although I have doubts that he'll be as physically sound in October as he is today. And I'd probably slot Maine as the fourth guy, although by October he'll likely either have cemented that position or completely ruled himself out based on how he pitches the rest of the way.

I've seen enough of Pelfrey to conclude he won't be ready for prime time this season.

Posted by: Jerry at August 2, 2006 10:47 AM

I'm confident enough in El Duque to slot him third. The one thing about his starts is that you know pretty much right away if he has his good stuff or not, thus you can quickly get somebody ready if it's one of those ngiths where he doesn't have it. I'd still lean to Trax in a game four, though Maine is quickly making me a believer.

Posted by: paul zummo at August 2, 2006 11:00 AM

I'd be okay with El Duque or Maine in game 3 and 4. Trachsel, I never wanted starting a playoff game, and Pelfrey just doesn't seem ready. I'd like to see what Bannister has when he comes back, too. I read somewhere that he's developed a new pitch and could be nasty down the stretch. With the Mets lineup I really feel it will be about throwing strikes, getting ahead of guys, and not walking too many. That's why I feel good about Duque and Maine.

Posted by: hugo at August 2, 2006 12:17 PM

Agree with pretty much everything about Duque, but again, as with Pedro, they're going to have to be careful about how much they use him down the stretch if they want him to have enough left in the tank to be effective in October. Other than that, the guy's a money pitcher of the first order in October, as is Glavine.

As for the 4th spot, it's just too early to tell. If the decision had to be made right this second, you'd have to go with Trax, warts and all, as opposed to throwing a rookie with limited experience to the Wolves of October. Have to see how this plays out down the stretch. If Trax gets it together and starts stringing together quality starts in 2 of every 3 starts instead of his current 50% rate, then I think you have to go with him, with Maine ready to come in at a moment's notice for the first 4 innings. If this doesn't happen, though, and Maine continues doing well, then it's Maine. Again, just too early yet to tell.

Posted by: thom at August 3, 2006 12:05 AM

I agree: Duque and Maine. But this could, and will, change between now and then.

What I'm really looking for is some rest for Tommy Strikezone.

Posted by: Mike at August 3, 2006 9:27 AM

Mike is right. Glavine needs a break, and I would never start a rookie in the playoffs if I could avoid it. It will, and should be Pedro, Glavine, Duque. I think you rarely see a 4th starter in the playoffs. If it's needed, I bet they would rather go with Pelfrey. I would at this point go with Maine, but in the bigs they love guys who throw 98.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at August 3, 2006 12:51 PM

Actually, Daryl, it used to be that you rarely saw a 4th starter in the playoffs, but now, you rarely don't. It's now, well, uncommon, if not rare, to see a guy go on 3 days' rest and start games 1 and 4, because don't have the stamina they used to because of the way they're used today. And given that the Mets' top starters are all older guys who already need an extra day off every now and then to remain effective, I think they'd be the last team to start a guy on three days' rest in the playoffs. They'll need a fourth starter for game 4, and so will the other seven teams, most likely.

Posted by: thom at August 3, 2006 1:11 PM

I guess it's the age old question of why pitchers don't have the stamina of years' past. I'll bet that Cy Young was told he wasn't as strong as Radbourne.

Posted by: Daryl Rosenblatt at August 3, 2006 2:49 PM

One of the reasons teams don't throw starters on three days rest in the postseason anymore is that the postseason is so much longer. In the sixties, Drysdale and Koufax would only have to make one or two starts on short rest. If you tried to use three starters in the postseason now, you might be asking guys to do it five times.

Posted by: Jerry at August 3, 2006 2:58 PM

Daryl: lotsa laughs, that was funny. And yeah, there probably is some element of the "these youngsters aren't anywhere near as good as we were" thing going on.

Jerry, excellent point on the length of the postseason. Certainly, the more famous 3-day-rest starts in the playoffs in recent times have come in the WS, and not earlier rounds. Johnson in '01, Beckett...I think there's another one I can't remember. And the ChiSox's starters last year I think proved that these guys do have the stamina to go longer, if they were used that way, but I doubt Guillen or any other manager would have done that in the earlier rounds. It's kind of perverse, when you think about it, that in an age when managers go to the pen quicker than ever, a manager will leave his best pitchers in only in the most important games of the year, risking the very thing they try to avoid when pulling them in the 6th in all other circumstances. Of course, when there is no tomorrow, maybe not.

Posted by: thom at August 3, 2006 4:19 PM

I agree, jerry. Fine point.

Posted by: Mike at August 3, 2006 8:25 PM
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