Friday, October 22, 2004
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Today the Twins Geek analyzes the worth of Twins free agent pitcher Brad Radke.
LET THE WORLD SERIES BEGIN:
Red Sox/Cardinals Preview
Get used to it. If you're going to be watching baseball in the next week, be prepared to see a lot of red. Last night, the St. Louis Cardinals got a game-tying double by Albert Pujols and it was followed by a two-run shot by Scott Rolen. The Cards added an insurance run, and following a perfect ninth inning by Jason Isringhausen, the Cardinals were back in the World Series.
The NLCS was the far less publicized series, but it was the far better played series as well! There was good hitting, but there was also good pitching. There was even good defense. The games were just far better.
But now it is a new series. No, it may not be as big as the Yankees/Red Sox series was, but the Fall Classic, the World Series, is still going to be played on a high stage. Today, I am going to preview the World Series matchup between the Cardinals and Red Sox, just as I did when the Twins played the Yankees in the ALDS. I have developed a formula that proved to be pretty accurate in that series (even though I went against my numbers and picked the Twins to win). So, let's see if we can predict who will win the World Series. Will the Red Sox end their Curse, or will the Cardinals win their first World Series in 22 years?
I certainly know who I will be cheering for. No question, the St. Louis Cardinals. But, my goal is to set my prediction based on what the below numbers show me. Some of this, for examples the definitions and calculations will be the same as the Twins/Yankees predictions from three weeks ago, but obviously, the matchups will all be different.
I hope you enjoy what you read and if you have any thoughts on the World Series matchup or anything, please e-mail me.
Many people say that baseball is 1/3 hitting, 1/3 pitching and 1/3 defense. I disagree. I believe that there are just two parts to baseball. First, is hitting, offense, the ability to score runs. The second is not allowing the other team to score runs by pitching and defense. So, I am going to use my theory to develop an equation (which I will explain more below) to show who will win this series.
Sound fun? Letís get to the analysis and see how it goes:
HITTING (50%) and FIELDING (10%)
Letís take a look at the positional matchups for this series:
Red Sox - Jason Varitek (.296/.390/.482, 30 doubles, 18 HR, 73 RBI)
Cardinals - Mike Matheny (.247/.292/.348, 22 doubles, 5 HR, 50 RBI)
Clearly Varitek is the better offensive player of these two. But Matheny is one of the best catchers defensively in all of baseball. Varitek caught a lot of innings and pitches in the Yankees series, but he does get an extra day off before the World Series starts. Matheny also just caught a Game 7.
Hitting - Varitek (3.5 bat), Matheny (1.5 bats)
Defense - Varitek (3.5 gloves), Matheny (4.5 gloves)
Red Sox - Kevin Millar (.297/.383/.474, 36 doubles, 18 HR, 74 RBI)
Cardinals - Albert Pujols (.331/.415/.657, 51 doubles, 46 HR, 123 RBI)
Kevin Millar is a very solid major league hitter. I mean, just look at his numbers. But in comparison to Albert Pujols is just not even fair. Pujols is one of the top two or maybe three hitters in all of baseball. His swing is perfect, for power or just putting the ball in play to drive in runs. Games 3-5 will be in St. Louis, and there will be no DH. At that time, Millar will either be on the bench or in right field, and David Ortiz will be manning 1B. I am not saying Ortiz is a great defensive first baseman, but from his days with the Twins, I always thought he was at least adequate. Defensively, he is no better and no worse than either Millar or Pujols.
Hitting - Millar (3 bats), Pujols (5 bats)
Defense - Millar (2.5 gloves), Pujols (2.5 gloves)
Red Sox - Mark Bellhorn (.264/.373/.444, 37 doubles, 17 HR, 82 RBI)
Cardinals - Tony Womack (.307/.349/.385, 22 doubles, 5 HR, 38 RBI)
Mark Bellhorn is vastly overrated by stat-heads. He does have a good isolated on-base percentage, but with the .264 average, it isn't great. He does have a little power. When he puts the ball in play, he is a good hitter. I just wish he would do just that. Tony Womack is a typical non-hitting middle infielder. But this year he at least hit for average and did a good job atop the Cardinals lineup. He doesn't get on via the walk too often, but he is solid, as long as he is at 100%.
Hitting - Bellhorn (3 bats), Womack (2.5 bats)
Fielding - Bellhorn (2 gloves), Womack (3.5 gloves)
Red Sox - Bill Mueller (.283/.365/.446, 27 doubles, 12 HR, 57 RBI)
Cardinals - Scott Rolen (.314/.409/.598, 32 doubles, 34 HR, 124 RBI)
Last season, Bill Mueller was the batting title champion. This year, he was hurt a bit and just didn't have nearly the productive season. That said, look at his numbers again, and they are not bad at all. Scott Rolen is one of the best all-around 3B of all-time. I don't even hesitate to say that. He can hit for average and power. He has a rocket arm and is as good as anyone at the hot corner.
Hitting - Mueller (3 bats), Rolen (5 bats)
Fielding - Mueller (4 gloves), Rolen (5 gloves)
Red Sox - Orlando Cabrera (.264/.306/383, 38 doubles, 10 HR, 62 RBI)
Cardinals - Edgar Renterria (.287/.327/.401, 37 doubles, 10 HR, 72 RBI)
Orlando Cabrera had a tough season based on what he has done in past years. He is an All-Star caliber hitter who has a Gold Glove caliber glove. No, he isn't Nomar Garciaparra offensively, but the fact that he isn't Nomar Garciaparra may be a good thing in its own way for this team. Edgar Renterria has been one of the top 2 or 3 shortstops in baseball the last two or three years. He had another solid season (although nowhere near his previous season). He is also a Gold Glove winner.
Hitting - Cabrera (3 bats), Renterria (4 bats)
Fielding - Cabrera (4.5 gloves), Renterria (4 gloves)
Red Sox - Manny Ramirez (.308/.397/.613, 44 doubles, 43 HR, 130 RBI)
Cardinals - Reggie Sanders (.260/.315/.482, 27 doubles, 22 HR, 67 RBI)
Manny Ramirez, offensively, fits into the same category as Albert Pujols. His sweet swing and power are incredible! Manny Ramirez, defensively, reminds me more of Juan Gonzalez or Glenallen Hill (believe me, that's not a compliment!). I really like Reggie Sanders and am happy for him. Why? Because of his two-year contract that will keep him in St. Louis for a second consecutive year. He's not a great player, but he is very solid and a winner.
Hitting - Ramirez (5 bats), Sanders (3 bats)
Fielding - Ramirez (1 glove), Sanders (3 gloves)
Red Sox - Johnny Damon (.304/.380/.477, 35 doubles, 20 HR, 94 RBI)
Cardinals - Jim Edmonds (.301/.418/.643, 38 doubles, 42 HR, 111 RBI)
This is quite the duo to be comparing. Both are really good, although very different, hitters. Both hit for average and both get on base. Both hit a lot of doubles. Now, Damon is a table-setter while Edmonds job is to know people in. Edmonds has plenty more power, which gives him the slight edge, but Damon put together a season (And a Game 7!) that is right up there with any leadoff hitter. And, both are very good defensive players. I am one who thinks that Edmonds is vastly overrated because of all of his diving catches. I question his range. Range is definitely not something that you can question with Damon. He gets to a lot. However, he is also the only player in baseball who throws as soft as Shannon Stewart!
Hitting - Damon (4.5 bats), Edmonds (5 bats)
Fielding - Damon (4 gloves), Edmonds (3.5 gloves)
Red Sox - Trot Nixon (.315/.377/.510, 9 doubles, 6 HR, 23 RBI - 48 Games)
Cardinals - Larry Walker (.298/.424/.589, 16 doubles, 17 HR, 47 RBI - 82 Games)
Both of these players came to their respective teams late this season. Larry Walker came to the Cardinals in a trade deadline deal. Trot Nixon came back from injury for the last 4-6 weeks of the season. Both are very good hitters. Injuries have taken away from what could have been a Hall of Fame career for Walker. Hopefully Nixon doesn't follow the same path! Defensively, both catch what they get to, but neither has good range. I give an edge to Walker because he has a rocket for an arm.
Hitting - Nixon (3 bats), Walker (4.5 bats)
Fielding - Nixon (3 gloves), Walker (3.5 gloves)
Red Sox - David Ortiz (.299/.381/.446, 31 doubles, 15 HR and 72 RBI)
Cardinals - ? (One bench player will likely play a position, with a position player DHing)
David Ortiz is an AL MVP candidate. He just won the ALCS MVP award. He has been getting big hit after big hit the last two years. It seems the bigger the stage and the bigger the situation, the more likely that he comes through (some might call that clutch!). The Cardinals bench players all have a certain ability to contribute to the team. But just looking at the list of bench players, one of which will have to DH or play a position and allow someone else to DH. These guys, as hitters, in no way compare to Ortiz. And really, isn't that what the DH is about? Hitting? That said, the DH is not even going to be in play in Games 3 through 5. Ortiz will certainly be inserted at 1B.
Hitting - Ortiz (5 bats), Cardinals DH (1.5 bats)
Red Sox - Doug Mientkiewicz, Pokey Reese, Gabe Kapler, Doug Mirabelli, Dave Roberts
Cardinals - Hector Luna, So Taguchi, Orlando Palmiero, Yadier Molina, John Mabry
The Red Sox certainly have the advantage here, although, I don't imagine that any of these players will contribute much to their teams. Mientkiewicz, Reese and Taguchi are excellent defenders. Dave Roberts can run, and both backup catchers are adequate.
I just don't see any of these players contributing, so I am again not going to give any gloves or bats to these players. Yes, I do think that the Red Sox bench is better though. But, what is so great about the World Series is that you never know who is going to play hero. Maybe one of these guys will get a chance and take advantage. It's the beauty of such a small sample size of games and at bats on such a big screen!
RED SOX - 33 bats, CARDINALS - 30.5 bats
RED SOX - 24.5 gloves, CARDINALS - 31 gloves
As I mentioned before, I believe that 50% of the game is trying to score runs (hitting) and 50% of the game is keeping the other team from scoring runs. That is done through pitching and defense. I have randomly determined that I think that pitching is the key, and that defense only aids a pitcher. So as you see above, I will give defense 10% grade while I will make pitching 40% of my equation. I will analyze the pitchers starting each game, and then the bullpens and closers. I will assign double the 'arms' for all but the Game 4 starters since we must assume that the other 3 matchups will be the same in Game 1 and 5, 2 and 6, 3 and 7.
This is an interesting matchup. The Red Sox have two bona-fide aces. They also have two guys who have had success in the big leagues. The Cardinals have four guys in their rotation who are all good major league pitchers, but they do not have an overpowering, dominating, ace-like pitcher. It is possible that Cris Carpenter could pitch in the World Series. He hasn't pitched since early September.
(NOTE - Stats for pitchers (W-L, ERA, WHIP, Opp BA, K per 9)
GAME 1 AND 5 STARTERS
Red Sox - Tim Wakefield (12-10, 4.87, 1.38, .264, 5.5)
Cardinals - Jason Marquis (15-7, 3.71, 1.42, .275, 6.2)
Some may think that the Red Sox should start either Schilling or Martinez in Game 1. But even on Wednesday night, before Pedro was brought in to pitch the seventh inning, I thought that Wakefield was the right choice for Game 1. First, he would be the most fresh. Martinez is best when rested, and we just don't know Schilling's status. Also, Wakefield's knuckleball, if on, could be the best remedy for the Cardinals lineup. Marquis finally had the breakout year that Braves fans had hoped for over the last five years! He has struggled in the playoffs, but can be very good too.
Red Sox - 7 arms, Cardinals - 6 arms
GAME 2 AND 6 STARTERS
Red Sox - Curt Schilling (21-6, 3.26, 1.06, .239, 8.1)
Cardinals - Woody Williams (11-8, 4.18, 1.32, .262, 6.2)
There is absolutely zero questioning just what Curt Schilling can do as a pitcher. It is also now impossible to question his heart and will. What he did in Game 6 was nothing short of amazing! But for this game, again, the status of his ankle will be important. Red Sox Nation can't expect him to duplicate his Game 6 numbers, and if he does, he should get a day, or even a week, named after him in Boston! Woody Williams really struggled at the beginning of the year, but you can tell by his numbers that he must have been far better as the season went along. Not at all overpowering, Williams has just been a very good pitcher for a lot of years!
Red Sox - 8 arms, Cardinals - 7arms
GAME 3 AND 7 STARTERS
Red Sox - Pedro Martinez (16-9, 3.90, 1.17, .238, 9.4)
Cardinals - Matt Morris (15-10, 4.72, 1.29, .266, 5.8)
You just have to question the decision to bring Pedro in for the 6th inning of Game 7. Had he not pitched, he could have pitched Game 2, and maybe even Game 1. Instead, he will not pitch until Tuesday. But he is always better when rested, so maybe this is a good thing. Also, remember that this sets him up to pitch if there is a Game 7. Matt Morris was an ace-like pitcher for a few years, but he was anything but quality this year, despite his 15-10 record. But he is still fully capable of putting together a great game.
Red Sox - 8 arms, Cardinals - 7 arms
GAME 4 STARTERS
Red Sox - Derek Lowe (14-12, 5.42, 1.61, .299, 5.2)
Cardinals - Jeff Suppan (16-9, 4.16, 1.37, .265, 5.3)
Derek Lowe was incredible in Game 7. That was incredible because he was absolutely horrible all year. But what a perfect time to find 'it' again! Can he return to that level again? Jeff Suppan was so bad after being acquired in a trade deadline deal to the Red Sox last year that he was left off the post-season roster. But he has been very good for the Cardinals this year, and none better than his Game 7 starts last night as well.
Red Sox - 2.5 arm, Cardinals - 3.5 arms
The Cardinals have been led out of the bullpen by Julian Tavarez. His broken hand leaves him a question mark. Kiko Calero and Danny Haren have both done well thus far. Ray King is a tough lefty and Cal Eldred can provide some innings.
Mike Timlin is the Red Sox best bullpen man. They have two lefties, Alan Embree and Mike Myers. Bronson Arroyo is out of the rotation and can pitch numerous rolls, as can Ramiro Mendoza.
Primary - Red Sox (Timlin, Embree) - 3.5, Cardinals (Tavarez, Calero) - 4
Secondary - Red Sox - 2.5 arms, Cardinals - 3 arms.
Keith Foulke has been good for the last couple of years. He throws fairly hard, but his pitch is his change up. People seem to forget just how bad he was with the White Sox in recent years, but again, he has been very good of late.
Jason Isringhausen is good! He throws hard and has lots of movement. He has had to pitch a lot in the last couple of games, but should be good by Saturday.
Red Sox - 4 arms, Yankees - 4 arms.
For the pitching portion, letís assume a 10 inning game (for mathematical purposes). We want a starter to go six innings (60%), the bullpen to pitch two innings (20%) and the closer to pitch one inning (10%). I add the extra inning to account for the rest of the bullpen, the guys that the managers really hope not to use. If a starter is unable to go six innings, or if secondary bullpen guys have to pitch, it hurts that team's chances.
Starters - Red Sox - 25.5 arms, Cardinals - 23.5 arms
Bullpen (Primary) - Red Sox - 3.5 arms, Cardinals - 4 arms
Bullpen (Secondary) - Red Sox - 2.5 arms, Cardinals - 3 arms
Closer - Red Sox - 4 arms, Cardinals - 4 arms.
Total = 0.6(Starters) + 0.2(Primary Bullpen) + 0.1(Secondary Bullpen) + 0.1(Closer))
Red Sox - 16.65
Cardinals - 15.6
OK, so letís put our formula into the perspective of the whole team. Remember my equation from the beginning:
0.5 (Hitting) + 0.4 (Pitching) + 0.1 (Fielding) - 100%
Hitting - Red Sox - 33, Cardinals - 30.5
Fielding - Red Sox - 24.5, Cardinals - 31
Pitching - Red Sox - 16.65 Cardinals - 15.6
To be mathematically accurate, we need to be looking at the same thing. We need to find a "normal." Since Iím a Twins fan, the Twins and in the American League, the Red Sox will be the normal. Letís change all of these numbers to a scale where the Twins number in each category is 100.
Hitting - Red Sox 100, Cardinals - 92.4
Fielding - Red Sox 100, Cardinals - 126.5
Pitching - Red Sox - 100, Cardinals - 93.7
And finally, letís put these numbers into our equation:
Red Sox - 0.5 (100) + 0.4 (100) + 0.1 (100) =100
Cardinals - 0.5 (92.4) + 0.4 (93.7) + 0.1 (126.5) = 96.33
So what does this tell us? First, the Red Sox may hold a slight advantage over the Cardinals in this series and should be favored. These are another two very evenly matched teams, and this could be an absolutely incredible World Series! I am actually, really looking forward to it!
It is important for the Cardinals to win one of the first two games at home. But both offenses are incredible and both pitching staffs are very solid. The only area were one team is clearly or vastly better than the other is defense, where the Cardinals are king!
But the fact is that you can look at all of the numbers above. You can try to predict who will do well based on who did well during the regular season. But to be truthful... all that means absolutely nothing at this point. All that matters is what happens in this small sample size, Best of 5 series. Who knows? Maybe Hector Luna or Doug Mientkiewicz will be the series MVP. Maybe Pedro will get shelled in Game 3 and someone Derek Low will throw a shutout in Game 4? That is what makes the playoffs so interesting. Everything is magnified. And we will likely have Joe Buck and Tim McCarver saying really dumb things the whole series. That is about the only thing I can really predict with any certainty. (Note - I should point out that Buck and McCarver both have strong ties to the Cardinals, so their analysis should not be too biased at all, I hope!) But, just for fun, let's finally give a series prediction.
Well, again, you know which team that I want to win, and you see which team gains a very slight advantage in my mathematical way of looking at the two teams. But baseball is a game that is not just about the numbers, it's about far more, especially in such a short series. I am going to stick with my prediction: Cardinals Win Series in SEVEN games.
What do you think? Can the Cardinals win? Will the Cardinals win? Send me your thoughts and predictions for the series? What are the keys? Who will be the MVP? Which player will totally step up in the limelight? What worries you? How with The Curse affect things? Or, what do you think of my analysis? Does my logic make sense to you? E-mail me your thoughts on this series.
If you have any questions or comments, please e-mail me.
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
The expert picks will be
available on Friday morning, so please check back by 10 or 11 a.m.
when they will be posted for the Week 7 games.
And that is it for today! Have
yourself a wonderful Friday before a great weekend!! Enjoy the World
Series! If you have any questions,
comments or ideas for future topics, please
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NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
The expert picks will be available on Friday morning, so please check back by 10 or 11 a.m. when they will be posted for the Week 7 games.
And that is it for today! Have yourself a wonderful Friday before a great weekend!! Enjoy the World Series! If you have any questions, comments or ideas for future topics, please e-mail me.
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