Match-ups. They're usually a jumble of micro-splits and voodoo used as an excuse to give a veneer of truth to what's really just a bunch of guessing from the author. Good pitchers are usually good, except when they aren't. Good hitters are usually good, except when they aren't. In a short series, forget it. Aaron Rowand could have three home runs in this series just because baseball kind of likes to mess with us like that. Well, baseball isn't that drunk, but you get the point.
So I'm not going to freak out over individual match-ups. I'm not going to worry about which team has which ace starting for them. I'll just assume that the Giants will face good starting pitching for the rest of the playoffs. If a team is starting a no-hitter tossing ace who will be revealed as the illegitimate love-child of Tom Seaver when the DNA tests come back, that’s fine. Hope for three broken-bat singles in a row. If a team is starting Livan Hernandez after a round of tetanus shots, fine. Don't take it for granted that he'll have a bad start. Match-ups? Nah. It's the playoffs. Weird stuff happens. Hope it happens in the right way for the right team.
With that out of the way, man, I don't like these match-ups. Sinkerballers with control who pitch to contact? Oh. Oh, my. If I could create a Serpentor-like pitcher designed just to shut the Giants down, he'd have the DNA of Derek Lowe and Tim Hudson. Lowe has pitched just over 1000 innings against the Giants in his career, compiling an ERA of 3.02, and...
Wait, that should be "100 innings." Feels like 1,000. Seventeen starts, 12 of them were quality starts. And he still has that Dodger stink about him – that unmistakable combination of brimstone, rotting mammoth, and exhaust fumes. You can’t just go to Bed, Bath, & Beyond to find something that will get rid of that. Even if Lowe didn’t have a crazy-good September, he’d still scare me. Someone needs to slip him a fake dossier that reads that the Giants can’t hit belt-high sinkers. Hey, it was true last year.
Hudson mowed the Giants down in April, and he pitched them well twice in August. He just won the Comeback Pitcher of the Year for the NL, just like Francisco Liriano. Hint, hint, baseball gods. Anyone who had Hudson down for 230 innings this year is probably on their way to a Chingy concert, seeing as they’re living in 2003. While they’re there, maybe they can tell Felipe Alou to put Eric Young on the postseason roster instead of Scott Eyre.
Tommy Hanson is probably the most underrated pitcher in the National League. Well, except for Matt Cain.
|2010 - Matt Cain||13-11||35||33||4||2||0||0||223.1||181||84||78||22||61||177||3.14||1.08|
|2010 - Tommy Hanson||10-11||34||34||1||0||0||0||202.2||182||86||75||14||56||173||3.33||1.17|
Gentlemen, we have met the enemy, etc., etc….
Hanson seems to get cained quite a bit. Down south, they call that getting hanson’d. It’s a pop/soda/Coke kind of thing.
The bullpen for the Braves is fantastic, though a little nicked up. Takashi Saito isn’t on the roster, and three of the relievers on the roster are recent call-ups who have fewer than 30 innings pitched on the season, though they were good innings. Jonny Venters is what an optimist thinks Dan Runzler might become, and Billy Wagner is one of the most amazing specimens in baseball history, though he probably can’t grow an awesome beard at all.
I just can’t, can’t, can’t get over how evenly matched these two teams are. It’s kind of annoying.
Some pitchers on either side will underperform, and it will because they aren’t clutch. Don’t bother trying to figure out who just yet – retroactively go back and assign them the unclutch label after the results are in. That’s how science works.