Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
August 21, 2006

I don't really know what else to say at this point about the dire situation the Mets face in October if they can't get Pedro and Glavine healthy. Matt Cerrone has the grim outlook. But let's think about it this way: if the season ended today, the Mets would face the Reds in the NLDS, with the Cardinals facing the Dodgers. If Pedro but not Glavine is available, the matchups would be something like this:

Game 1: Pedro vs. Bronson Arroyo. Significant advantage: Mets.

Game 2: El Duque vs. Aaron Harang. Harang's been better two years running, but I'd feel OK about this matchup given the Mets' offense. Glavine vs. Harang would be much better.

Game 3: Trachsel vs. Eric Milton. Tie on your hittin' shoes, boys, this is gonna be a long night. Advantage Mets solely on the basis of their offense.

Game 4: Maine vs. ... Elizardo Ramirez? Kyle Lohse? Anyway, someone I would trust significantly less than John Maine.

Game 5: Pedro/Arroyo again.

How about the other two NL teams? The Cards have Carpenter, whose odds of staying healthy through October are similar to Pedro's. Beyond him, though, Mulder has been injured and ineffective, Jason Marquis has a 5.70 ERA and Jeff Suppan a 5.03 and Jeff Weaver 6.07 - none of those guys looks much better than Trachsel. Young Anthony Reyes, with less big-league experience than Maine, may be their #2, and their offense has all sorts of cavities.

The Dodgers are another story, with Brad Penny apparently healthy for the moment, Derek Lowe in a second-half groove, and Greg Maddux having righted the ship since arriving in LA, plus a good if likely unsustainable ERA from wild rookie Chad Billingsley (much like Maine and Reyes, Billingsley has all of 12 big-league starts to his name). Even Aaron Sele has, inexplicably, not been awful. I don't like the Dodgers' rotation all that much, and a healthy Pedro-Glavine would match the Mets up with them fairly well, but right now they are the only team on the NL playoff slate that really puts the Mets in a hole even if they go with Pedro + grab bag.

Of course, the World Series is another matter.

UPDATE: Of course, Oliver Perez flirting with a no-hitter in AAA is good news, and makes some of his peripheral stats at Norfolk halfway respectable, but I'm not ready yet to trust Perez with a significant assignment. On the other hand, the performance of Dave Williams underscores the wisdom of his acquisition - not that he will ever be better than mediocre, but he's the kind of guy it helps to have hanging around AAA when you are desperately short of starters and want to avoid Lima Time.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:57 AM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

Reyes was sent down on Friday to make room for Preston Wilson.

It's looking like Weaver would be No. 2, right now, with three "quality starts" in a row. Still makes me nervous.

Let's just say us Cards fans are too optimistic about our postseason chances. We're 7-0 against the Dodgers this year, but that was during their 1-13 stretch and before Maddux.

Posted by: Nick at August 21, 2006 1:57 PM

I would guess Bannister will be returned to the rotation before Oliver Perez would - he's also been pitching well of late.

Posted by: Jerry at August 21, 2006 3:20 PM

Can the NL manage to win a single game in the World Series this year?

I can't see anyone going up against New York, Detroit, Chicago, Minnesota or Oakland and even coming close.

The Mets should still win the NL, but I'm not as convinced as I once was about a month ago.

Posted by: jake at August 21, 2006 4:10 PM

Now that Glavine may be done for the season, the teams that make the playoffs in the NL will be, in my opinion, more or less equally mediocre.

The loss of Glavine probably drops the Mets chances in a 5 game set from 65-35 to maybe 55-45 or even a coinflip.

I'm a Cards fan too, and we can only hope that Mark Mulder drinks some magic potion between now and the playoffs (knock on wood, even MAKING the playoffs is now in question). He hasn't been playing well in his AAA rehab starts, and he is returning to the majors within a week (i think). I think he'll get shellacked in his comeback start.

Posted by: jcombs at August 21, 2006 4:52 PM

Assuming Cincy gets to set their rotation for that potential first round matchup, Harang is definately their #1 guy, and Arroyo #2. ESPN seems to have designated Arroyo as the ace of the staff, but it simply isn't true.


Posted by: JVS at August 21, 2006 10:57 PM

I have to think the Reds and Dodgers would make the most sense as far as NL favorites go, but that is as of right now.

Mets have the lineup, but Steve Traschel is their top starter right now? Eeek.

Posted by: Jake at August 22, 2006 11:24 AM
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