FanPost

AL Playoff Rotations: How do they stack against good offenses? (plus predictions)

I set out to compare how the (4-man) rotations of AL playoff teams have fared against the league's better offenses (NYY, DET, BOS, LAA, TEX, CLE). I weighted the performance of each team's #1 and #2 starters by twice the amount I weighted the respective team's #3 and #4 starters. I figure this is justified since the top two pitchers are (a) likely to get more starts in the postseason and (b) go deeper into ball games than the #3 or #4 starters.

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INDIANS

#1 Sabathia (x2)
#2 Carmona (x2)
#3 Westbrook
#4 Byrd

ERA against top offenses: 3.90
ERA against rest of the league: 3.52 (weighted)

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ANGLES

Lackey(x2)
Escobar(x2)
Weaver
Santana

ERA against top offenses: 4.45
ERA against rest of the league: 3.77 (weighted)

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YANKEES

Wang (x2)
Pettite (x2)
Hughes/Kennedy
Mussina/Clemens

ERA against top offenses: 4.36
ERA against rest of the league: 3.97 (weighted)

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RED SOX

Beckett (x2)
Schilling (x2)
Matsuzaka
Wakefield

ERA against top offenses: 4.39
ERA against rest of the league: 3.90 (weighted)

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Assuming all bullpens to be equal(clearly not reasonable, but lets do this anyway), the each team's rotation could be expected to allow the following number of runs (over nine innings) when facing a 'good' offense:

Indians: 3.90
Angels: 4.45
Yankees: 4.36
Red Sox: 4.39

From the numbers I ran for a similar analysis on each playoff team's offense versus the AL's top 20 pitchers, we can expect each offense to score the following number of runs (over nine innings) against 'good' pitching.

Indians: 4.01
Angels: 3.38
Yankees: 4.36
Red Sox: 3.88

To take these numbers any farther would be a little callous, but let's have some fun. Viewing each team in isolation and assuming that they face both 'good' offenses and 'good' starting pitching in the postseason, it looks like the Indians'(and Yanks') offense balances out its rotation. However, if Boston faced a hypothetical 'good' opponent, it would score 0.51 runs less (over nine innings) than said hypothetical opponent. Similarly, the Angels would be outscored by a whopping 1.07 runs (over nine innings).

Based on this, I'll carve out some playoff rankings....

#1. (tied) Indians/Yankees
#3. Red Sox
#4. Angels

In a month, I'll how much a waste of time all this analysis was! :)

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