Why big league managers side with pitching experience vs. pitching talent come the post season is beyond me.
Look what David Price, a September call up with a mere five innings of MLB experience, did against Boston in game seven.
The super-talented lefty begins by striking out the hot-hitting J.D. Drew on four pitches before closing the deal in the bottom of the ninth helping send the Rays to the World Series.
Price’s outing reminds me of Joe Torre’s decision in 2005 to add 39-year-old Al Leiter to his playoff roster because the crafty left-hander had “experience,” never mind his regular season record of (7-12) with a 6.13 ERA.
Leiter pitched in four playoff games during 2005 posting an “experienced’ 7.34 ERA – now, that’s some kind of experience.
But, not even the great Torre is alone in his thinking; take Sweet Lou for example this October.
Piniella added the washed-up Bob Howry to his staff noting the right-hander’s decade worth of MLB experience.
And why not add Howry, he only finished his worst season in the bigs in 2008 (5.35 ERA).
Unfortunately, the Cubs played so poorly Howry never had the chance to further prove my point.
Meanwhile, during the same year of Torre’s blunder, 24-year-old rookie Bobby Jenks anchored the White Sox’s pen bringing the trophy to Chicago’s south side.
Three years earlier the Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez, a September call up like Price, dominated in the playoffs as well, winning five games in relief for the eventual World Champion Halos.
The following season ‘Trader Jack’ McKeon rode 21-year-old rookie Dontrelle Willis’ (3-0) post season all the way to the promise land.
So, when it’s a decision between experience and talent, I’ll take the later.
As much as baseball fans (and most of its players) don’t want the All Star Game to count towards home field advantage for the World Series, it most certainly does.
Just look at the numbers from the past five years, all AL victories in the All Star Game.
In games 1 & 2 of the Fall Classic the AL holds an 8-2 advantage, that’s huge!
And more, in the World Series that have reached a game 7, the home team has won the last eight contests.
Need more evidence? How about realizing that the team with the home field advantage has won 18 of the last 22 world championships!
Obviously, the numbers speak to the importance of having the home crowd behind you in October.
Thus, it’s utterly ridiculous that an exhibition game determines which league begins the series at home, no matter what Fox Television tells us.
My solution is to reward the team with best overall record home field advantage in the World Series.
After all, the whole point of the season is to win more ballgames than your opponents.
And better, it makes more sense for a team to have earned the right to play at home vs. the current system.
Sure, it’s convenient for baseball to know which city will host games 1 & 2 of the World Series, but it’s not worth it to compromise both the fans and players wishes for a new “home field” policy.
Although, don’t expect any changes to the current system which is under contract until the 2011 season.
And remember, this is MLB we’re talking about, the caboose on the forward thinking train.
So, it seems inevitable through the next three seasons that this format will remain in place, no matter what baseball fans or its players think.
But hey, as Mr. Bud will gladly remind us, attendance is up, small market teams are competing and baseball is even testing for steroids these days.
I guess there’s no room for improvement.