Monday, October 22, 2007

Great Sports Moments From Yesterday

1) No football Sunday would be complete without Chad Pennington throwing an INT returned for a TD. The 1-6 Jets are probably the most frustrating team I have ever watched because every game follows the exact same script: the Jets take the lead, blow it in the second half, have a chance to come back, but Chad throws one of those weak out routes that the DB jumps and returns for a TD. The same thing happens every single week.

2) On to the Indians, the team that got outscored 30-5 over the last three games. I love the baseball playoffs but this series when contrasted with the Yankees series is exactly why the playoffs are not a meaningful indicator of which teams are the best. The Indians had an excellent pitching staff this season, especially at the top of the rotation where they boasted C.C Sabathia and Fausto Carmona, two of the top pitchers in the majors. So what happened? Both Sabathia and Carmona have a double digit ERA over the four games they pitched, the Indians bullpen does not get the job done, and the team ERA is 6.82(!). That's almost 3 runs worse than their regular season ERA of 4.05.

How did they do against the Yankees? Sabathia wasn't great, but his 5.40 was almost half of his ERA against the Sox. Carmona's only start was for 9 innings and 1 run. The team ERA was 3.41, which over the course of the season would have been the best ERA in the majors. Well, the Red Sox have a good lineup so it makes sense that the they pounded the Indians pitching, right?

Wrong. The Red Sox offense is very good, with a OPS+ of 107. Not great. The Yankees, however, had a 123, which is better than the 61 Yankees, 99 Indians, and the 98 Yankees. This Yankees lineup was one of the best offenses in major league history. So you'd expect the Indians pitching to be at least equivalent to how they pitched against the average major league team. But it wasn't meant to be. Luck, small sample size and whatever played a major role, and pitchers such as Carmona, Sabathia, and Wang were all terrible in the postseason, while Paul Byrd and Jake Westbrook were actually pretty decent (and lucky).

Well that's over. At least when it comes down to it, the best team in the AL advanced to the World Series, which is as it should be. Let's hope the Rockies do well and small sample size becomes our friend this time.

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