Thursday, October 19, 2006

Does it make a difference whch team wins the NLCS?

I have to say that I'm delighting in the fact that the NLCS going to a 7th game can do nothing but help the Tigers' championship ambitions. As the Tigers are resting and getting healthy, both the Mets and Cardinals are struggling to stay above water, literally and figurtively. They are just trying to survive long enough to get to the World Series. Their series has turned into a war of attrition.

Last team who can put decent, let alone healthy, arm on the mound,wins.

After watching the majority of all 6 NL games so far, I have to ask. Anyone else totally underwhelmed by the NLCS? Not so much in the competitve sense, but in that neither team has looked all that impressive. The Mets and Cards have the appearance of teams that wouldn't have even made the AL playoffs. It's been prime evidence that the AL is a much deeper and talented league, playing a better brand of baseball.

Saying that he Mets pitching staff is in shambles is being generous to a fault. At this point, Willie Randolph has to be looking on Craigslist for pitching, and by judging the results, without much luck. Without Pedro and El Duque, it's nothing more than Tom Glavine, an ineffective Billy Wagner, and a bunch of never-weres and wannabes.

I'll give all the credit in the world to John Maine, as he did come through for Randolph and the Mets. But Maine even starting game 6 was not due to how good he might be, but that they were in pure desperation mode and had no one else. My GOD, the Mets are starting Olvier Perez tonight, he of the 3-13 record with a 6.55 ERA! Ian said it best, it's the equivelant of the Tigers starting Jason Grilli in a game 7. And unquestionably, I'd have more faith in Grilli...

The Mets' everyday lineup can throw a scare into you, especially with Reyes, Beltran, Delgado, and Wright, but as with most NL teams, there is no punch at the bottom of the order. They are capable of scoring plenty of runs, but I doubt the Mets can score enough to cover for their less than sterling pitching.

For that matter, the less said about their defense, the better. But you have to admit that it has been entertaining as all Hell to watch Shawn Green flail about aimlessly in right field, though...

The Cardinals pitching staff is in a little better shape, but not by much. Sure, they have Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan. Adam Wainwright has been a lifesaver filling in for Jason Isringhausen. But any team that is pinning their hopes on Jeff Weaver is NOT a team that I would want to pin my own hopes. We in Detroit can vouch for that...

The Cards may have the scariest player in all of baseball in Albert Pujols, but the Mets, horrid pitching and all, have shown that he can be kept in check. Pujols can be pitched around, thanks to the Cards having either the rapidly aging and dinged up Jim Edmonds, or the never-was that is Juan Encarnacion, hitting behind him. Factor in that Scott Rolen is hurt and can't hit fastballs, or will even talk to Tony LaRussa, and the Cardinals don't put the fear of God, let alone Jebus, into anyone.

I don't want to be overconfident about the Tigers' chances going into the World Series. But without question the Tigers are more talented, have a deeper lineup 1-9, play superior defense, and have better, and healthier, pitching than either the NL team they might face. Odds are that whatever team comes out of the NL will be emotionally and physically spent, with next to no time to recover before playing the Tigers. They just want to get to the World Series, and then worry about how to win it...

Picking which NL team you'd prefer to face the Tigers isn't like picking your poison. It's more comparable to picking your pesky annoyance.


  1. Look at you getting cocky already...keep in mind that you're a Tigers fan.

  2. My condolences on the Mets loss, Doc. One question, though. Why wasn't Wagner pitching the 9th?

  3. I had no problem with keeping Heilman in for one more inning. He frequently pitched more than 1 inning during the regular season plus Wagner always seems to struggle in non-save situations.

    My problem with the 9th was using Cliff Floyd with two men on and nobody out. Its tough to give up an out in the ninth but Willie should have sent up Glavine to bunt the tying runs into scoring position for the top of the order. Reyes excels in RBI situations.