Wednesday, October 27, 2004

It's the Pitching, Stupid

If there's anything the last two weeks have taught me, this is it. The age-old lesson. To win in the postseason, you better have the pitching.

The Yankees didn't have it. Not with Brown and Vazquez. Not with a tired bullpen. Not with Leiber unable to outduel Curt Schilling. And they had plenty of offense, but Boston's pitching stymied that offense. Derek Lowe and Schilling got the job done. And aside from Jeter's double, so did Pedro. And so did Timlin, Foulke, and Arroyo out of the pen.

And the World Series. I wanted the Cardinals to make it. Now we all see why. These guys can hit, but they can't pitch. And against Schilling and Pedro, they couldn't hit, either. I don't pin the blame on Rolen for slumping. It's just that Morris and Suppan just don't match the Red Sox guys.

It's amazing. The Red Sox #4 guy, Derek Lowe, may be better than the Cards' #1 guy Woody Williams. If Lowe puts in a performance tonight like last week's, the Bambino should turn over in his grave.

And even if he doesn't, I don't see a Yankee-esque choke coming if the Sox have Curt and Pedro lined up to pitch. Pitching wins in the postseason. That's all it boils down to.

The one exception: the 2002 World Series. Both the Angels and Giants were dealing with the Kirk Reuters and John Lackeys of the world. But I would argue that the Angels' deep bullpen of Weber, Donnelly, Rodriguez, and Percival gave them a big edge.

And if not for Byung-Hyun Kim in '01, Arizona's pitching would've discarded the Junkees a lot sooner.

The Cardinals got a lot of their wins from the injured Chris Carpenter and from beating weak teams in its division like the Brewers, Pirates, and Reds. They need dominant postseason pitching to stay in this one. Is Jason Marquis the answer? We'll find out.

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