Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Playing with match(up)s

It's kind of amusing to see Joe Girardi getting pilloried for switching from one right-handed reliever (David Robertson) to another (Alfredo Aceves) in mid inning.

Girardi outmanaged — by himself
says the Daily News.

This is the way managers handle their bullpens nowadays — playing matchups.

Or playing with matches. Eventually they find somebody who doesn't have it that day, and then they get burned.

Girardi isn't going into detail on why he wanted Aceves rather than Robertson in the 11th inning after Robertson got the first two outs: "It's just different kind of stuff against those hitters. We have all the matchups and all the scouting reports, and we felt [Aceves] was a better matchup."

The scounting reports I've seen on Robertson say he has a quality fastball and curve; Aceves has average stuff, including a change. I suspect, therefore, that the Yankees scouting report says to use the change to get Howie Kendrick (above) out.

Aceves was the eighth pitcher Girardi used in Game 3. It took Girardi a while, but he found one without good stuff.

Girardi had been 5-0 running relievers in and out. Now he's 5-1. And he's still got CC Sabathia pitching Tuesday. The Fat Man has a way of making bullpens irrelevant.

Game 4 might be the key game of the ALCS. Sabathia's on short rest. If the Angels can knock him off, they might win this series. I remain doubtful.

Over in the other LCS, the Phillies are now one win away from a return to the World Series. And on paper, the Phillies have the advantage in every pitching matchup.

Of course, on paper, the Dodgers have the advantage when the games go to the bullpens, but on Monday, the Phillies pen was solid and the Dodgers closer failed.

I suspect the Phillies would love to see the Angels win the ALCS. That way they can line up Pedro Martinez for more warm-weather starts. I'm not sure how well his arm will respond to chilly weather.

And that I've turned my thoughts to how to handle Pedro in the World Series tell you what I think of the Dodgers' chances.

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