Do you see what I did there? Thought so. Not only was the weather in St. Louis a bit nasty for a while yesterday, but it also may have given the Cardinals a bit of an assist (or two). The degree to which the Cardinals can take advantage of that fortuitous splash of rain will likely be determined at least in part by Jaime Garcia‘s performance in World Series game 6 tonight. How so?
The popular opinion right now is that a game 6 postponement helps the Cardinals by giving Chris Carpenter an extra day of rest, so he might be available to pitch game 7 (if needed). I agree that might be a really good thing, but the Cardinals have to get past game 6. More importantly, the Cardinals need to focus solely on game 6 first, and that’s what I intend to do as well.
At the center of all the attention right now is Jaime Garcia and how he will fare after being given an extra day of rest. After all, hasn’t pitched a game since starting game 2 on October 20th. Based on Garcia’s season, the extra day could be significant. Just consider for a moment Jaime’s numbers based on days of rest between starts.
- 4 days -> Batting line of .280/.319/.421/.740 with a 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a .321 BAbip
- 5 days -> Battnig line of .276/.335/.388/.724 with a 2.44 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a .335 BAbip
- 6+ days -> Batting line of .238/.259/.314/.574 with a 8.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio, and a .304 BAbip
The extra day of rest pushes Jaime into the “6+” category. Maybe that will help, and maybe it won’t. Based on the numbers, I certainly don’t think it hurts. In his 4 starts with 6 or more days of rest, Jaime went 3-1 and gave up 5 earned runs in 28 innings pitched. Not too shabby. Perhaps most significant is the fact that Garcia exceeded the 100 pitch mark in 2 out of the 4 games. He only exceeded the century mark 8 times all season, so maybe the extra rest will help him go an extra inning or so tonight.
Even if the Cardinals manage to win and force a game 7, they will need to reverse a trend that the Rangers have of not losing back-to-back games. The last time the Rangers lost consecutive games was back on August 24th and 25th against the Red Sox.
If the Cardinals get that far, will LaRussa opt to start Chris Carpenter on short rest? My gut feeling tells me “yes”, but Carp would be on a shorter leash than usual for obvious reasons. Even though his last effort on short rest didn’t turn out all that well, I think 4 innings or more of Carpenter probably beats 5 innings of anybody else right now. Since a game 7 would mean all hands on deck in terms of arms in the bullpen, it just makes sense that the Cardinals should go out swinging with their top available starter on the mound.
That’s not to say that anybody has forgotten about game 6. Perhaps lost in some of the media blitz surrounding the early decision to call game 6 was the fact that the extra day off should benefit the Cardinal bullpen….a lot. St. Louis appears to have the shorter of the two bullpens in this series, and the bonus day helps equalize things a bit by allowing them to bring back everybody for an elimination game.
Of course, all of this is just theoretical and maybe a little bit of hoping being done by this Cardinal fan. Like the rest of you, I’m just waiting to find out whether or not this weather really is “for the Birds”.
TIDBIT: If you don’t already have a “Honkin For Jaime” shirt, then I’ll shamelessly remind you that you can click on the link somewhere around here to buy one. If you have one, then I hope you have washed it prior to wearing it today, because it’s just wrong to be superstitious about not washing a shirt. Yes, definitely wrong.
MORE BITS OF TID: I may or may not have washed mine recently.
FINAL TID: This could very well be the final game in a Cardinal uniform for guys like Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker, and Edwin Jackson. I just hope that the Cardinals keep in mind that you can’t put a price on “scrappy”.
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