Last night, the Tigers and Red Sox faced off in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. It was the first meeting between the teams since the Red Sox tied up the series at one game apiece after trailing 5-1 going into the eighth inning. In case your short-term memory isn’t so good lately, that was the game where David Ortiz, a man who has had great troubles in the past during key situations, did this:
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The Dodgers are heavy favorites for the game, but if the Cardinals can win Game Four they'll take a big lead in the series.
Things looked bleak for the Dodgers as they left St. Louis Saturday. Hanley Ramirez was questionable with a rib injury, they had lost games behind Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, and they were facing Adam Wainwright in Game 3. But after a strong performance by Hyun-Jin Ryu and a couple of well-timed hits, the Dodgers are back in the series. Here are the PECOTA odds and projected lineups for Game 4:
Does how hard you had to fight to make the playoffs matter once you're there?
Oh boy, it’s playoff time! Time for all of the baseball prognosticators out there to find that perfect little factoid that no one else has noticed about each series. It needs to be slightly surprising and counter-intuitive so that the reader is entertained by your erudite knowledge of the game, not to mention your use of the word “erudite.” You also need to be able to make a case, probably though some questionable logic, that this factoid will, over the next five games between these two teams, not only make a difference in the outcome of the series, but will be the difference between the teams. You get bonus points if you refer to someone really obscure as an X-factor.
Cataloguing the different methods pitchers use to generate momentum.
One of the features of TINSTAAPP, the podcast I co-host with Paul Sporer, is what we call “homework,” in which we investigate topics from listener emails through a combination of statistical analysis and video scouting. We also assign homework to one another, and last week's assignment for Paul was of Advanced Placement quality: to study the different “gears” in a pitcher's momentum.
The difficulty factor for evaluating momentum is magnified by the poor viewing angles available on standard television feeds. The center-field camera (or worse, the off-center camera) provides a terrible vantage point for viewing momentum, though it does offer a strategic angle from which to see elements such as dynamic balance and posture at release point. Momentum is best evaluated from a side view, sitting down the first or third baseline, where one can isolate the directional forces that a pitcher puts into his motion.