During last night's game thread, there was some degree of consternation, much by myself, over the apparent lack of batting prowess by our backstop duo of K. Hill and Bowen.
Pish-posh, some might say.
After placing some distance between last night's game and spending a bit of time on http://www.baseballreference.com i have come to agree. take a look there at the WS catchers since 2003. If you note that Pudge Rodriguez has appeared twice, it gets more interesting.
- I-Rod (.297/.364/.474) vs. Posada (.281/.405/.515) pretty solid offensive matchup, but Posada is not even close to Pudge defensively and he also gets to DH...and he flopped to a .619 OPS in the playoffs.
- Mike Matheny (.247/.292/.348) vs. Jason Varitek (.296/.390/.482) This was probably the last solid offensive season Varitek will ever have and it was one of his best. Matheny is proof that a solid defensive catcher is as, if not more important than a big time offensive catcher. Though the Red Sox did win this series, Manny (.350/.423/.500) and Papi (.400/.515/.764)carried them, as reflected in Varitek's (.245/.328/.472) line in the postseason. For my money, I think Matheny handles pitchers as good as anyone I've ever seen. He deserves a lot of the credit that Dave Duncan is getting for Carpenter and Morris.
- Broad Brad Ausmus (.258/.351/.331) vs. A.J. Pierzynski (.257/.308/.420) Wow. That's some shoddy hittin' there on both sides. However, both men are plus defensive catchers who handled some very tough pitchers to catch (Garland, Contreras, Oswalt, Clemens) pretty damn well. They weren't there for offense.
- Yadier Molina (.216/.274/.321) vs. I-Rod (.300/.332/.437). This the Larussa method. Who cares if the catcher can hit, so long as he can handle the pitchers and throw out at least 25% of base stealers. It works...and this time, the Cardinals won, though the Tiger pitchers almost seemed complicit.