The Padres lost to the Cardinals 7-4 yesterday, ending another of the four playoff series. When the series started, I felt like the Padres had a chance to squeak out a victory if Peavy pitched well (and twice) and the right lineup was put on the field every night of the series. Peavy broke a rib while pitching in the first game and was shelled, and I'll let Richard Wade attack Bruce Bochy's lineup construction because it seems to be therapeutic for him to do so.
The Cardinals will possibly get a little time to rest and set their rotation if the Astros/Braves series goes any further than today. Today's matchup is Tim Hudson versus Brandon Backe, which may not be as much of a mismatch as it first appears. Interesting, but the Astros usually poor offense scored 5.08 RPG (compared to the 4.28 RPG overall) this season for Backe, which is partially (maybe only slightly, but still) due to to Backe's ability to not completely embarass himself at the plate. No seriously; he had a .228 EqA this year, .002 points below replacement level, and only .005 lower than everyday player Adam Everett. It isn't that .228 is especially good, but considering Andy Pettitte's -.057 EqA (yes, that is a negative sign), I'd take all the help I could get in a short series. Last year Backe had an EqA of .291; only 16 at-bats, but at least he seems to have some semblance of hitting ability. If the Astros had maintained their run scoring rate for Backe in all games, they would have scored 823 runs, or 130 more than they did. Maybe the extra two runs Backe gives up everytime compared to the other Cy Young caliber pitchers on the team can be made up at the plate.
And just because I can, Backe's Net Runs Above Average stands at -8.72...compared to Adam Everett's -9.19. I know Carl Everett is not all that special anymore, but can anyone believe those two were traded straight up between the Red Sox and Astros?
The other series also stands a chance of finishing up today, thanks to a rainout yesterday. The Angels hold a 2-1 lead over the New York Yankees, but I never count out New York anymore until the blood around their lifeless hopes has dried. And then I still poke it with a stick a couple times, just to be sure. Jarrod Washburn (3.20 ERA) faces off against Shawn Chacon (3.40 ERA). You all know how I feel about Chacon, so if the Yankees defense does not screw up this is not as much of a pitching mismatch as it seems. Good luck to your teams today, and tomorrow we'll have more thorough analysis of the series. I have that whole work thing the rest of the day, so patience my friends.