October 21, 2006


World Series Preview: Young arms to open the World Series (Ronald Blum, October 21, 2006, The Associated Press)

Even before the first pitch is thrown, the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers are making this World Series memorable.

Game 1 will have two rookie starters for the first time, with Justin Verlander pitching tonight for the Tigers and Anthony Reyes for the Cardinals. [...]

Verlander, 23, and Reyes, 25, have combined for 23 career wins. When John Smoltz opened the 1996 Series for Atlanta, he had 24 victories in that year alone.

Verlander and Reyes will be the first rookies to start in the World Series since John Lackey led the Anaheim Angels against San Francisco in 2002's Game 7. Livan Hernandez was the previous rookie to start Game 1, selected in 1997 by Florida Marlins manager Jim Leyland -- now guiding the Tigers.

The previous low for wins by a Game 1 starter was set by Howard Ehmke for the 1929 Philadelphia Athletics. He went 7-2 during the regular season, then beat the Chicago Cubs and Charley Root, 3-1, in Game 1.

Not since Jon Matlack opened the 1973 World Series for the New York Mets against Oakland after going 14-16 had a pitcher with a losing record started Game 1. The Athletics won that one, 2-1, behind Ken Holtzman.

Who has the edge? A position-by-position look at World Series matchup (Seattle Times, 10/21/06)
How they compare

A position-by-position look at the World Series matchup

Obviously Albert Pujols gets the edge over every 1b in baseball, but the three other spots where they give the Cardinal the edge are dubious even when the guy is healthy, which none of the three are.

World Series lifts Detroit's morale (John Lippert and Larry DiTore, October 21, 2006, BLOOMBERG NEWS)

The Tigers' success is now a symbol of Detroit's determination in hard times. The area's two biggest employers, Ford and General Motors Corp., are cutting 60,000 jobs. A third of Detroiters live in poverty. And no state has a higher unemployment rate than Michigan's 7.1 percent.

"To have pride and optimism, even if it's just from baseball, is important to Detroit in a way that people in cities like New York will never understand," says Kevin Boyle, a former resident who wrote a book on Detroit's race relations.

The city has been through this before. The Tigers' 1984 World Series appearance came as automakers were recovering from an oil price spike that forced Ford to cut its U.S. work force in half. In 1968, they went to the Series 15 months after a race riot that left 43 dead. The Tigers won the Series both years.

Detroit's latest mood swing is so stunning it might help Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm win re-election against Republican Dick DeVos, said Ed Sarpolus, president of EPIC-MRA, a polling firm in Lansing, Mich.

Before the baseball playoffs began Oct. 3, a poll found that 26 percent of Michigan residents expected the state's economy to improve during the next six months. By last week, the number had jumped to 34 percent, Mr. Sarpolus said.

They ain't makin' cars out there.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 21, 2006 8:26 AM

David Eckstein over Carlos Guillen at SS? Give me a break.

Posted by: JimBobElrod at October 21, 2006 1:50 PM


It is insane, eh.

Guillen's OPS is .919, better than Rolen or Edmonds

Eckstein is .690, which even for a ss means he's a marginal major leaguer. They'd have been better off keeping Hector Luna.

Posted by: oj at October 21, 2006 4:59 PM