Thursday, October 09, 2008

Baseball's League Championship Series

ALCS - Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays


I expect to have more on this series tomorrow. For today, let me take, without defending, a couple of positions, and add a couple of notes.

    Positions
  • The Red Sox are a better offensive team.

  • The Red Sox have a better pitching staff

  • The Rays have a better defense

  • The Red Sox are a better team.

  • Boston will win the series.


    Notes
  • These are not your Grandfathers Fightin' Seaweed.

  • The Rays won the season series 10-8.

  • Tampa was 8-1 against Boston in Tampa.

  • Boston was 7-2 against Tampa in Boston.

  • Boston outscored Tampa by 20 runs in 18 games.

  • Boston and Tampa played 6 one-run games and 2 two-run games.

  • Tampa was 8-0 in those games.

  • Boston and Tampa played 3 three-run games.

  • Boston was 2-1 in those games.

  • Boston and Tampa played 7 games decided by four runs or more.

  • Boston was 6-1 in those games.


If you've read me at all, you know where those facts lead me...


Bill James Playoff Prediction System

1. 1 pt to the lead team for each half-game in the standings (TB - 4)
2. 3 pts to the team that scored more runs (BOS - 3)
3. 14 pts to the team with fewer doubles (TB - 14)
4. 12 pts to the team with more triples (TB - 12)
5. 10 pts to the team with more home runs (TB - 10)
6. 8 pts to the team with the lower team batting average (TB - 8)
7. 8 pts to the team that committed fewer errors (BOS - 8)
8. 7 pts to the team that turned more double plays (TB - 7)
9. 7 pts to the team that walked more batters (BOS - 7)
10. 19 pts to the team that had more shutouts (BOS - 19)
11. 15 pts to the team whose ERA was lower (TB - 15)
12. 12 pts to the team that has been in postseason most recently or
went further (BOS - 12)
13. 12 pts to the team that won season series (TB - 12)

BOS - 61, TB - 82


Baseball Prospectus' Secret Sauce rankings

Boston (15) over Tampa (32)


The James system likes Tampa. The Secret Sauce favors Boston. So do I. Boston in 6.



NLCS - Philadelphia Phillies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers



This is an interesting series. Philadelphia finished with a much better record, winning a much better division. And they were clearly a better team over the course of the season. Everyone knows that that means something to me. But the Dodgers are a better team now than they were during most of the season. Not because "they're hot" or "they've got the momentum" or "Torre knows how to win" or anything ephemeral like that.

No, they're a better team because they added Manny Ramirez, and Rafael Furcal is back. The Dodgers played 65 games with Juan Pierre (.283/.327/.328/.655) as their leadoff hitter and left fielder. He's doing neither of those things now. A team would have to have a pretty poor talent base not to be improved by the removal of Juan Pierre from left field and the leadoff spot. The Dodgers played 116 games with Angel Berroa (.230/.304/.310/.614), Nomar Garciaparra (.264/.326/.466/.792) and Chin-Lung Hu (.181/.252/.233/.485) at shortstop instead of Furcal (.357/.439/.573/1.012). Basically, June and July are almost irrelevant to what the Dodgers are now.

The Phillies led the NL in homers, and that's an important thing to be good at in the post-season, but the Dodgers don't allow them. The Dodgers run prevention was the best in the NL, but Philadelphia's was very good, too, in a much more hitter-friendly environment. These are probably two of the best three teams in the NL, and it's an open question (well, in addition to being moot) as to whether or not the Cubs are better. This looks to be a very interesting series.


Again with the objective projectors.

Bill James Playoff Prediction System

1. 1 pt to the lead team for each half-game in the standings (PHI - 16)
2. 3 pts to the team that scored more runs (PHI - 3)
3. 14 pts to the team with fewer doubles (LAD - 14)
4. 12 pts to the team with more triples (PHI - 12)
5. 10 pts to the team with more home runs (PHI - 10)
6. 8 pts to the team with the lower team batting average (PHI - 8)
7. 8 pts to the team that committed fewer errors (PHI - 8)
8. 7 pts to the team that turned more double plays (PHI - 7)
9. 7 pts to the team that walked more batters (PHI - 7)
10. 19 pts to the team that had more shutouts (LAD - 0)
11. 15 pts to the team whose ERA was lower (LAD - 15)
12. 12 pts to the team that has been in postseason most recently or
went further (PHI - 0)
13. 12 pts to the team that won season series (LAD - 0)

PHI - 83, LAD - 29


Secret Sauce:

Philadelphia (40) over Los Angeles (52)

Both of the objective systems like the Phillies. As I say, they're comparing the current Phillies to the inferior Dodgers. The current Dodgers have been together for about two weeks. I think it's a coin flip, and I'm taking Los Angeles. Which sets up a World Series where the Red Sox face Joe Torre, Nomar Garciaparra and Derek Lowe. (Hmm...it seems like there's one more former Red Sox player out in LA, but I can't think who it might be...)

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