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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Game 146: Halladay clinches playoff berth (95-51)

Roy Halladay pretty much won yesterday’s game by himself, throwing a complete game shutout with 116 pitches. He has now thrown 236 pitches in a 5-day span for two meaningless games. I suppose I can understand giving him a longer leash when he’s pitching in a 1-0 game, but a game like yesterday is exactly why he shouldn’t be throwing 120 pitches against the Brewers in a 5-1 game.

At this rate, Halladay will pitch on September 24 as his last start of the season. He will presumably start game 1 on October 1st, which is a 6-day layoff. There’s no reason to continue to overwork (eg, 115+ pitches) him on 4-days’ rest when you can simply slide his final start of the season back to September 25, so that he has two consecutive 5-day layoffs leading up to game 1, rather than all of a sudden pitching on 6-days rest after five consecutive starts after the 4-day layoff.

The Phils have clinched a playoff spot; I will be actively rooting for the St. Louis Cardinals to sweep the Phillies in CBP this weekend, solely to remove the Braves from the playoffs. I’d rather face a “hot” Cardinals team (season team OBP = .310) in the NLDS with a chance to face Arizona in the NLCS than run the risk of facing Atlanta’s bullpen in round two.


Robby Bonfire said...

Interesting, this "rooting" for what one perceives as the weaker opponent in the competition to eventually face your own team. I will never forget 1980-81 and being so excited that the Oakland Raiders upset the Cleveland Browns to make it to the Super Bowl. Wonder if the Eagles were excited too, to not have to face a Cleveland team it nows seems certain they would have played better against, in lieu of their "no show" performance vs. Oakland.

Tony LaRussa is a better manager than the Atlanta manager, and is capable of managing circles around Charlie The Human Mule. Any Tony LaRussa team at playoff time is a bona fide threat to win it all, and the Cardinals shocking upset in 2006 W.S. of a much better Detroit team which had just beaten the Yankees to get there is a great, recent example of the perils of underestimating an opponent.

Be careful of the Pandora's box of getting what you get what you wish for in these playoff match-ups. The outcome has not been carved in stone, yet.

Andy Musser said...

The Brewers are just as hard to beat as the Braves in a playoff series; I think they are clearly the 2nd and 3rd best teams in the NL. Arizona and St. Louis are the 4th and 5th best teams in the NL.

Why wouldn't you want a playoff scenario where you could potentially dodge both Milwaukee and Atlanta? The ideal playoff scenario is St Louis in NLDS and Arizona in the 2nd round.

Robby Bonfire said...

It's not that I don't want the optimal playoff match-ups for the Phillies, this and every year, Andy, because of course I do.

And football and baseball are a different playoff animal, I acknowledge. For example, the first SEVEN times a previous SB winner played a team appearing in the Super Bowl for the first time, the experienced/successful SB team won, straight up. That is nice to know but has no application where baseball is concerned.

Just willing to take my chances against a stronger team NOT managed by LaRussa or Mike Scioscia, than have my team go in with that disadvantage.

Braves strength is their bullpen, right? Most MLB games are effectively over early or in the middle frames, rendering the bullpen a secondary factor. If the Braves strength were their starting pitching, that would be more of a concern. We know the Phillies have the best starting staff, by far, in the sport, in this most critical component in the sport. That is a good departure point for going into any match-up, and we should have no trepidation about any NL or AL team we might be facing. The Yankees, after CCS, really are crud on the front end.

Andy Musser said...

St Louis' starting rotation is less effective than Atlanta's, even with Atlanta's injuries. Brandon Beachy and Mike Minor would not be worse than the Cardinals' pitchers not named Carpenter.

Also, La Russa is vastly overrated. Did you see the defense he played on Chase Utley's at bat tonight? No doubles -- which is fine, I guess -- but once Utley gets on base, they IGNORE him and virtually allow him to get to second base anyway. If Hunter Pence ever took a pitch in his life, Utley would have been on second base easily (two of the steal attempts were negated by Pence's fouloffs).

Completely illogical defense.