This should be interesting. I want to watch solely to see the crowd's reaction to the right field umpire of the game. You know, Eddings, the one who botched the most famous play of the offseason thus far. But as far as actual game play is concerned, tonight looks to be a pitching matchup (kind of like every game in this series.) By the way, thanks to reading the sabermetrically challenged Angels series at Management of Baseball, I am really starting to appreciate the things that Anaheim does daily. If only they put the correct lineup on the field every night to go along with their strategies...
By the way that team would have Erstad in center, Finley sitting, Kotchman at first, Bengie Molina DHing, Jose Molina catching, and Juan Rivera playing over Garret Anderson. That is quite the shift, but the Angels would be a much better defensive and offensive team for it.
Update [2005-10-14 15:58:13 by Marc Normandin]: I couldn't resist making a table. Ugh.
Back to the game. John Lackey (3.44 ERA) faces off against one-time media darling Jon Garland (3.50 ERA). Garland has not pitched since October 1st. Most likely signs of rust in the beginning stages of the game would spell his downfall, but if he comes out firing with no problems it should be quite the pitcher's duel today. The series is tied 1-1.
Tomorrow's 4:00 EST game is Cardinals in Houston, with Matt Morris facing off against Roger Clemens. This is by far the biggest mismatch possible in the series according to the numbers. If you remember the series preview, Clemens had the best season of all 8 starters, while Morris actually performed about the same as Brandon Backe. That is not to say St. Louis cannot win this game; as much as I hate to use wins for analysis, Morris did win 14 of them thanks to a Cardinals offense superior to the rest of the league. Morris does beat Clemens out statistically in one sense:
Playoff Beard Relative to Victory. Matt Morris has a playoff beard that is obviously going to be tough for Roger to overcome. I don't want to give the impression that Morris was bad this season by the way; he was simply average, and is the fourth starter facing off against possibly the greatest pitcher of all-time in his 8th best season out of 22. Luckily for Cardinals fans, they have quite the lineup, and baseball is a funny, funny game.
And man do I love playoff beards...I am personally responsible for 3 Superbowls for the Patriots, thanks to the power of facial hair.