Thursday, September 20, 2007

Who will be No. 3 ?

A posting early this morning from my friend Moose got me thinking.

Who should be the Tribe's third starter in the first round of the playoffs?

Based on the playoff format, it is impossible for the Indians to play the Angels in round one. (It's too much to get into here, but if you think about it long enough you'll see that is true).

So, the Tribe will play either Boston or New York. Both teams have patient veteran hitters and both are likely to be tough on finesse, control-type pitchers.

The Tribe's two candidates for the No. 3 slot in the rotation, Paul Byrd and Jake Westbrook, both rely on control and movement. Pinpointing their way to victory against either team will be tough.

The numbers from this season back that notion.

In two start against the Yankees, Westbrook went a total of 8 2/3 innings, allowing 12 earned runs. One of the starts was decent - 7 innings, 4 earned runs. Against the Red Sox, Westbrook threw 6 innings and allowed 5 earned runs in his only start.

Byrd's numbers are also not encouraging. In two starts against the possible first-round opponents (one against each), Byrd pitched 8 innings and allowed 8 earned runs. He got bombed by the Yankees on Aug. 11, but had a 6-inning, 1-run outing against the Sox back in May.

Based on these small samplings, which are next to useless, it would seem Westbrook might be a better bet against New York and Byrd against the Red Sox.

Using the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately approach, the picture is equally fuzzy.

Westbrook has pitched four times in September. He's 0-2 with a 4.56 ERA. He has one quality start this month, against the Angels on Sept. 7. In that game he went 7 2/3 innings, allowing 2 earned runs. In his other three starts, Westbrook threw over 100 pitches in each, but only made it through the fifth inning in two of those games and only pitched 6 innings in the other. A clear sign he's been struggling with his control.

Byrd has also started four times in September. He's 2-1 with a 3.95 ERA, which is clearly better than Westbrook. But, one of those games was a complete-game shutout against the White Sox on Sept. 1. Quite a while ago. If you eliminate that start, Byrd has pitched 18 1/3 innings this month, and allowed 12 earned runs.

So who's comfy with either guy. Not me. Either could dazzle or fizzle.

I just keep thinking of how dominant Westbrook was in August (4-1, 1.90).

But then again, consistency's nice and, except for a bad June (1-2, 6.91), Byrd has been very steady.

Who should start game three?

Anybody know if we can borrow Romeo's infamous coin?

1 comment:

moose said...

number 3 - if yankees maybe the lefty laffey

my vote goes to byrd - he deserves it - he has pitched all year - one knows early if he has it or not

have the bullpen - lots depends on situation - series tiesd or tribe up or down