Josh Beckett. He is the hottest pitcher in the world. In his postseason career, he has a 1.78 ERA. Of pitchers with at least eight career postseason starts, only Christy Mathewson and George Earnshaw, neither of whom has pitched in the last 70 years, have a lower ERA than Beckett. In this postseason, he has been dominant. He has thrown 297 pitches, 210 for strikes, in three starts. The Indians had no chance against him in two starts in the ALCS.
Tim Kurkjian goes on to say that this god Beckett might start three games against the Rockies, the presumption being that he'll win all three. Sound familiar?
Does this story ever change? When does Jeff Francis evolve from quaint Canuck into a legit big game ace? Jeffrey Franchise is now 2-0 in the postseason with a 2.13 ERA, and while not quite Beckett's 5-2 with a 1.78, the guess here is that all it should take is a victory in Game One for Francis to become media's new poster-boy.
Alright. Next vent. Let's say you are trying to compare a group of hitters to determine who was best, and over about 450 PA's you had three tiers:
Group A: Let's just call them ALl Stars -are maybe five guys hitting really well, and that's who everybody pays attention to.
Group B: Next Level, these guys are okay, but flawed and clearly a step below the cream of the crop.
Group C: Well, not actually a group -one guy really- let's name him Charlie Rose because I really dig PBS. Anyway, Charlie at this 450 PA mark is probably at the bottom of the Next Level group, but still in it.
So I've made it obvious what the set-up is. The ALl Stars continue to play pretty well over their next few PA's, the Next Level guys continue to do their step below thing, but Charlie goes off the hook. Completely destroying everything in his path. Mysteriously, after about 525 PA's all but eight of these guys from all three groups get injured and their seasons are over. Charlie's one of the eight still playing, and he's still raking. Sure a few of his hits are of the bloop single variety, but his streak is really becoming DiMaggio-esque. Four more teams get season ending injuries a few PA's later. Then two more go down and suddenly it's just Charlie and one other guy from the ALl Star group, let's just call him BIG RED SLUGGER. And his name is always capitalized like that in all the papers for some reason. BRS has been able to put up some more gaudy numbers the last few games, and still looks on paper to be the better hitter overall, even though Charlie's been gaining and is clearly now better than all of the Next Level guys. Would you ignore these last 100 PA's and go back to before Charlie's streak to judge these players? Would you go back to where the others' seasons ended? Or would you take the whole enchilada preferring to get as many data points as possible for any of these guys?
So let's say the whole season for these two players' teams comes down to one final game between the two. Winner gets into the playoffs. Charlie goes four for four with a homerun or two, his team wins while BIG RED SLUGGER goes zero for four with four K's in the losing effort. BRS's season stats might still be a tad better than Charlie's even after all that. Do you still say that BIG RED SLUGGER is the MVP? What if both end up having great games and Charlie's team wins? What if they lose? Is Charlie good enough to be considered worthy of the ALl Stars' status?
I bring this up because you and I will read a lot of NL as junior varsity articles over the coming days. A lot of pundits and non-pundits alike will try to downplay and even toss aside the team's accomplishments this year and that irks me. Joe Sheehan in a chat at Baseball Prospectus the other day said that he could still argue that Detroit and Seattle (88-74, outscored 794-813, Colorado's now 97-73, outscoring the opposition 894-774) are better teams than the Rockies. Even Meredith Veira on the Today Show apparently:
That from an e-mail from Sandra Elkind. Thanks Sandra for pointing it out.
I just want the team to be given a fair look. The AL's better than the NL, fine. Point taken. Colorado's better than the NL, too, though and don't you forget it. What's sad is I don't think even a four game sweep will change anybody's opinion about us, as once again they will point to how the Red Sox just got unlucky, how it was mysterious that their lineup of sluggers was suddenly unable to hit against the Rockies' inferior pitching. Don't get me wrong, I think Boston's still had the clearly superior season, (outscored their opponents 937 to 693 so far) but Seattle and Detroit? Come on. Maybe when we win again in 2008 will these people finally recognize that maybe we actually do have a good team in Colorado.
Good luck getting tix everybody!