Saturday, September 20, 2008

Home-field advantage. It's important.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. This way of thinking is wrong. Here's the road records of the other playoff teams in the AL:

TB: 35-38
BOS: 38-41
CHW: 34-42

Make these teams beat us on the road where they have losing records. Don't go into Tampa Bay and expet a series win. Don't go into Fenway and expect a series win. Make these teams win where they haven't been able to all season.

And it's not "just one game." It's the order of the games. Losing the first game in a series is not a good way to start ('02 Angels exempt), with the 2007 ALDS fresh in my mind. See also: 2008 Lakers, 2004 Angels.

Resting players is one thing. Giving away games is another. Letting Jon Garland continue to pitch when he clearly had nothing yesterday turned a 7-0 lead into a 9-7 deficit. That's not resting the regulars. That's forcing Aybar to stay on the field for a half hour inning. We have a bullpen full of Bees. Play them when a clearly ineffective starter is getting shelled.

Finally, baseball is about timing. Resting players for a week straight before the playoffs didn't help last year, and it won't help this year. Either they're hurt and can't play or they need to be in there at least every other day. Don't let them get rusty. Even a late-inning pinch hitting appearance is fine, but if they're actually hurt, they're not going to get their timing back by sitting on a bench and then getting in front of playoff pitching.

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