October 11th, 2013

Final Four Edition

Justin Verlander used a full arsenal of fastball, slider, curve and changeup to keep those big Oakland hitters off balance most of the night. As the game progressed, he just got tougher and tougher. Pacing and tempo are the keys. High fastballs don’t hurt against home run hitting clubs.

Can’t fault Bob Melvin for turning to Sonny Gray for the big game. He had come up big at the end of the season. It didn’t matter who pitched against Verlander. But where did Gray’s curveball go after the first inning? I’m just asking.

Miguel Cabrera hit an inside fastball. The Red Sox will be keeping the ball away from him I believe. It’s tough for him to extend and get his lower body into the swing. Still hurting.

Even though the Red Sox have an outstanding rotation, I like the Tigers starters in the seven game series. But I like the Red Sox bullpen much more than the Tigers pen.

Jim Leyland may stick with a starter a bit longer than usual because of the issues in the Tigers pen.

Even with Cabrera, Prince and VMart, I like the length and balance of the Red Sox lineup better. And there really is no answer for David Ortiz. Plus, he’ll see a bunch of right-handed pitching.

Starters=Tigers, Bullpen=Red Sox. Defense=Red Sox, Lineup= Red Sox. My winner?
The Tigers. I’m a starting pitcher kinda guy.

Tigers have to be patient against Jon Lester and take some pitches.

Cardinals have an amazing organization with balance throughout the roster.

Carlos Beltran lives for games like this. So does Mr. Holiday. And how do you beat Adam Wainwright? He has tremendous sink on the ball. Everything moves. I like Rosenthal at the end of the game.

While the Dodgers have balance and tremendous starting pitching, they will be missing a critical component. Kemp is an important parts of both the offense and defense.

Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu are a dynamic trio and tough to beat. Any one of them can stop the bleeding of a two-game losing streak (should it ever come to that). I don’t think the Cards match up with that rotation.

When it’s all said and done, these are four wonderful teams representing their fans and their cities at the most exciting time of the year.

Starters=Dodgers, Bullpen=Cardinals, Defense=Cardinals, Lineup=Dodgers. My winner? The Dodgers because of the starting pitching.

So, I see the Tigers and Dodgers in the World Series. But-and here’s the but. Any of those four teams have the players and the manager to survive a seven game series.

With great pitching, little things will be crucial. Mistakes will be magnified. Pitchers will have to adjust to the hitters, hitters will have to adjust to pitchers and both will have to adjust to the umpires.

I’ll be tweeting throughout the ALCS and I hope you’ll follow me @BerniePleskoff.

I’m done for now.