Sean McAdam typically does a fine job, but this paragraph in a recent article
for ESPN.com struck me as unsubstantiated:Cleveland has a deep rotation, with as many as four pitchers capable of quality starts: C.C. Sabathia, Cliff Lee, Jake Westbrook and Kevin Millwood. But only Sabathia, with exactly one postseason start on his resume, is capable of taking charge of a playoff series.
Why is Sabathia the only one who can "take charge" of a playoff series? Because he throws the hardest? Shouldn't we be looking at who's the best pitcher?
Kevin Millwood and Cliff Lee have better ERAs and WHIPs than Sabathia. In fact, Millwood's ERA this year is lower than Sabathia's career low.
Maybe Sabathia's been particularly good against teams the Indians might face in the playoffs. Let me check ... nope. A nifty 17.36 ERA against Boston, 9.72 against Oakland, and mediocrities in the 4 and 5 range for the Angels and the White Sox. Millwood, meanwhile, has been average against the Red Sox, bad against the Yankees, and excellent against the Angels and the White Sox (ERAs of 2.03 and 1.29, respectively).
Not that those sample sizes are especially meaningful.
What about experience, a factor I'm not entirely convinced is even important? McAdam himself points out that Sabathia has only one postseason start. Millwood checks in with seven playoff starts and nine total appearances. In those starts, he recorded a decent enough 3.92 ERA while striking out 38 and walking 6. His WHIP, believe it or not, was below 1.
It's time to stop categorizing guys as aces because of "stuff" and start looking at performance.
My point is, I have a huge crush on Kevin Millwood.
Labels: c.c. sabathia, kevin millwood, sean mcadam