Just some thoughts in advance of tonight’s Brewers/Phillies game:
Dave Bush gets a closeup, and while Bush has, in the past, been a pitcher I pushed as a sleeper candidate, an underrated hurler, etc., I’m not sure this is the time to tout him as someone who might surprise this evening. Since a strong 2006 season, Bush’s peripherals have been slipping, with his strikeout rate and home-run rate going in opposite directions, leaving him a back-end starter rather than a #3 with #2 upside. You can ski on his Stuff scores: from 21 to 14 to 6 in three years. He survived this year on a very low BABIP (.238), and his problems with lefty batters (.244/.308/.473) could give him trouble against the Phillies’ lineup core. In six career starts against the Phillies-here’s your grain of salt-Bush has allowed 10 homers. Carlos Villanueva might be warming up right now.
The Brewers bats haven’t been good, with four singles, three doubles and five walks in two games. That’s it. They’re not quite as HR-dependent as the White Sox are, but they do need to hit some long balls if they’re going to win. The matchup of Jamie Moyer-despite his history of being effective against right-handed batters-is as good as it will get for the Brewers in this series. They have to take advantage of the situation.
The Phillies are 2-0 in this series without getting a ton from Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. The two are 1-for-12 with six walks the “1″ being Utley’s double Wednesday off of Mike Cameron. In what could well be a high-scoring affair tonight, with two good offensive teams facing #3 starters in a hitters’ park, what the Phillies get from their two best hitters could be a key to whether we see a Game Four in this series.
I can’t help but wonder, should the Brewers not win three straight games here, if it will have been worth it for them. Was it worth Matt LaPorta, a couple of other prospects, and the cash they paid Sabathia to have the September they had, and a couple of postseason home games? The cash will cancel out, so it just comes down to the question of whether the six years of LaPorta at below-market cost was worth it. We say, all the time, that flags fly forever; trading the future to win a championship is just something you have to do sometimes. But what happens when what you trade for is just a naked flagpole?
I don’t know if there’s a right answer. I just think the question is interesting.