Monday, September 21, 2009

Enough With The Doomsayers Citing Others' 1-2 Punches

Yes, this weekend's series was only against the Giants. And we only took two of three from a weak offensive team struggling to keep its head above water in the Wild Card race, a team now 9.5 games behind our league-leading record (9.5 GB is almost halfway to Padre-ville).

But Sunday's win, which pinched vaunted Giants starter and last year's Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum early on in the contest, should start to quiet the common media refrain which cites the daunting powers of the top two starters of the Phillies, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee, as well as the Cardinals, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.

As of now, it's hard to tell which of those two teams we'll be playing first; Philly has surged to a 87-61 record thanks to an 8-2 count over the last twn games, while St. Louis has gone 4-6 to run its totals to 87-63. The Dodgers, at 90-60, will likely play the third-best record of the three teams, and right now, I'm split at which would be the better first-round opponent for us, in a five-game series where things can turn on a dime (see: James Loney's series-turning grand slam in Game 1 of last year's NLDS, crushing the Cubs with one mighty blow).

But taking Lincecum out in the fifth inning, leaving Timmah with a line that reads 4.0 IP, 5 ER, 3 Ks but 4 BBs, should give us confidence that we can roll with the best of them, and beat them. Yes, Lincecum is overcoming back problems and fatigue (which many SoSG readers have mentioned could exemplify the Giants' penchant for overusing young arms). But he had just gone out and pitched seven innings of one-run ball against Colorado the outing before; and, Lincecum does lead the league in strikeouts.

We've shown, all season long, that we can beat the Giants' #2 starter Matt Cain (who has never won against the Dodgers in his career), and yesterday we've shown we can finish off Lincecum (who had one win against the Dodgers in his three other starts this year). The Giants have two starters in the top four of league ERA leaders; and so do the Cardinals. And even though Lee's ERA would put him just outside the top 10 in the NL, Hamels' ERA is 30th in the league (behind Clayton Kershaw, Randy Wolf, Jon Garland, and even Chad Billingsley).

We can beat Timmah and Matty. Why couldn't we be just as successful against the top two arms from the Phils or Cards? Especially with Rafael Furcal finally heating up, and Ronnie Belliard on a mission--why not?

14 comments:

LLCoolL said...

Who do you think starts the first two games for the Dodgers? I'm thinking Wolf and Kuroda right now.

Mr. Customer said...

As always, there is no appreciable difference in sports punditry between conventional wisdom and accepted fact. I'm hoping for a NLDS rematch with the Phils and a LA/CO NLCS only because the Cards always Albert Pujols is always stealing our lunch money, not because of any perceived superiority of their rotation.

rbnlaw said...

Wolf, Kuroda, Kershaw, Garland.

Bills needs to get his groove back ASAP.

I almost felt a little sorry for Timmah yesterday as he appeared to be throwing, or at least following through, in pain.

Almost.

koufax said...

does torre have the stones to start belliard over hudson in the playoffs?

LLCoolL said...

I think Hudson starts game 1, but Belly #2 will see some significant PT.

Fred's Brim said...

I really hope Chad figures things out and shuts everybody up. I am visualizing a good performance against Washington this week and then a shutdown performance against the Padres or Rockies (depending on how Joe spaces his starts). That will set him up for another (several) good start in the playoffs

Mr. Customer said...

OT for Dusty,

Can sharks with laser beams on their heads be far behind?

rbnlaw said...

Vin keeps saying that it's nothing physical with Bills, which is too bad. Physical can heal faster than mental. Ask Rick Ankiel.

The Belli#2 hullabaloo is a tempest in a teapot. Go with the hot hand as long as the defense doesn't suffer, all will be well.

Dusty Baker said...

Mr Customer-

Roman has to spend his money on SOMETHING now that it seems he can't use it in the transfer window for awhile!

rbnlaw said...

Mr. C:
All that and he still can't get a cup delivered to Stamford Bridge?

And were the lasers developed by the noted physicist, Alan Parsons?

Mr. Customer said...

@rbnlaw,

No, but there is a stipulation in the purchase contract that the yacht must be captained by either Grace Jones or Richard Kiel.

Dusty Baker said...

Damn, RB, harsh on groggy Monday morning.

We got a Cup last year (FA) it should be noted. Not the one we want, though.

Dusty Baker said...

Alan Parsons is still working on that Project.

Mr. Customer said...

@dusty, rbnlaw

The relative snark of comments is directly proportional to separation in the standings, usually.

@Everyone else

Sorry for commandeering the thread! Back to our regularly scheduled programming.