Just thought I would throw in a bonus blog…
The crew chief umpire said and I quote. “The objective is to get it right, we asked each other what we had seen and the replay confirmed we were right.” WHAT? How is it possible that no reporter asked a follow-up question, say something like, “what replay were you watching?” This quote actually scares me. Even Howard knew, Howard said, “did I catch it?” “Well he called him out.” Now, my point is not to criticize the poor umpiring, but how could the crew chief say that?
My only hope is that Rivera, who was “forced” to throw 22% more pitches than he has thrown during any game this year (32 was his high before this 39) because we didn’t have a lead big enough for Girardi to feel comfortable enough to mix and match for a few more outs, will not have any loss of effectiveness moving forward. It is very possible he will struggle giving us an inning tonight. My hope is that our offense, which has really struggled most of the playoffs, gets on track and gives us a large enough lead where Rivera can rest one more day.
The offense needs to put up a big day and earn their paychecks over the next two days. Blanton is scheduled to pitch on Sunday and he is a guy we should be able to knock around if we were swinging well. Philly made an interesting decision holding Lee back and it is one that I am glad they did. He has never pitched on 3 days rest, but I don’t think it is as big a deal as some people are making it out to be. I know many pitchers are creatures of habit. Lee (and most pitchers) normally rests for 2 days then has a bullpen session on the 3rd day followed by one more day of rest before the start, but why not just rest for one during the WS? One mistake I feel that Manual made was allowing lee to pitch the 9th inning with a 6-0 lead. Instead of throwing 104 pitches and leaving the game, he ended up with 122 pitches. That might have weighed into the decision and if so, was a poor one in my opinion.
I hope Girardi uses our pen correctly.
Hughes should be used against the righties from Werth down through Francisco, Feliz and Ruiz. The worst matchup is Hughes against Howard (no righty should be brought in to face him but Hughes being worse against lefties exacerbates this problem). In general, Hughes should not pitch to the top of the order (Rollins, Victorino and Utley) which is where Girardi used him last time.
Joba is more balanced so if you had to go to Hughes or Joba against the top of the order, I would go with Joba. However, if Robertson was available he is your best choice to face the top of the order as he is better against lefties. Remember Utley is better against lefties so if Robertson is looking very sharp you may want to leave him in rather than using Marte or Coke. But, when Howard comes up you always go to the lefty (unless Rivera is on the mound). One last point is that Aceves is also a little better against lefties so he is a good choice as well. I know he has struggled as well, but I would have more confidence against the top than I would for Hughes. Remember, one of the reasons I liked the Burnett matchup against this team was because of the entire team hitting lefties better except Howard and Burnett is better against lefties himself.
Hypothetical situation: and I know this will never happen, but if Rivera is in another situation where he is struggling and has thrown a lot of pitches (let’s say 35) and the last few guys have worked the bases juiced and Howard is coming up with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning, I would bring in Marte to try and close it out. I only bring this up because I had just made the absolute statement in the previous paragraph "unless Rivera is on the mound."
I hope the offense shows up because for the above reasons Andy does not have a great matchup. Every game is huge, but if we look at this objectively, we SHOULD win game 4 and game 7 with CC on the mound against Blanton and whoever they start game 7. Therefore, if we win tonight we should win the series. Of course, what should happen and what does can be very different and can swing on one pitch, but I believe this game and game 6 are the swing games of the series and we will need to win one of them.
The Genius Maker tm is a tribute to Mariano Rivera who makes coaches look a like a genius...