Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Gritty Attempt At a World Series Preview

Yeah yeah, I know what you're thinking. "A stupid Mets fan previewing the World Series. Why should I even read it? He's going to pick the Rays and explain why to try to comfort his team's wounded fan base and tell them not to worry because the Rays are better ... well screw him! Go Phillies! Ya Gotta Believe because, well you know ... Why Can't Us? Rays are teh suxor Go Phillies!!!!!!1111!!!!!"

And that was just from John Kruk.

Avg. John Kruk IQ=37
Can you beat that score?

Well, Kruk did pick the Phillies to win this series (along with his cohort Steve Phillips), and that tells me that this is a great time to help combat a bad economy and bet your house and your life savings on the Tampa Bay Rays. I mean, if those two are picking the Phillies, that makes the Rays as close to a mortal lock as you can get, no?

I'd leave it at that, except that I now find out that Peter Gammons has also picked the Phillies ... and that worries me because who doesn't like and respect Peter Gammons? So I'm going to step out of my Metstradamus persona, just for a moment, and be an outside observer who has watched more playoff baseball this season than any Met fan should have to endure (I knew all of you wouldn't, so someone had to. I took your bullet ... I took all your bullets.)

Here's the series from my perspective: Look, people who are picking the Phillies point to the bullpens. Yes, overall the Phils have a stronger bullpen right now due to the struggles of Grant Balfour and our old friend Dan Wheeler. Fair. But, for the Rays to be successful in the late innings, it's the lefties that are going to be successful for the Rays to win, and not necessarily the righties. And for the Rays, the lefthanders are pitching some great ball between J.P. Howell (whom I would love to be a Met next year but I know isn't going to happen so don't even get your hopes up kids) and former numero uno draft pick David Price.

People will point to the Game 5 debacle as to why the Rays can't possibly win this series. I point to that game as the reason they will win this series. What Joe Maddon learned during Game 5 is that he blew it not having lefties available to pitch to David Ortiz in the 7th inning of that game (he homered off Balfour) and J.D. Drew in the 8th (he homered off Wheeler), while having Price stuck in his holster. Maddon realized that if Price is on the postseason roster, why not use him ... especially with the 96 mph stuff he has? So in comes Price to close out the ALCS and now the entire planet will realize just how good Price is. He may not be the official closer this series, but if the lineup turns over to Utley, Burrell, Howard in the ninth, you'll see either Price or J.P. Howell ... and Wheeler will save the games where the ninth inning features Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz, and the like. It'll be the quality lefties that will force Charlie Manuel to either empty his bench earlier than he wants to, or be forced to hit Matt Stairs and Greg Dobbs to hit against the Howells and the Prices of the world.

Look at that smirk to your right. Men with smirks that pronounced really outgha be punched. (Boy, Metstradamus ... you've had violent tendencies lately, what's up with that?)

But here's fact: If the Phillies are to have any chance in this series, Cole Hamels needs to pitch three times. As of right now, Hamels is only slated to go in Games 1 and 5. Okay, if you want to flirt with disaster. Because let's lay it out in a nutshell: Cole Hamels is a straight beast. He's their best starter by about 3.5 miles. To not have him available in a Game 7 is murderous especially when you consider how the matchups play out.

Right now, Met-hater Brett Myers is due to pitch in Games 2 and 6 in Tampa. During the playoffs, Myers has been a cult hero for outdueling CC Sabathia, and morphing into Mike Schmidt against the Dodgers. But those games were in Philadelphia. Myers will have to pitch two games on the road where he has a 6.21 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP in 16 road starts this season. To be fair, most of that non-success came before his month long odyssey to find himself in the minors, but even career wise there's a spike in Myers' ERA, WHIP, and opponents average on the road as opposed to home.

I have a feeling that if the Phils find themselves down 2-1 headed into Game 4, they may rethink this and go with Hamels on Sunday. If that happens, we've got a series. But there's a reason that teams with more rest heading into the Series get crushed: Baseball is a game of timing. It's not like football which is a game which is as much about brute strength and force as it is about timing ... that's why top seeds in the NFL have a huge advantage coming off a bye week ... it's essential to be more rested in a game where bumps and bruises are a way of life.

That advantage doesn't exist in baseball, which relies on routine and regular work. The Phillies will head into the Series on six days rest, and now all of a sudden they get thrown into action against Scott Kazmir?

(Pauses to mutter a silent curse under his breath towards Jim Duquette regarding Kazmir.)

Take for example Ryan Howard, who hit a quiet .300 during the LCS, and who is a notoriously slow starter. Now you're asking him to face Scott Kazmir cold. Not an optimal situation for a guy who the Phillies really need to step up.

So my official prediction is Rays in 6. And now I step back into my persona to tell Mets fans that after reading that, it really is okay to come out from your hiding place. It's not going to get any worse. The Curse of William Penn will live on. So it's safe to find seats on the Rays bandwagon (preferably seats that keep us out of the way so that the real Rays fans continue to get prime viewing areas) and watch the Series. And if Rays fans have a problem with that, all I can say is that hey, you owe us one.

After all, we did provide you Kazmir in exchange for a tuna fish sandwich.


James Allen said...

After all, we did provide you Kazmir in exchange for a tuna fish sandwich.

Not really, after all, a tuna fish sandwich can be tasty and it provides sustenance, however briefly. A better comparison is to an expired can of green beens with a big dent in it.

Scott Kazmir pitching game 1 of the World Series. It's simply a trade that will never stop giving.

I agree with you, Rays in six.

mistermet said...

You mean a tuna fish sandwich with a torn up elbow (or fin...whatever appendage tuna has).

Charity said...

Hunny you forgot Americas Next Top Model is on tonight at 8. I will be watching that instead of this crap.

Rickey Henderson said...

phucking philth... arrr, Rickey is unamused.

Statler said...

On the other hand, you acquired Santana for four stale ham sandwiches, so it evens out.

Metstradamus said...

No it doesn't.

Trading Santana was born out of financial necessity. Whether you think Pohlad is cheap or not is another story, but that was a financial decision.

Trading Kazmir was stupid.

YaGottaBelieve said...

Boy, you really nailed this one.

Rays were lucky to win one game.

Metstradamus said...

I'm not responsible for any money you might have put on the Rays after reading this. :)