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Sunday ALDS/NLDS Pitching Matchups

October 6, 2012

Baseball

American League

CC Sabathia (New York) v Jason Hammel (Baltimore)

CC Sabathia is one of the best leftie starters in the game, and though his postseason performances can be a little down at times, he is certainly the guy that Joe Girardi and the Yankees want on the hill for game 1. CC is a hardthrowing pitcher who has the ability to strike a lot of guys out on any given day. Against the Orioles this year, he was 0-2 with a 6.38 ERA in three starts. He has given up 24 hits and four home runs to them. All of those starts have come in Camden yards, so he’ll want to keep the ball down as much as possible to give guys like Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez as many ground balls as possible. He’ll also want to have good command of his fastball and use that to set up some of his breaking pitches.

Sabathia will face Jason Hammel, who since coming over from the Colorado Rockies at the start of this season has been brilliant. This year, he was 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA, averaging around 6 strikeouts a game. Like Sabathia, Hammel has a losing record against the Yankees, and is 0-1 in three starts with a 3.94 ERA. Hammel should look to how he pitched in those games against the Yankees, since he has only given up two home runs. If he can keep the ball in the park against the Bombers, then that will certainly go a long way to the Orioles winning this game. His only post season appearance came with the Rockies in 2009, where he gave up four runs on four hits in 3.2 innings.

Overall: I see CC being the better starter in this game. He just has too much post season experience, and he is not a guy who will look and see that he is 0-2 against Baltimore this year. If he keeps pitches down and locates his fastball, then that should go a long way to picking up six to eight strikeouts and having a great start. Weather his performance will lead to the Yankees coming away with a win is another question, but it should help them a lot if he does contain the Orioles hitters.

Tommy Milone (Oakland) v Doug Fister (Detroit)

Tommy Milone is starting his first post season game, but this calm and collected pitcher should be able to handle the moment. He is 13-10 this year with a 3.74 ERA. He had 137 strikeouts in 190 innings, and is a great choice to pitch game two of this series. He has performed well against the Tigers this year as well, going 1-0 in two starts and holds a 3.09 ERA. Detroit was one of the teams outside of the AL West that Milone fared well against, and his performance in the previous two outings will give him great confidence leading into this game.

Milones opponent is Doug Fister, who is a much more experienced post season campaigner than Milone. Fister has faced Oakland just once this year, and over the last five years, has rarely pitched to anyone in the A’s lineup. In last years postseason, Fister went 2-1 in three starts. He gave up nine runs on nineteen hits, but also had 13 Ks.

Overall: Despite having hardly faced them, I see Doug Fister being the better pitcher in this game. His postseason experience will come in handy, as well as the element of surprise because of the fact that the A’s have hardly seen him. I think that Milone will be more prone to mistakes in this game, and that will hurt him. He will have to face a very tough Tigers lineup, and I think that how he fares against Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder will be crucial to Milones performance. Fister is also less likely to have a horror start, and if he pitches well, I don’t see him getting beaten up as much as Milone would.

National League

Gio Gonzalez (Washington) v Adam Wainwright (St Louis)

This is a matchup between a 21 game winner from this season and an absolute consistent work horse. Gio Gonzalez has done wonders for the Nationals since coming across from Oakland over last years offseason, winning 21 games this year from 32 starts. Gios only outing against the Cardinals this year was certainly a memorable one. He pitched a complete game shutout, giving up just five hits that day. In that game, he also had eight strikeouts. He’ll look to return to that performance this time around, though Gonzalez has never pitched in Busch Stadium, and has also never seen the playoffs. Regardless, he should be able to have a good outing.

Gios opponent is Adam Wainwright, a very experienced post season player. This year, Wainwright went 14-13, and was 1-1 against the Nats with a 7.27 ERA. He has struggled against them, giving up a total of 14 hits and 7 runs across 8.2 innings, with only eight strikeouts. Wainwright though still has a lot of experience late in the year, having had 10 appearances in the postseason. His most recent appearance came in his only start in the postseason back in 2009, where he gave up just a run on three hits in eight innings against the LA Dodgers. Wainwright also had 7 strikeouts in that game, a game which the Dodgers ended up winning 3-2.

Overall: Wainwright has a lot of postseason experience, and has been picked to start this game ahead of guys like Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia. That said, I think that Gio Gonzalezs performance this season can’t be looked past, and has too much solid momentum going into this game. He has the right stuff to beat some of the big Cardinal hitters like Matt Holliday and Allen Craig.

Bronson Arroyo (Cincinnati) v Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco)

These are two pitchers which I have hardly seen this year, but are both very solid options for game two. Bronson Arroyo had a 12-10 record with a 3.74 ERA this year. In 32 starts, Arroyo has just 129 strikeouts. That is an average of just four Ks a game. He has faced the Giants twice this year, on both occasions hasn’t gotten a decision, with a 2.45 ERA. He has given up six runs on 11 hits in those two starts, and will look to register his first win against the Giants this year. He’ll have to overcome a few big obstacles in Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval.

Madison Bumgarner has proved a very solid player this year. He is 16-11 in 32 starts with a 3.37 ERA. Like Gio Gonzalez against the Cardinals, Bumgarners only appearance against the Reds was a complete game shutout, and gave up just one hit. In that game, he struck out eight and walked two. He will obviously hope that that experience against the Reds will help, and would love a repeat performance to give the Giants a good chance to win this ballgame.

Overall: I see that experience Bumgarner has against the Reds, as well as the fact that he’ll be pitching at home will get him the better performance of these two pitchers. The Giants would obviously love to have the bat of Melky Cabrera in the lineup, but despite that, players like Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence should be too much for Arroto to handle.

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About JarrahVW

I am a student from Melbourne, Australia who loves sport and wants to make writing about it his career. I have a wordpress site at www.sportsotheworld.com with analysis and general information about many Australian, American and International sports. As well as that, I also write on www.thefarmclub.net.

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4 Comments on “Sunday ALDS/NLDS Pitching Matchups”

  1. Stefan Jagot Says:

    I agree, and if they were playing any team besides the Tigers they’d have my support. Billy Beane is a genius of a GM, but all points show “Moneyball” isn’t a World Series formula.

    Reply

  2. JarrahVW Says:

    Ok Stefan. I’ll mark your words. I still give them a bit of a chance, but I think it is remarkable how far they have come.

    Reply

  3. Stefan Jagot Says:

    In regards to the Tigers/A’s matchup, Oakland is going to have an incredibly difficult time dealing with a pitcher who focuses on movement and location after facing the best power pitcher in the game. Jim Leyland set the Tigers in prime position to end this in three games with the pitching rotation. Mark my words, Oakland will be devastated at the plate tomorrow.

    Reply

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