Five Cuts: Dodgers are well-armed to beat Cards in battle of bullpens
1. It took only four innings for the Dodgers to announce and execute their game plan for the entire NLDS against St. Louis: turn the games into a battle of the bullpens. Los Angeles manager
It's not supposed to be like this. The modern game is all about running up the pitch count of the starting pitcher to get into the other team's bullpen, where weaker pitchers reside -- which is exactly what the Dodgers did to the Cardinals. Who gets only 11 outs of their starting pitcher and is
"From now on," Wolf said, "I think the other teams may want to
It is certainly not the preferred road map to postseason victories. Consider this: Before Wednesday night, teams in the wild-card era that received no more than 11 outs from their starting pitcher in a postseason game won only 26 percent of the time (30-85). The all-time postseason success rate with such early exits is 24 percent (89-281). But when you see
"The playoffs are different," Wolf said. "Every game is a must-win. In the regular season, I probably would be upset by him taking me out then. In this game, I completely understand it."
2. File away this episode for possible reference as the series goes on: Cardinals starter
"I don't see him as an egotistical guy, and I respect what he's done in the game," Wolf said. "What he said really didn't bother me. It's the heat of battle. And certainly the last thing I'm going to do is try to show somebody up."
When I asked Dodgers hitting coach
At one point in the past few days Ramirez smiled at Mattingly, put an index finger to his lips and said, "Shhhh" -- meaning the secret between them was that Ramirez was ready to bust out.
Well, maybe not. "It doesn't always translate to the games," Mattingly said before Game 1. "We'll see." Ramirez went 1 for 4, his only hit a double on which he broke his bat. He still wasn't able to square up fastballs.
Until Ramirez shows otherwise, expect the Cardinals to continue to pitch him aggressively, especially to pound fastballs in. It's a long way from the postseason a year ago, when Ramirez deserved and received the
4. Speaking of the Bonds treatment, Torre made it clear in Game 1 that he is not going to give
But Torre's treatment of Pujols also highlighted one huge difference between Torre and
5. I give the Twins so much credit for their 17-4 sprint to the AL Central title. You never want to count them out entirely. But really, the Yankees have too much firepower for them. Game 1 displayed everything you need to know. Minnesota didn't play that poorly, and its 137 pitches over eight innings represented fairly efficient pitching against that lineup.
But the game, like almost all games against New York, came down to walks and home runs. The Twins, who walked the fewest batters in the league, walked five batters. Two of them scored. The Yankees also took care of their daily dose of two home runs. Ballgame. Again.
The Yankees led all 30 teams in walks and also led all 30 teams in home runs, a lethal combination. It means that the Yankees are on the cusp of a rally constantly. They don't need three hits to score. And that is a constant source of anxiety that wears down staffs mentally and physically.
The Yankees played only five games all year in which they didn't get a walk, including only one at Yankee Stadium. They were 0-5 in those games.
So there's your secret of how to beat the Yankees. Good luck with that, Twins.