Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Do we feel lucky?

With the unexpected blowout of Greinke yesterday, Houston has decided to flip the script and pitch Verlander against the Witness Protection Rays tonight.

Did we just get a break?  Is this an unforced error?

Chances are it will work out for the Astros.  Verlander, we're told, is the oldest pitcher to be working on short rest in a postseason game since Andy Pettitte in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series, and that worked out just fine.

Or did it?  Pettitte gutted it out, leaving with a 7-3 lead.  But he did give up 4 hits, 5 walks, and 3 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings—not exactly Sandy Koufax, who worked several times in October on short rest, and was lights out as usual.

Had it not been for how a better pen than the one we have now carried us home, we might've been in trouble.

The record is very mixed on this.  Guys like Jim Lonborg (Cy Young winner that year) and Bruce Hurst could not pull it off in the 1967 and 1986 World Series, respectively, even after dominating earlier in those Series.  Kershaw has tried it a couple times and been hit hard, as I recall.

On the other hand, there was the ever-annoying (and much younger) Josh Beckett, who shut us down in 2003.  And let's not even talk about Derek Lowe in 2004.

There is not a big risk factor here for Houston.  Chances are that Verlander, a great pitcher, will be just fine.  And if he's not, Houston can come back with a rested Gerrit Cole, who has been unbelievable, at home.

Still, that would mean neither one would be available to start in Game 1 against the Yanks.  It would have to be Greinke, whom we're told didn't have the touch on his pitches because of too much rest.  He would be almost as rusty.

And who is to say how much pitching more innings, on less rest, takes out of a veteran pitcher at the end of the season?

Baseball men like to pretend that, in big games or at the end of the season, rest doesn't matter.  That by getting up for the big games, you will overcome any and every amount of physical fatigue.

That is a giant cartload of baloney, particularly for pitchers, whose arms only have so many pitches in them.  Joe Torre's constant refusal to believe that pitchers wear out led him to push The Great One into the disasters of 2001 and 2004—and to pitch numerous set-up men right out of baseball.

Even so great a hurler as Christy Mathewson had a flame-out game back in the make-up of the Merkle game in 1908.  Mathewson knew from the beginning that his arm had nothing.  He was able to get by on guile for several innings, then got hit.

It happens, even to the best of them.  And what managers never seem to comprehend is that even if pitchers can gut it out, they're not necessarily the same.

Bobby Valentine was sure that Al Leiter could get Luis Sojo in a big situation.  And probably, in most games, he could.  But Al Leiter at 143 pitches, at the end of the year, was not Al Leiter.

Win or lose against TB, will Verlander be Verlander against our boys?

Maybe, maybe not.  But it seems to me an unnecessary risk for the Astros to take.  They should have kept Miley on the bench, pitched him in Game 4, and then used Verlander, fully rested, in Game 5.  They have—maybe—given us an opening.











16 comments:

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Verminlander 57 pitches in 2 innings. Nice.

Platoni said...

After 3 he's at 69. NICE

TheWinWarblist said...

And he gave up three runs in the 1st, nice nice NICE NICENICENICE !!!

Rufus T. Firefly said...

buh-bye!

TheWinWarblist said...

ANNNNNND Verlander is out after 3.2 innings having given up 4 runs. No problem going on short rest. No problem.





Fuck you Hal.

ranger_lp said...

Hope for game 5 and it goes 22 innings...

TheWinWarblist said...

Ranger from your lips to Verlander's exploding hemorrhoids. Preferably injuring Cole and Altuve with a lethal spray of crap shrapnel.



Hal? Hal? HAL!?? Fuck you.

ranger_lp said...

Not sure MLB would like a TB vs Washington WS...

Rufus T. Firefly said...

They might want Washington -- helps with keeping the anti-trust exemption.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Oh, please, oh please! One inning more!

This is ridiculous, though. They seem to be playing an hour an inning. Really, we're talking over 3 1/2 hours for a 4-1 game.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Wow, DAVE Pagan could have done that bad. He could barely put a ball in the strike zone.

Is TB going to blow this?

13bit said...

Let's keep it in the day, people, in the moment. Tomorrow is tomorrow.

And please, not more cussing, fighting and fisticuffs, No more drinking, spitting, swearing, shitting, fucking and vomiting all over this blog. Let's act like we're in a tea parlor, rather than a house of ill repute.

Let me get the ball rolling by saying "FUCK YOU, HAL."

Oasisdave said...

Would be amazing if Houston and LA both choked and got booted.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And just to appease Dr. Bogadan and the rest of the JuJu gods, Oasisdave, I will add that we are perfectly capable of losing to TB or Washington. Or Atlanta or even St. Louis, for that matter.

But boy, would I love to get those Astros out of the way!!

At least, I would like that 22-inning game. And at least, they have been pushed.

Jeff Mendelson said...

WIth HOU's loss, Cole SHOULD win on Thursday. That would leave us facing Greinke in Game 1 on HOU, Verlander in game 2 and Cole in game 3 (in NY). After that, who knows? If Greinke stinks, we might face Miley in game 4 in NY then back with Verlander again in game 5. Either way, the ALCS is going to be a long series no matter WHO we play. GO YANKS!!!!!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Very true, Jeff. We will be a heavy underdog no matter what. But at least they will be less rested.