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NLDS Game 4 Open Thread: October 8, 2006

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carpenter williams
15-8, 3.09 12-5, 3.65

Man, I really was hoping to not have to do a game thread today. Bullet point thoughts on yesterday's action:
  • Bernie Miklasz noted on his forum that the Pads are the worst hitting team in the NL at home, (.245/.318/.388) and the best on the road. (.279/.346/.443. The BA and OBP are tops in the league, the slugging 3rd.) The Bird's hurlers gave up 10 hits and 8 walks yesterday, and are fortunate that the score was that close. Kudos to the pen for making the big pitches when it was most needed. Shannon needs to get a hold of his buddy Ol' Uncle Abner, because normally you can't strand that many baserunners and not have to pay the piper.
  • Chris Young dominated. The Cardinal 2-5 hitters were a collective 0'fer 17 yesterday. Young's ability to get a lot of K's, along with Peavy's, was one of the reasons I thought the Padres would win this series. Young didn't look like he had dominating stuff, but he was deceptive and had pretty good control. He also was aided by the Cardinals swinging at a lot of bad pitches out of the zone.
  • Suppan on the contrast, often would get ahead then nibble, nibble, nibble. And there was the painful experience again of watching him try and get together with Molina on the signs. Credit the Padres for taking a very patient approach with Suppan. They took a lot of pitches, looking like statues out there at times.
  • The Padres' pitchers have to feel great about silencing the Great Pujols. Pujols had Eck and Dunc on base in the 6th with only one out, and ended up striking out and silencing the Busch Stadium faithful. In the 8th with 1 out he had Duncan on, and grounded in a double play. Pujols, being the ultimate competitor that he is, will take that to heart, and I wouldn't be shocked to see him have a huge game today. Even Pujols can look bad for a li'l while, but you can't make him look bad for long. Says Albert "I don't think Young is difficult to hit,I was seeing the ball good. I was just chasing bad pitches. When you chase bad pitches out of the strike zone, you make a guy difficult." Do I think Pujols could stand to give Mr. Young more credit? Maybe. But I kinda like that disregard for his opponent, and more so the disgust for his own mistakes.
  • While I love Chris Duncan, I wouldn't mind seeing Preston Wilson or Scott Spiezio getting the start tonight. Watching young Dunc in the field yesterday was painful, and his power could be a nice commodity in a pinch. P-Dub and Spiezio have hit Williams pretty well in limited ab's. Spiezo has homered three times against Woody in 11 Ab's, Wilson has homered twice in 17 ab's , and has driven in 9 runs. Sample sizes, I know. Williams has also struggled mightily against right handed hitting, they are hitting a whopping .335/.377/.535 against him, and that's no fluke, it's right in line with his last 2 seasons. So I'd guess the nod will go to Wilson.

Regardless of what happened yesterday, you have to like our chances with Carp tonight. I have nothing but love for Woody Williams, and his scoreboard numbers look good this season, but he's not really the type of guy who strikes lineups with fear. He's striking out less then 4 batters per 9 after the All Star Break, while giving up around 10 hits/9 and 1.5 HR/9 in that time period. But if we can learn anything about this postseason, it's that 40 year old pitchers can still pitch great games. It was just a couple of years ago Woody pitched 7 innings of 1 hit ball in Game 5 of the NLCS, a performance ruined by Jeff Kent and his 3 run walk off against Izzy.

I admit, I was a doubter of these Birds, I wasn't quite sure they had the goods to even win a postseason game. I mean, I thought maybe they could win a series, just doubted that they would. But over these first three games, they've shown me something I didn't see much of in the regular season. You just see more fire, and a sense of urgency without a sense of panic, even though yesterday you could see the hitters were pressing. Maybe it's just that they are playing with a chip on their shoulder or whatever, but I like it. They need to prove they belong there. Many feel they are a product of this Selig creation, and are probably right. But a win tonight could perhaps change that perception.

So how's everyone's playoff beard going?

Update [2006-10-8 14:25:50 by lboros]: and here's some (probably) meaningless trivia vis-vis the cards' recent postseason play:

yesterday's result leaves the cardinals with a 6-6 record in potential series clinchers under la russa. leave off the 3 losses in clinching games vs the braves in 1996, and the picture is a little brighter: the cards have won 6 of their last 9 clinchers (including yesterday) under tony. here's another stat, not as encouraging: if it comes down to an elimination game tomorrow, the cards are only 2-6 under la russa, with both wins coming in the 2004 nlcs. aside from those two games, la russa has only managed two other games in which his team survived for a day when pushed to the brink: the a's won game 5 of the 1992 alcs while down 3 games to 1, but then lost game 6; and of course there was the classic game 5 from last year's nlcs, when pujols ruined brad lidge's life. tony's career mark in elimination games is 4-10.

better win today.