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Saturday, October 23, 2004

NLCS Recap

Here's my quick takes on the NLCS 4-3 series win by the Cardinals over the Astros.

  • Julian Tavarez has issues. I kind of knew this when he was with the Cubs but his antics this season leave little room for doubt. Any team that signs him is taking a risk.
  • Is there a more complete player in baseball than Carlos Beltran? Having watched him play here in Kansas City I wasn't surprised at what he could do but doing it on the bigger stage made it all the more impressive. It was interesting that when he was traded from the Royals in June one of the local sports radio guys seemed to denigrate the trade by noting that after all, the Royals hadn't won with Beltran. What a ridiculous statement. It'll be interesting to see how much the Yankees (or whoever) pay him next season. He can win games with power (8 homeruns in the post season), speed (his steal of second and tag to third on a medium depth fly ball in game 7 led to a run), and defense (his game saver in game 5) and at 27 he's at or near as good as he'll get. He'd look good in a Cubs uniform.
  • Should Carlos Beltran steal more? With his steal of second base off of Jeff Suppan in game seven he had 34 consecutive stolen bases in the National League. During that time he was 16 of 16 stealing third. This question was discussed on SABR-L this week with several arguing that his very high stolen base percentage (highest in history I believe at 89.3% and 192 steals) is an indication that he doesn't steal enough since it is far higher than the break-even percentage required to make it advantageous. That makes sense to me. He could probably steal 50 or 60 bases per season and still keep his percentage well above 70%.
  • I thought Phil Garner did the right thing in using Roy Oswalt as his first option in the 7th inning. Too many times a manager will still go with the pitchers he's used during the season in that situation instead of a starter who is almost always a better pitcher (that's why he's a starter).
  • It was great to see Suppan execute the squeeze play in game 7 with Tony Womak on third. I've always thought the squeeze was an underutilized strategy. In any situation where you'd settle for a sacrifice fly I would think the odds are better to try the squeeze.
  • I don't understand the pitching pattern Roger Clemens used in the 6th and deciding inning of the series. It seemed he fell in love with his fastball, which he didn't locate very well, and only after he gave up the 2-run homer to Scott Rolen did he go back to the splitter when pitching to Jim Edmonds. Was he really trying to throw fastballs past Albert Pujols?
  • By the way, does anyone believe Pujols is really 24 years old?
  • I also don't understand the Astros approach once they fell behind going into the 7th inning in game 7. They only got 3 hits all day but didn't exhibit any patience in the final three innings. Kiko Calero threw 16 pitches in the 7th, Tavarez threw 10 in the 8th, and Jason Isringhausen threw just 5 in the 9th.
  • I've watched alot of games at Enron/Minute Maid and the left field situation there is ridiculous. Left fielders play on the warning track probably because they're used to standing 300 feet from the plate. They need to erect a really big wall there instead of just the scoreboard that's out there now. Left fielders also need to play medium depth there and take away some line drive singles.
  • The broadcasting crew for FOX did a good job. Thom Brenneman is always good.
  • This is probably the end for the killer B's as far as postseason runs go. Great careers by Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell may end without a trip to the World Series. Biggio is a liability in left field with his second baseman's arm and his offensive production is probably not enough for a left fielder. Beltran is gone and I would be a little surprised if Roger Clemens comes back but you never know. As far as I know only Sandy Koufax has retired after a Cy Young award winning season.