Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Future Opponents for World Series

Things do not look good for the Mets right now. Before the NLCS, I would have said that’s a good thing, but the Cardinals are beating the Mets so I’m not sure anybody should get excited to play the Cardinals instead of the Mets. Last night, the Cardinals beat them 4-2 to take a three games to two lead in the series. It’s certainly not over, but the Cardinals are sending their best pitcher to the mound tonight against the Mets’ John Maine. If the Mets are able to pull out the win tonight, nobody seems to know who would be their Game 7 starter.

So what does all this mean for the Tigers? The Cardinals winning tonight would mean Jeff Suppan would be available for Game 1 of the World Series on Saturday. Jeff Weaver would probably go on Sunday, and Chris Carpenter would take the mound for Game 3. Those are assumptions on my part, but I don’t wear the genius goggles Tony LaRussa does, so there could be something I’m missing. If the Mets pull off the win tonight and the Cardinals win Game 7, that would throw a monkey wrench into things for the Cards’ Game 1 plans. Suppan and Carpenter would be off-limits and if they gave the ball to Weaver, he’d be going on three days’ rest and they still have to figure out who’s going to go in Game 2. Of course, they could go with Carpenter on three days’ rest as well. As a Tiger fan, I like the idea of their lineup getting to face two straight starters going on three days’ rest.

The more logical course for Game 1 would seem to be something like what the Cardinals did for Game 4 of this series, which was start with Anthony Reyes and go to the bullpen early. Then they would be able to go to Weaver, Carpenter and Suppan all on their normal rest or longer. They could go with Weaver on short rest for Game 1 and then look to Reyes and the bullpen for Game 2, but that would be very risky. If Weaver was chased early in Game 1, they’d be kind of screwed either leaving Reyes in longer than they would like or going to a haggard bullpen. When you look at things this way, it’s pretty amazing how big tonight’s game becomes for the Cardinals. That’s on top of the fact that if they don’t win tonight, they’re on the road for a Game 7 and will face a very real possibility of their starters all getting four months rest before their next start.

I don’t really know why there seems to be so many questions about who would pitch a Game 7 for the Mets. It would be Trachsel’s turn in the rotation, and the fact that they have him in their rotation at all suggests to me that they don’t really have a whole lot better option behind him. You certainly wouldn’t want to put your World Series ticket on Oliver Perez on short rest, would you?

If the Mets do pull this series out, they will be hard pressed for starters in the first two games of the World Series. They could pitch Glavine in Game 1, but it would be on three days’ rest and assuming Trachsel starts tomorrow, that would leave Oliver Perez as their only other option. Again, if I were Willie Randolph, I’d risk Perez in Game 1 to go to my best pitcher, Glavine, on normal rest for Game 2.

I don’t know if this little exercise in possibilities clears things up for you, but it certainly cleared up two things for me. First, I don’t really care who wins this series, but I am definitely rooting for the Mets tonight. If a Game 7 is forced, whoever wins that game will have to scramble to get anything close to good pitching on the mound for Game 1 against the Tigers. Secondly, I am going to be pissed if the Tigers get beat by either of these teams’ rotations.

Go Mets (in Game 6).

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