The 2014 postseason continues with the Championship Series’. So far the predictions with a +/-1 are incredibly accurate. But there have been some surprising incorrect predictions. Some of the starters have been pulled extremely early.
All stats are from the 2013 season for either a night game or a day game, depending on when it is being played, and at-bats that included 1 or more foul balls. The following data comes from our foul ball database that draws from Retrosheet.org.
All percentages represent a combination of batters who got on base themselves (1B, 2B, 3B, HR, Hit-by-pitch, BB), helped force an error, a wild pitch, a steal or otherwise generated offense.
ALCS Game 3: KC v Orioles
Jeremy Guthrie takes the hill for the Royals in Game 3 of the ALCS. In night games, Guthrie is 41 for 127 versus right-handed hitters, or 32.3% of these batters after one foul ball or more. He’s allowed 53 of 143 left-handed hitters, or 37.1%.
Orioles hurler Wei-Yin Chen had a rough last postseason start. He let 38 of 137 (27.7%) righties generate offense, and 10 of 47 (21.3%) lefties he faced in night games.
It’s clear that if the birds want to finally fly away with a win, they need to get Guthrie out quickly. They can do that with a balance order. All they need to do with do exactly what the Royals have done this post season: swing for contact. Doing so will give them a 1 in 3 shot at generating some type of offense and driving up the count on him.
The Royals need to keep doing that whole small ball thing they’ve been doing. It’s difficult to beat Chen by building his pitch count since he has such good numbers after a batter slaps a foul off. So to get him, the Royals just need to swing for contact too, but hit it fair instead of foul.
Prediction: Guthrie is out in 6. Chen will also do 6 (I hope! His last outing barely qualified as a “start”.)
NLCS Game 3: Giants v. Cardinals
Hudson v Lackey
The Giants have decided to start Tim Hudson in Game 3 of the NLCS. Hudson doesn’t have much data. Last season he allowed 9 of 28 right-handed batters and 8 of 34 lefties to create offense after one foul ball in day games; that comes to be 32.1% and 23.5% respectively.
The Cardinals’ John Lackey is in a similar situation as Hudson as far as foul ball data goes: Not much to go on. He let 14 of 44 righties (31.8%) and 15 of 67 left-handed batters (22.4%) generate offense.
Both teams seem to be going into uncharted waters here based on the foul ball data. This will be a difficult one since I have a lack of information in this area, but my guess is that both starters will last 5-6 innings. I doubt either will reach the 7th.