Yesterday, my keys were pretty spot on, so I thought they should be a reoccurring theme for the remainder of the playoffs.
- Buehrle -- Work ahead in the count -- Buehrle is considered a good control pitcher, and he doesn't walk a lot of people, but he has had the tendency to fall behind batters in the second half.
- Get the change up and curveball over for strikes. -- I think Buehrle is most effective when he is getting strikes with his curveball. It's a pitch that you don't see him throw too often, but it makes all of his other pitches that much more dangerous when he's getting it over.
- Vary the pace -- It seems to me that Buehrle gets himself in a rhythm throwing the ball. Sometimes this can be a good thing, like when he's striking out 12 and pitching a 1:39 complete game. Others, however, I think it hinders his effectiveness. He can get the other team in a rhythm too. They know he's going to be around the zone, and mostly away to right-handers. He often seems to give up 3 or 4 hits in a very short period of time. -- Break it up a little if they get a couple of hits.
- Use the opposite field. -- Yesterday, I thought the key from our hitter's perspective was to work the count. That's going to be very difficult to do against Wells, who doesn't walk anybody. We do, however, have a heavily right-handed lineup, and Wells tends to work the outside corner with a change and his big curveball. Sox hitters need to take that pitch to right field to him.
- Use the chip -- During the first two months of the season, the Sox played like they had a chip on their shoulders. They had something to prove, and did so whenever they got the chance. That's exactly what I saw from them yesterday. We need to see more of it today.