And yet another set of games for us during this very interesting and somewhat surprising 2014 postseason. 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.
As has been the case, 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 4: KC v Orioles
Kansas City Royals’ Jason Vargas doesn’t have much foul ball data for night games last season. What there is indicates that he allowed 31 of 94 (33% of RHB) and 18 of 44 (41% of LHB) to create some offensive play against his team. Not impressive.
Both teams need to be leery of their starters. With foul balls hit in one at-bat the odds of getting an offensive play by just hitting away one pitch is equal to the batting average level all players strive for. At this point, all either team needs to do is swing for contact whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Prediction: Both starters will be gone within 6 innings, as in neither sees the 7th.
NLCS Game 4: Giants v. Cardinals
The Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong’s data for night games from last season is limited. His numbers, though, aren’t impressive regardless. He allowed 27 of 61 right-handed hitters (44.3%) and 18 of 52 left-handed batters (34.6%) create some sort of offensive play.
Cardinals hurler Shelby Miller has more data with respect to foul ball data during night games. 46 of 162 (28.4%) righties and 44 of 136 (32.3%) southpaws have successfully made an offensive play happen after one foul ball or more.
The Cardinals should be able to take the lead in this series if they can shell Vogelsong for fouls. His numbers against righties is atrocious, giving up an offensive play against them 44% of the time. The Cardinals can even toss in a left-handed bat without losing any sleep. They can easily chase him for contact, getting him out early. The Giants have it more difficult when we consider foul ball data. They should run a lineup with as many left-handed bats as possible to increase their chances of contact and driving up Miller’s numbers.
Prediction: I’ll be shocked if Vogelsong lasts 5 complete innings. Miller will probably get himslf into the 7th.