Results tagged ‘ Ballgames ’
Despite the Mets being painted as some kind of underdogs in Game 6, I really think they enjoy an edge over the Cardinals. Chris Carpenter isnt quite as good as his reputation suggests, but the Mets should win tonight primarily because they have to and the Cardinals do not.
To the extent that Maine capsizes, Willie Randolph, like Scarlett O’Hara before him, has to shoot his bullets today and worry about tomorrow tomorrow. Tony Larussa, a modern day Ashley Wilkes, may not opt to confront such harsh realities just yet, in the event Carpenter unravels. His best firemen, Kinney and Wainwright each went 1 and 1/3 Tuesday and might be unavailable or ineffective in a potential Game 7, if either pitched today in a loss.
And most signs point to Carpenter, who does have 5 complete games, requiring relief. Perhaps he was spooked when the NL’s best hitting team knocked him out after five on Friday the 13th, but we have little reason to think he will survive the seventh tonight. The Mets are not the suddenly feeble Padres, the only team Chris has pitched effectively against in several recent big pressure games.
We see the Cardinals either grabbing an early or midgame lead and the Mets scoring late to win it, quite possibly in a walkoff.
Tonight, both teams tabbed a pitcher who has no business starting in a League Championship. The Mets, behind Oliver Perez, won. They needed to. This series of rapidly diminishing returns is mercifully down to three games, which seems fitting since the Cards and Mets boast three reliable starters between them. Unfortunately for the Mets, two of them, Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan, pitch for St Louis.
Who’s going to win two of the remaining three games? Hard to say. To our Mongolian readers who may not have been apprised of the situation in the Ulan Bator papers, the New York Mets are the offensive class of the National League. Yet the Cards have the best hitter as well as an apparent pitching advantage the rest of the way.
That third effective musketeer, Tom Glavine, pitches Monday on three days rest, circumstances under which the 40 year old is usually ineffective. After that, returning to Shea, re-Flushing as it were, Cards Carpenter and Suppan meet Met Maine and any opposing Olivers ( Darren, Perez, maybe North and the musical! if things really get out of hand).
Carpenter has been shaky but is still the league’s best pitcher over the past two seasons and capable of a strong game. Those who nervously laugh off Suppan’s Saturday night special as a fluke should know that the Cardinals’ best, indeed the league’s best, pitcher since the All Star break was not Chris Carpenter, or any Cy Young notable, but an unassuming journeyman named Jeff Suppan(2.39 ERA). And unlike Carp, who struggles on the road, Suppan hasnt yielded a run in his last 20 IP away from Busch.
Needless to say, the team that wins Game 5 will be the commanding favorite to take the flag. Expect both teams to come out like a bat out of ****, as if tomorrow were a Game 7, with the off day Tuesday. It should be fun and we have no idea who to favor – but if there is a genuine Game 7 at Shea, based on the pitching matchup, we like the Cardinals in a road upset.
It’s uncanny, almost comical, how Brandon Webb’s superlative season has been upstaged and undermined. When Brandon went 8-0, the talk of the town was quickpickin’ Bronson Arroyo. After settling (declining, if you prefer) into the role of one of the league’s two best starters, Webb took a back seat all year to Chris Carpenter, even into mid September, when Webb led Carp in Wins and Quality Starts as well as ERA and Run Support, adjusted for dramatic differences in park factor and schedule strength.
Now, the late buzz understandably follows Roy Oswalt, despite the fact Webb has pitched better(.156 BAA, 0.64 WHIP, 2.23 ERA) in September than any Cy Young contender, including the red hot Astro stalwart.
Locally, Webb quietly twirls masterpieces obscured by twin towers. One is the elongated shadow of Randy Johnson, who’s standard none of today’s NL best can match. To many Diamondbacks fans, Brandon is "no Randy Johnson". They’re right – but neither is Roy Oswalt or Chris Carpenter. The other shadow is cast, not by Curt Schilling, but by Luis Gonzalez. This week, every time Gonzo approaches the plate, catches a ball on the run, or wiggles his butt, a standing ovation ensues for the enormously popular face of the franchise. This will be triply true tomorrow, on the last day of the season, slated to pay homage to 2001′s departing heroes – Luis, Counsell and most likely, Miguel Batista.
So, Webb will be aiming, again, for his league leading 17th victory and ostensibly the Cy Young Award, barely noticed amidst Sunday’s nostalgic love fest. And as he faces the playoff bound Padres for the fifth time this year, Bob Melvin is faced with a conundrum. Fifty thousand fans will fill Chase Ho Park to see Counsell and Gonzalez play one last time. Woody Williams, Sunday’s starter, owns those two as much as a pitcher can possibly own a pair of veteran hitters. And Melvin wants to field his best lineup to help his unheralded ace win.
Brandon Webb’s Cy Young quest, and the interests of fans and veteran heroes will be pitted against each other. Barring a miracle, someone will get shortchanged Sunday.
Last night, the Diamondbacks shattered their 2006 single game attendance mark, set back on Opening Day.
Unfortunately, they were in Dodger Stadium at the time – where there may have been more beach balls than actual Diamondbacks fans.
The "quality start" from Orlando Hernandez was hardly that, considering the venue and HP umpire Angel Hernandez’ notoriously expansive strike zone. Are those guys hermanos, or what?
Yielding 3 runs in 6 IP isnt unacceptably flammable, but it’s fiery enough to lose lots of night games in LA. "Reliever" Greg Aquino poured kerosene on El Duque’s embers. At least he and Chris Snyder intelligently relied on the remnants of Aquino’s fastball sparingly, as the Dodgers hammered most of them. Aquino looked exhausted, perhaps from his seven innings of work this year.
Personally, I prefer liberal strike zones – maybe not quite as large as Hernandez’ – but large enough where a pitcher can work an inch off one side of the plate or get a strike around the ribcage. Did anyone catch Thursday’s SF/AZ "slugfest" enabled by HP umpire Rob Drake? Yeah, the game with 16 runs and 15 walks. Drake’s strike zone was the size of a dog dish.
If you haven’t found it yet, today’s game account in The Arizona Republic is relegated to page 10 of the sports section, behind not just Phoenix Suns’ pieces, but all the other ball scores, hockey and even an NFL piece.
Even the obligatory ******* ad is on page 9.