Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Momentum Baloney
By Ben Valentine

First, let me welcome in David on board. It's been a long time coming.

Now on to baseball. Since David's already gone into Tony LaRussa, I’ll be short and sweet with this post on game six focusing on this concept of momentum. I’ve heard enough about how demoralizing the loss was for Houston. Yes it stinks to be one strike away from the World Series and then lose. Yes, it probably felt like the Cardinals were given a last second reprieve by the governor. And yes, the series shifts back to St. Louis for the final two games.

Guess what? I don’t care. Anyone who thinks the Cardinals are now in good shape in this series is deluding themselves.

The saying in baseball is as old as can be. "Momentum is as good as the next day’s starting pitcher." Who are the starting pitchers for the game tonight?

Roy Oswalt: 20-12, 242.2 IP, 2.90 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 6.85 K/9, 3.83 K/BB

Mark Mulder: 16-8, 205 IP, 3.64 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 4.87 K/9, 1.56 K/BB

Forget the names for a second. Those numbers suggest it's the equivalent of an ace going out against a third or fourth starter. Would people be so confident in St.Louis if Kris Benson was starting at Busch tonight? And Benson had better periperhals than Mulder did this season.

And then supposing the Cardinals do win game six, who’s going in game seven?

Roger Clemens: 13-8, 211.1 IP, 1.87 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 7.88 K/9, 2.76 K/BB

Matt Morris: 14-10, 192.2 IP, 4.11 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 5.47 K/9, 2.93 K/BB

Cy Young candidate against fourth starter, again. Who do you like there?

See my point here? It doesn’t matter how dramatic or how far Albert Pujols hit that ball the other night. If Roy Oswalt and Mark Mulder go out and pitch like they did in the regular season, then the Astros will most likely win game six. Should it go to a game seven, if Clemens and Morris pitch like they did between April and September, then the Astros should win the game. Add it up, that means the Astros should win both games. And they only need one.

Look, the Astros could lose. Anything could happen in any two games, even if it were the Astros against the Royals with Oswalt and Clemens against Jimmy Gobble and Mike Wood. But don’t give me that jazz about momentum.

I’ll take two Cy Young candidates with three games to two lead over two mediocre starters and momentum and day of the week.

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