Purgatory Online

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Although home-field advantage in a five-game series isn't all that big a deal, one of the dominoes that fell over when the Angels swept the Rangers was the ability to hit against Mike Mussina with Mussina on the road. You'll see what I mean in a minute.

But first, Mussina's left-right splits, which are actually pretty boring:

vLHB - .282/.334/.436, 394 PA, 2.60 BB9, 8.40 K9, 10.20 H9
v RHB - .286/.332/.437, 372 PA, 2.11 BB9, 5.82 K9, 9.74 H9

Those are remarkable only for their similarity; other than a slightly elevated strikeout rate against lefties, they're virtually identical. Mussina's a slight groundball pitcher against both lefties and righties as well.

However, consider those splits - which are season-long - when looking at these numbers:

Away - .308/.370/.458, 394 PA, 3.18 BB9, 7.90 K9, 11.19 H9
Night - .291/.336/.469, 577 PA, 2.22 BB9, 7.46 K9, 10.34 H9
After All-Star Break - .298/.353/.447, 288 PA, 2.71 BB9, 8.41 K9, 10.58 H9

Hmmmm...so Mussina seems to have been a fair bit worse on the road, a little bit worse at night, and a fair bit worse after the break (his August and September numbers are particularly suspect). All of which leads me to believe that the key to offensive production against him won't necessarily be the matchups, but rather individual hitters taking advantage of his mistakes.

Predicted lineup:

Figgins - 3B
Cabrera - SS
Anderson - DH
Guerrero - RF
Erstad - 1B
Molina - C
Finley - CF
Rivera - LF
Kennedy - 2B