Why the Astros Will Win the World Series
The Houston Astros have climbed to the top of the National League by using powerful starting pitching and late inning heroics. Both of those things are what make World champions. As long as the Astros keep it up, they will find themselves to be the 2005 World Champions.
The Astros won 89 games; the third most in the National League this season. They won those games on the strength of great starting pitching. As a team, the Astros posted a 3.51 ERA, the second lowest in the league. The Astros offense was mediocre, and they weren’t a particularly clutch hitting team. What they were was a great pitching team.
Teams change over the course of the season - players get better and worse. Newcomers produce. Starters and bullpens tire. Injuries happen. The Astros key to success hasn’t wavered.
The Astros are bringing their strongest feature to the World Series in high gear.
The Astros top three starters, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt, combined for 675 IP, a 2.43 ERA and 540 strikeouts. That will spell trouble for any lineup.
Roger Clemens, the greatest pitcher in the history of MLB, led the National League and the majors with a 1.89 ERA. He went 13 starts covering 87 innings allowing just five runs on the road. Until September, where Clemens gave up nine earned runs in 8 2/3 IP. Roger got his rest and rediscovered his form for the playoffs, and he is likely to be too tough on the White Sox at Comiskey II. Clemens is familiar with the park and the atmosphere, and should dominate in his appearances.
Andy Pettitte turned on the afterburners after his June 14 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Pettitte lost 6-1, allowing six runs in 7 2/3 innings, raising his ERA to 3.77 and dropping his record to 3-7. Pettitte dominated from there on out. He drove his ERA down to 2.39 and went 14-2 the rest of the season. Pettitte won a handful of Championships with the New York Yankees. His postseason experience and his experience with the AL will only help his strong pitching performance.
Roy Oswalt looks like a number three pitcher behind stars like Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte, but Roy isn’t a number two pitcher behind anyone. Oswalt eats innings, he throw hard and wins games. Oswalt went 20-12 and threw 241 innings. He was the NLCS MVP with two outstanding performances against a top offense. Oswalt is at the top of his game.
Having three pitchers of this caliber will make any team a favorite, but can the offense get the three runs they need to win games?
The offense is weak - relatively. They didn’t hit a lot of home runs. They didn’t excel late in the game. They did hit well with men on base and they are scrappy, just like the manager.
The Astros offense will probably struggle. The White Sox staff is strong against right-handed hitters, and the Astro lineup is full of them. However, the best hitter, Lance Berkman, is not and he is going to be the difference.
Even as the Astros offense may struggle, what will put the Astros over the top in the Series are the White Sox struggles against right-handed pitchers. The White Sox hit much worse against RHPs in general, and now they will be facing two of the toughest in the majors.
The games will be low scoring, with the White Sox beating Pettitte and getting handcuffed by Clemens and Oswalt, with Lidge closing the door.
I am not a big fan of the saying “Pitching wins championships”, but this year, great pitching is going to win the championship.
Astros in 7.
Posted: October 21, 2005 at 03:56 AM | 70 comment(s)
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