Is This Really Going to Go 7?
C'mon now. If I know the Red Sox, I know they're well aware of the fact that this blogger wants to go see the Fiery Furnaces and The Hidden Cameras at Maxwell's on Halloween, so they fully plan to knock off the Cardinals in 5. I don't expect a sweep; if I had to guess, Tuesday will be the day the St. Louis bats come alive, a'la Game 3 of 1986. But if nothing else, this series will finally unmask the grand illusion that has been the St. Louis pitching staff. Check out the 2004 stats of the 4 St. Louis starters, courtesy of http://www.baseball-reference.com
SP Jason Marquis 3.71 / 15-7
SP Matt Morris 4.72 / 15-10
SP Jeff Suppan 4.16 / 16-9
SP Woody Williams 4.18 / 11-8
Hmmm...now those kinds of numbers may cut the mustard when you play roughly 40 regular season games against Pittsburgh and Milwaukee (not to mention 6 against the Mets), and have Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, and Jim Emonds as your 3, 4 and 5 hitters.
But when you're up against the team that scored the most runs in the American League, and your 4 and 5 hitters go ice cold (as they have the past two games), your "ace" better have an ERA a wee bit lower than 4.72. Jeff Suppan is the Game 3 starter, a guy who split 2003 between the Pirates and Red Sox, and wasn't even deemed good enough to make the post-season roster of the latter. Granted, he's a better pitcher than he was last year, but the only way you can win 16 games with an ERA over 4.00 is via serious run support, something of which has been non-existent as of late.
Williams didn't make it out of the 3rd inning, and Morris was done in the 4th. St. Louis's pitchers rely on deception and junk pitches, and Marquis is the only one with a fastball over 92 (and his control has been lousy as of late). The Sox batters are nothing if not patient. Sox in 5.