Thursday, October 09, 2008
You're Joe Torre, you have one significant pitching decision to make outside of gametime decisions and that is who are you throwing game 4. Your options are poler opposites.
On one hand you have Greg Maddux, who made his debut in 1986 and was one of the best pitchers of his generation. He has all of the postseason experience you could ask for having started 30 games in his career including 5 games in the World Series to the tune of a 3.32 ERA. Granted he doesn't have the stuff he used to have and he struggled down the stretch for the Dodgers (5.09 ERA in Dodger Blue) but he's a wily veteran who knows how to get it done.
On the other hand you have young uber prospect Clayton Kershaw. A rookie born 2 years after Maddux's major league debut, he's a giant fireballin lefty with superb stuff. Kershaw also finished off the season with his best month posting a 3.45 and 29 Ks in 28 2/3 innings. He'll definitely bring youthful exuberance to the hill if he starts but could the pressure adversely effect him?
Outside of the experience factor and the stuff factor there are matchup questions. Neither pitcher had much success with the opposition as Kershaw posted an 8+ ERA in 2 starts and Maddux a 5+ ERA in 3 starts. The Phillies are a left handed dominant team with their biggest two bats being Utley and Howard so that would lead you to believe that throwing the lefty Kershaw would be the smart move. But then again, if you could utilize Kershaw as the left handed specialist to go after Utley and Howard in clutch spots in every game wouldn't you?
It's a tough decision for Joe, but I think I'd go with the Maddux experience and the ability to use Kershaw to match up with Utley and Howard on a nightly basis.