Playoffs! The rest of the Divisional Series

Now that I have figured out the division series are best of 5, I’ll finish up analysis and predictions for the rest of the first round. I will divide up each series into four categories: starting pitching, bullpen pitching, offense and fielding. I’ll be using xFIP to measure pitching–since xFIP has proven to be a strong indicator of future pitching performance. For offense, I used a weighted run scoring model that favors the second half of each team’s season over the first, and then UZR for defensive run-saving.

NLDS: Phillies- Reds

Starters

Phillies: Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, Halladay, Oswalt. xFIP: 3.26

Reds: Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto, Volquez, Arroyo. xFIP: 4.24

Bullpen

Phillies xFIP: 4.12

Reds xFIP: 4.18

Offense (Park Adjusted)

Phillies: 4.74 runs/game

Reds: 4.69 runs/game

Defense

Phillies: -0.04 runs/game

Reds: +0.28 runs/game

Overall advantage: Phillies +0.51 runs/game, Phillies win series 60%. It’s no secret the Phillies are really good. Nuff said.

ALDS: Yankees-Twins

Pitching

NYY: C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes (4.01 xFIP)

MIN: Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing, Nick Blackburn (3.76 xFIP)

Bullpens: NYY – 4.24 xFIP, MIN – 4.30 xFIP

Offense

NYY: 5.02 runs/game

MIN: 5.01 runs/game (The Twins are actually scoring better in the second half of the season, despite the loss of Justin Morneau).

Defense

NYY: +0.12 runs/game

MIN: +0.20 runs/game

Advantage TWINS! by +0.25 runs/game; Twins win series 55%*

*Note: This prediction did not take into account the fact that the Yankees Division was tougher. I don’t have an easy way to measure that, so I’ll wave my hands around magically and say it’s a pretty even series. The surprise comes in the offense, where, once ballparks are accounted for, the Twinkies are nearly level with the Yankees. While the perception may be that the Yankees will steamroll the Morneau-less Twins, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Minnesota pulled it out. Since June, Thome has mashed 20 HR while posting a mammoth OPS of 1.158 after the All-Star break. Mauer’s second half has seen a huge boost, too, with a 0.974 OPS.

ALDS: Rangers – Rays

Pitching

TEX: Cliff Lee, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Tommy Hunter (3.88 xFIP)

TBR: David Price, James Shields, Matt Garza, Wade Davis (4.20 xFIP)

Bullpens: TEX: 4.31 TBR; 4.00

Offense

TEX: 4.55 runs/game

TBR: 5.10 runs/game

Defense

TEX: +0.09 runs/game

TBR: +0.20 runs/game

Advantage RAYS +0.48 runs/game; Rays win the series 59%*

*Note: It’s hard to say how healthy Josh Hamilton is, but the Rangers haven’t been a fully healthy team for much of the season, with significant games missed from Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler and Hamilton. The 4.55 runs/game figure could be a lot higher if all these guys are truly healthy right now.

I think the Phillies will come out of the NL to face the Rays in the World Series. This is not in any way a bold prediction, but no statistically sound predictions are. I think the Phillies are the best team in Baseball right now. Halladay and Oswalt could potentially get 4 starts between them in the ALCS or World Series, and maybe even 5 because of scheduling. This would require one of their guns to start once on three days rest. No big deal. Oswalt has started and pitched 31.1 innings on 3-days rest, recording 27Ks to just 11 walks for a 2.59 ERA. Halladay has recorded 42 innings on 3-days rest, with 27 Ks, 1BB (yes, ONE!) and a 2.79 ERA. Halladay is my NL Cy Young pitcher, and Oswalt is pretty damn good; anyone who has to face these guys 4 or 5 games out of a potential 7 is probably screwed (that’s my technical analysis). Oh by the way, they have Cole Hamels, too, who is arguably better than Oswalt.

Please enjoy the SHOW 🙂

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