Monday, October 10, 2005

October Anxiety

As if there weren't enough worries in life, I've added a few more over the last couple of days:
  • I'm worried about the Cardinals' bullpen. If one only looked at the final scores of the San Diego games, one might think the Cardinals won easily (which, for the most part, they did). But what you would miss is how the bullpen came in to make blowouts much closer than they should have been. I can see it coming a mile away--as soon as Tony LaRussa takes a good starting pitcher out to play his righty/lefty games, things start falling apart. Why, why, WHY would you ever bring Julian Tavarez into a game under any circumstances? LaRussa does it all the time, and always pays a heavy price for it. I see it coming, you see it coming, everyone in the ballpark sees it coming, and everyone watching on TV sees it coming. The only one who doesn't see it coming is LaRussa, who does it over and over again.
  • I'm worried about the Astros pitching. In a short series, does anybody want to be facing Pettitte, Clemens, and Oswalt? Add to that reliever Brad Lidge (who made the Cardinals in last year's NLCS look like blindfolded children swinging at a piƱata), and things become worrisome indeed.
  • Did I mention how worried I am about the Cardinals' bullpen? In game one, "closer" Jason Isringhausen was brought into the 9th to extricate the Cards from a first-and-third jam, and instead gave up four straight hits before finally getting out of the inning. That's fine in an 8-2 game, but won't be too great in a 3-2 nail-biter.
  • I also have some concerns about the Cardinals' bullpen. Taverez and Brad Thompson (who I'd never even heard of until last week) each have 13.50 ERA's for the post-season so far.
Which leads me to a letter I've been meaning to write:
Dear Mr. LaRussa, ESQ.,

I'm no expert, and while you are the third winningest manager in baseball history, I have yet to win even one game. But I do have two eyes and a calculator. And in running the numbers, I've come to the conclusion that whatever statistical advantage you think you might be getting from a righty-lefty matchup is, in my opinion, largely erased by pitchers with 13.50 ERA's. Perhaps you could consider allowing your starters, who amassed the lowest staff ERA in the league this year, to continue to pitch in these situations so that we could go to another World Series.

I know you are reputed to be a genius, but in the bustle of it all, this might be an angle you haven't had a chance to consider.

Hey, you and I have a lot in common! I know you are an ardent animal rights advocate, and my family happens to own three adorable cats. We enjoy them a lot. They're cute and furry, and if you saw them, I know you'd just love them. I just wanted you to know that each time you bring Julian Taverez or Brad Thompson into a game in the Astros series, I will painfully kill one of them. Your call.

Have a great series!

John Rabe
Cardinals fan/junior mathematician

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