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October 7, 2010
Thursday LDS Game Projections
The postseason is now officially underway, and while PECOTA didn’t peg the exact results in the first three games, they were exciting nonetheless. Then again, I don’t think any projection or prediction lent credence to the idea that Roy Halladay would kick off his Doctober with a no-hitter—and one of those real no-hitters, not the cheap ones with five or more walks. Cliff Lee continued his playoff success by holding the Rays to just one run after a potentially scary first inning. And while the Yankees-Twins matchup wasn’t pretty from a pitching standpoint, it was certainly entertaining. But that was yesterday, and today we have three more matchups to discuss: the Rays and Rangers square off at 2:30 p.m. EST, the Twins host the Yankees at 6 p.m., and the Braves visit San Francisco for a 9:30 p.m. Two Game Twos. And Tim Lincecum’s post-season debut should make for quite the fun Thursday.
For those who didn’t get to read Wednesday’s article,
The projected outcome of each event is determined by the Odds Ratio, which I use in my simulations, and which I have explained in past articles. To give a simple example, if Jay Bruce is projected by PECOTA to make an out in 62.4 percent of his plate appearances, but Roy Halladay is projected to generate outs at a 67.2 percent clip, a matchup between these two will result in an out 64.6 percent of the time. For an example of the overall process, the Rays were projected to score 3.85 runs Wednesday to the 3.52 of the Rangers, primarily because they were at home at Tropicana Field, which was the fifth hitter-friendliest park during the regular season this year per our park factors. Additionally, the system considered David Price to be more capable of preventing runs against the Rangers lineup than it did of Lee’s ability to hold the Rays at bay.
With that in mind, each day we will be providing the projected slash lines of each starting lineup—based on what we expect the lineup to be at publishing time – based on the pitcher it will be facing, as well as the projected runs scored for each team and how that translates into the likelihood of each team winning the game. I’ll also note anything that stands out in the data.
Projected Runs Scored: Rangers 4.13, Rays 3.64
Projected Odds of Winning: Rangers 55.79 percent, Rays 44.21 percent
Rangers vs. James Shields
Rays vs. C.J. Wilson
Isn’t that interesting? Not only did the Rangers technically upset the Rays in the first game, but they are ever so slightly projected to win a second game on the road. The big reason is, as evidenced by the slash lines, the performance of James Shields. Though “Big Game”—not sure how he got that nickname before the Rays were actually good—is a lock for 33 starts and 200 innings each year, he was worth one win under replacement this season. Of the 45 pitchers with 200 or more innings pitched this season, Shields posted the second worst SNWP at .419 and the worst ERA at 5.18. Many have already questioned the decision to go with Shields over Matt Garza or even Wade Davis, and the fervor with which the topic has been discussed is only growing after a Game One loss.
Projected Runs Scored: Twins 4.98, Yankees 4.78
Projected Odds of Winning: Twins 51.97 percent, Yankees 48.03 percent
Yankees vs. Carl Pavano
Twins vs. Andy Pettitte
Here we get another tidy storyline as the Yankees face off against Carl Pavano, who gave the Bronx Bombers four years of nothing while collecting quite the hefty paycheck. Then again, half of the current Yankees squad wasn’t even on the team when Pavano signed the contract or played out the final year of said deal, but hey, if the media says this is a storyline, who am I to question that? Once again, the Twins face a left-hander, and even though Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia have different styles of pitching, the platoon effect could prevent Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, Denard Span and Jason Kubel from being their usual effective selves.
Then again, PECOTA really does not think highly of Pettitte, which likely has something to do with his age, so the platoon effect might not be as substantial as I initially thought. Either way, this game projects to be high on runs from both teams, which doesn’t seem like a stretch after Wednesday night’s contest.
Braves (Derek Lowe) at Giants (Tim Lincecum)
Projected Runs Scored: Giants 4.03, Braves 3.19
Projected Odds of Winning: Giants 60.17 percent, Braves 39.83 percent
Braves vs. Tim Lincecum
Giants vs. Derek Lowe
If the 60 percent likelihood the Giants win this game seems high, consider that Vegas also has them with approximately 60 percent odds. It isn’t as if PECOTA is going out on a limb here. Also consider that the Braves team taking the field today is vastly different than the team that ranked highly in our third order standings for most of the year. Lincecum is projected to have a field day with this lineup, and it’s fairly easy to see why. With all due respect to Alex Gonzalez, Rick Ankiel, Nate McLouth, and Brooks Conrad, they aren’t the types of hitters that Lincecum is going to be as careful as possible against.
The projections for Giants hitters appear to be just the opposite, as Derek Lowe isn’t exactly an ace on the level of Halladay or Lincecum. While Lowe brings an average skill set to the table, he is unlikely to completely dominate this lineup. Then again, there were several players on the Giants that played over their head, who may be due for some regression, but even with a performance decline, this game appears to be about as sure of a thing as is possible in a projection for one game.
So who do you think will win? Do you think Pettitte will be able to hold the Twins more at bay than PECOTA does? And what about the Braves lineup—will it mirror the anemic level of production tabled above?