Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
What Do I Think I Think?
2005-10-20 14:29
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I'm not ready to make a World Series prediction quite yet. Actually, I'm not even sure who I'm rooting for yet. I wore my Brad Lidge jersey yesterday more out of sympathy for a guy who got rocked for a 900-footer than any particular interest in seeing the Astros win rather than the Cardinals. (I also have a Cardinals jersey, in fact -- #21, Curt Flood. And a White Sox #10, Shingo Takatsu. That might have been a bad investment.)

Since I don't have a prediction for you, let's look around and see what the "experts" are saying. That's always fun.'s Tom Verducci has the Sox in seven, and offers an interesting stat: Konerko/Dye/Podsednik/Crede/Uribe are a combined .404 lifetime against Roger Clemens. I never would have guessed. The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rogers likes the White Sox in six. No surprise there. He gives the White Sox the edge in starting pitching, too. I'm going to have to take a closer look there. Also, Rogers likes Ozzie Guillen better than Phil Garner. I don't know about that, either. Guillen strikes me as something of a double-edged sword. He can work his players into a frenzy, but he can also be a distraction. And, c'mon, was leaving Jose Contreras in for the length of the NLCS's Game 5 really necessary? Was Ozzie doing the best thing for his team or trying to make a macho point?

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick: Houston in seven. CBS SportsLine picks Chicago put doesn't give a number of games. Baseball Prospectus's Monte Carlo simulation gives the White Sox a 52.4236% chance of winning. Finally, an ESPN poll is as of this writing showing a narrow edge for the Astros -- 54% to 46%. Of course, this is baseball, so no one really knows anything. Who thought the Red Sox would obliterate the Cardinals last year? Who thought this pair of teams would even be here? I didn't pick either team to make the playoffs at the beginning of the year. Then I had both of them losing in the first round. I did a little better for the championship series, picking both winners and correctly guessing 6 games for the length of the Astros-Cardinals series, but I'm smart enough to know when I've been lucky and not smart.

It will come down to pitching. Will the Astros starters be unhittable, or merely very good? The White Sox all season have shown an almost uncanny (and somewhat obnoxious) ability to get runs in close, low-scoring games. The Chicago pitchers will not need to be great to keep Houston's popgun offense from scoring in bunches. We're going to see a bunch of 3-2, 2-0 games and that's just fine by me. I just don't know who's going to win four of them first.

A few Rockies tidbits: as Tracy Ringolsby writes, Colorado does not plan on many changes either in roster composition or management during this offseason. More of the same, folks! More of the same! However one guy from the front office, senior director of baseball operations Thad Levine, is leaving to become the Rangers' assistant GM. Also, Jorge Piedra's infant daughter is having health problems. Look for Colorado to address the catcher situation immediately after the World Series.

Finally, Joe Girardi will manage the Marlins. I could never stand Girardi when he played for the Cubs, as he was one of those Secret Society of Backup Catcher guys who couldn't hit a lick and ran the bases like a pitcher. Now he's yet another ex-Joe Torre crony getting a managerial position despite having never managed before at any level. I've said it before: Managing is not that easy. And watching someone else who is good at it do it does not make you yourself good at it. Girardi as a former catcher probably has a better understanding of the complete game than Lee Mazilli did, but I still wish all of these young guys would go manage in the minors for a year or two. It improves their staying power and the quality of the game.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.