Gabe Kapler on M&M: ‘Red Sox are going to win this series in seven’
|10.30.13 at 1:50 pm ET|
Fox Sports baseball analyst Gabe Kapler joined Mut & Merloni on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the World Series as the Red Sox prepare to host the Cardinals in Game 6.
Kapler, a former Red Sox outfielder, predicted the Tigers would top the Sox in the American League Championship Series. He’s going with Boston in the World Series, but he predicts it will take one more day.
“The Red Sox are going to win this series in seven,” Kapler said. “But tonight, [Michael] Wacha‘s going to be too much for the Red Sox to handle. I was breaking down his mechanics yesterday, and this is the reason that this kid is so strong and that he’s not going to falter: His shoulders have zero percent tilt. That allows him to pound the strike zone accurately and not utilize his shoulder tilt for power.
“So, on top of this crazy deceptive delivery, straight over the top, he’s also got really good lower-half and upper-half mechanics. And that’s why — even if the pressure gets to him a little bit — he still is able to maintain that focus and pound the strike zone. And I just think that he’s going to be too much for the Red Sox tonight. But I will take the Red Sox in seven.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell turned some heads by electing to start Jonny Gomes in left over Daniel Nava in Game 6. Kapler said Wacha’s changeup might have played a role in that decision.
“The reason that I think, perhaps, that John Farrell may go with Jonny Gomes over Nava is because of that equalizer changeup,” Kapler said. “Because otherwise, the weighted on-base average for Nava is so significantly better than Jonny Gomes that there’s no other reason or answer why Jonny Gomes would be in the lineup. So I think maybe that changeup equalizing the left-handed bat might be the reason that John is deciding to go with Jonny Gomes.”
David Ortiz has been an offensive force through the first five games, leading to speculation that the Cardinals will try a new approach with him.
“You have to move his feet. If you don’t throw the ball up and in tonight and get him a little bit uncomfortable, you are doing yourself a huge disservice,” Kapler said. “And I understand [Mike] Matheny‘s take, and also [Adam] Wainwright‘s take. He’s like, ‘We want to just go after these guys, we don’t want to show anybody any fear.’ But at the same time, this guy’s been so incredibly dominant. He’s reached base 15 of 20 times in the World Series. That’s unheard of. It’s not like he’s reaching base against the fourth and the fifth starters; he’s reaching base against the aces.
“This guy is as good as he was in 2004. And as we all know, he was pretty good back then.”
Added Kapler: “From my standpoint, if I was making the decision — this is not just Mike Matheny; it’s also Wacha and it’s also Yadier Molina — but for me, I don’t pitch to David Ortiz. And there’s really no Manny Ramirez to protect him. Not that the other Red Sox players aren’t equipped to be a good support system in that lineup. They scored the most runs in the American League this year. That’s not the case at all. There’s just no threat that you go, ‘This guy is so good that it’s pick your poison between like Ortiz and Ramirez.’ No. Ortiz is standing out as by far the best hitter in the World Series.”
If the series does go to seven games, Kapler said he expects Jake Peavy to start the finale, despite calls for Felix Doubront based on his strong efforts in relief in Games 3 and 4.
“It’s such a difficult question,” Kapler said. “I’m going to go back to my really comfy spot on the couch and say what I thought of Felix Doubront in his last appearance would tell me that just based on the way the Cardinals hitters have fared against left-handed pitching that he’s the guy I want on the mound, and I might even consider throwing him out there to start.
“That said, Peavy was acquired at the deadline for a reason. You can’t get too emotional and get caught up in one start or one appearance, like I would be with Doubront. So I’ll say this: I think maybe Peavy goes. If he’s strong, he goes a little bit further. If not, you have Doubront, who looked extraordinary in his last outing, ready to come in and face a Cardinals lineup that has had extraordinary difficulty facing left-handed pitching.”
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