Wednesday, October 1, 2008

MLB Postseason - Divisional Series Preview

Here is a preview of all the Divisional Series Matchups:

Boston Red Sox vs Los Angeles Angels:

Offensive Ratings:

BOS: 5.22 runs per game/173 HR/.280 AVG/.358 OBP/.447 SLG/.815 OPS/108 OPS+/120 SB

LAA: 4.72 runs per game/159 HR/.268 AVG/.330 OBP/.413 SLG/.743 OPS/96 OPS+/129 SB

Pitching Ratings:

BOS: 4.28 runs per game/4.01 ERA/114 ERA+

LAA: 4.30 runs per game/4.00 ERA/109 ERA+

Defensive Ratings:

BOS: 85 Errors/.986 Fielding %/.698 Defensive Effeciency

LAA: 91 Errors/.985 Fielding %/.691 Defensive Effeciency

Comments: Wow, looking at the stats, the Red Sox are the better team almost across the board. It's hard not to pick the Red Sox, but no AL team has made the World Series in the past 13 years with a losing road record. The Angels are the only AL team in the playoffs with a winning road record, so I am going to roll with them to beat the Red Sox, even though I must admit that the Red Sox look like the better team on paper. I think the Angels have a better bullpen than the Red Sox and the addition of Mark Teixeira has improved the offense.

Player to Watch: Mark Teixeira, 1B, Angels

Chicago White Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays:

Offensive Ratings:

TBR: 4.78 runs per game/180 HR/.260 AVG/.340 OBP/.422 SLG/.762 OPS/103 OPS+/142 SB

CHW: 5.00 runs per game/234 HR/.263 AVG/.333 OBP/.448 SLG/.781 OPS/102 OPS+/67 SB

Pitching Ratings:

TBR: 4.14 runs per game/3.82 ERA/114 ERA+

CHW: 4.50 runs per game/4.13 ERA/111 ERA+

Defensive Ratings:

TBR: 90 Errors/.985 Fielding %/.708 Defensive Effeciency

CHW: 108 Errors/.983 Fielding %/.685 Defensive Effeciency

Comments: Pitching and defense win championships and the Rays certainly have both. The White Sox rely too much on the home run to be a productive offense in the playoffs. I'm a little worried about the Rays offense once they go up against the Angels or Red Sox, but against the White Sox they should have enough to get it done. One thing to worry about with the Rays is that Scott Kazmir has not been pitching well lately, so you might want to keep an eye on him in this series.

Player to Watch: Carlos Pena, 1B, Rays

Los Angeles Dodgers vs Chicago Cubs:

Offensive Ratings:

CHC: 5.31 runs per game/184 HR/.278 AVG/.354 OBP/.443 SLG/.797 OPS/109 OPS+/87 SB

LAD: 4.32 runs per game/137 HR/.264 AVG/.333 OBP/.399 SLG/.732 OPS/95 OPS+/126 SB

Pitching Ratings:

CHC: 4.17 runs per game/3.87 ERA/117 ERA+

LAD: 4.00 runs per game/3.68 ERA/120 ERA+

Defensive Ratings:

CHC: 99 Errors/.983 Fielding %/.703 Defensive Effeciency

LAD: 101 Errors/.984 Fielding %/.690 Defensive Effeciency

Comments: Here's something you might not have known: The Dodgers have the best pitching staff in the NL with a 120 ERA+. Unfortunately for them, the Cubs are second with a 117 ERA+. The Cubs also have the second best offense in the NL with a 109 OPS+. I know the Dodgers are better offensively now that they have Manny in the lineup, but I don't think Lou Pinella is going to let Manny Ramirez beat him and I don't think the young players on the Dodgers are going to step it up. I expect this to be a tough series for the Cubs, but they will pull it out in the end. I think Alfonso Soriano will come up big for the Cubs in this series.

Player to Watch: Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs

Milwaukee Brewers vs Philadelphia Phillies:

Offensive Ratings:

PHI: 4.93 runs per game/214 HR/.255 AVG/.332 OBP/.438 SLG/.770 OPS/103 OPS+/136 SB

MIL: 4.63 runs per game/198 HR/.253 AVG/.325 OBP/.431 SLG/.756 OPS/102 OPS+/108 SB

Pitching Ratings:

PHI: 4.20 runs per game/3.89 ERA/115 ERA+

MIL: 4.25 runs per game/3.87 ERA/112 ERA+

Defensive Ratings:

PHI: 90 Errors/.985 Fielding %/.695 Defensive Effeciency

MIL: 101 Errors/.984 Fielding %/.700 Defensive Effeciency

Comments: C.C. Sabathia has been great for the Brewers this season, but contrary to popular belief he can't pitch every game of this series. I think the Brewers will struggle in the games that Sabathia doesn't start, especially if Ben Sheets isn't healthy. I was suprised to see that the Phillies have such a good pitching staff, ranking third in the NL with a 115 ERA+. Most of that is because of their exceptional bullpen, which is led by closer Brad Lidge. In the starting rotation, Cole Hamels is definitely a big time pitcher, but the key is going to be Brett Myers who had an excellent second half of the season. I think the Phillies will take this series.

Player to Watch: Brett Myers, P, Phillies

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