Nationals Arm Race

"… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.” — Earl Weaver

World Series pitching matchups and prediction


Verlander could be a difference maker in the World Series. Photo via sporting News.

Verlander could be a difference maker in the World Series. Photo via sporting News.

Lets do a quick glance at the World Series pitching matchups and see how they may drive a prediction.  I was pretty close on LCS predictions (I got LA in 5 and predicted Houston in 6).  Lets see how we do for the World Series.

Despite the seven game ALCS series, it looks like Houston is keeping their rotation in tact.  Nonetheless, they’re going to be at a disadvantage compared to the Dodgers, who have been resting for days.  Here’s how I think the matchups will go: the Dodgers have announced their four rotation guys but the Houston #3-#4 are guesses.

The Astros and Dodgers are literally the two best offenses in baseball this year by fWAR added, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone to see some offense this series.  The Astros take a slight hit versus lefties … but not as much as the Dodgers do.  Meanwhile the Astros led the league in BA versus righties and have plenty of experience hitting against the Dodger’s one RH starter (Darvish) by virtue of him being in their division for years.  So some interesting matchups await.

  • Game 1: Hou@LA: Keuchel vs Kershaw: ace versus ace; both are going on regular rest.  Kershaw has been decent this post-season, counter to his career post-season record of unluckiness.  Hard to predict anything but a game 1 win for the Dodgers at home though.
  • Game 2: Hou@LA: Verlander vs Hill: Verlander has been great since moving over to Houston and has been unstoppable in the post-season.   Hill is no slouch himself but Verlander won’t be denied.
  • Game 3: LA@Hou: Darvish vs Morton: Morton seems to be the weak link in the Houston rotation; he may be replaced by former Nat Brad Peacock.  But as noted, the Astros will not be afraid of Darvish and have yet to lose at home.  I see a Houston win here.
  • Game 4: LA@Hou: Wood vs McCullers: McCullers was surprisingly picked to start over Peacock and really performed well; 10ip, 3 hits.  He’s got a great arm, but he’s also streaky.  How well will he throw
  • Game 5: Keuchel vs Kershaw again
  • Game 6: Verlander vs Hill
  • Game 7: Darvish vs Morton


Predictions: I see a split in LA, and I see Houston taking games 3 and 4 in Houston.  So Kershaw is on the mound in game 5 in a do-or-die situation; he gets the series back to LA but Verlander shuts the door again.

Houston in 6.

Written by Todd Boss

October 23rd, 2017 at 8:47 am

18 Responses to 'World Series pitching matchups and prediction'

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  1. The Nats won the season series against both of these teams. (Sigh.)

    Game 2 is going to be massive. If Verlander wins that one, you’ve got to like the Astro chances, even though the back end of their rotation has been pretty weak at times.

    Dodger pitching allowed the fewest runs this season, by a wide margin, while the Astros scored the most runs in baseball. I’ll be rooting for the Astros, but I just don’t think they’re going to have enough pitching in the end.


    23 Oct 17 at 9:12 am

  2. I generally think “Good pitching” beats “good hitting.” I found myself as I wrote this thinking “oh Dodgers will steal one in Houston and win in 6 at home” to looking at it and thinking … the Astros are not going to be afraid of what the Dodgers have coming. Kershaw is not unbeatable in the post season. McCullers looks dominant. Verlander looks like Walter Johnson. The Astros have seen Darvish 5 times in the last two years thanks to being divisional rivals for a while; they’ve gotten to him as much as he’s gotten them.

    And interestingly … the Astros have *barely* used their version of Andrew Miller this post season (Chris Devinski). He’s got 2/3rds of an inning after being one of the most valuable relievers in the game the last two years. So if someone gets into trouble on the mound, they still have their very well rested long man who’s really tough to hit who nobody on LA has ever seen.

    I dunno. something tells me this is Houston’s series.

    Todd Boss

    23 Oct 17 at 9:39 am

  3. Only one team has Jansen.


    23 Oct 17 at 5:36 pm

  4. Ex-Nat Brad Peacock throws 3.2 innings of scoreless relief in the World Series. Wow.


    28 Oct 17 at 8:30 am

  5. I know the series is tied 2-2, but Houston appears to have serious problem at the back end of its bullpen. Giles is toast. They might as well send him home now, as they can’t trust him with anything. The may have to use Peacock and McCullers again in relief as the series progresses.

    In the other bullpen, overuse seems to be catching up with Jansen. He’s pitched 10 times in the postseason.


    29 Oct 17 at 8:19 am

  6. Todd Boss

    29 Oct 17 at 11:07 am

  7. I’m somewhat surprised that Houston lost game 4 … especially with Morton giving them such a great start. That’s not good for them with Kershaw going tonight. But I can still see a 3-2 Houston lead heading back to LA and forcing LA to win two games being started by two guys who have thusfar struggled. I say, still advantage Houston

    Todd Boss

    29 Oct 17 at 11:08 am

  8. I’m sure there will be a thread or two on Martinez, so I won’t ramble on here. Don’t hate it; don’t love it. Much like the Matt Williams hire, they only seemed to have eyes for one guy.


    29 Oct 17 at 1:53 pm

  9. Well, they certainly have done their homework on Martinez. I’m OK with it, just as I could have gone either way on Baker.

    One thing is nice to me – a former Montreal Expos player as the manager. And, one who was a starter on teams that contended but could not break through. It would be amazing for the franchise to win a WS with that connection.

    Another small irony is that the Expos eventually traded him to Cincinnatti in a huge deal that included two other significant talents for the franchise (at the time) that netted them John Wetteland, who became one of the great Expos closers. The Nationals may indeed ship high value assets this winter to get Raisel Iglesias.

    I’m happiest that this is quick and that the reorganization of the team will begin with the end of the WS. Hopefully the coaching staff is lining up as well. We’ll soon see how popular Martinez is in the baseball family.


    29 Oct 17 at 3:12 pm

  10. So it’s Martinez after all. This is one of the few Nats moved that ended consistently with the media chatter.

    I’ll bet that there were a lot of things going on with this one. Partly, at least, is an upcoming roster turnover. If not turnover, then at least revamping. I’ll be open minded to him.

    Been trying to catch up on reactions to this. There’s the typical Nats bashing – which, as an aside, is puzzling that such a mild mannered team rates such contempt from the national media. the Marlins, I get, but the Nats? If you’re not a fan, I’m surprised others are paying attention.

    Anyway, the nugget that I found most interesting was from Steve M at TalkNats. He said that his Nats sources said there was friction between Dusty and Maddux and that Dusty didn’t take much input from him. I find Steve a highly credible guy with his own sources on the team, so I buy this. Very damning to Dusty.


    29 Oct 17 at 8:37 pm

  11. Not surprised by the Baker-Maddux news. You almost never saw them talking in the dugout. At the same time, I have no interest in continuing to re-re-re-litigate the last regime.


    29 Oct 17 at 9:36 pm

  12. I’m very interested to see how the coaching staff fills out.


    29 Oct 17 at 9:49 pm

  13. Kershaw lays yet another egg in the postseason, and the overuse of Jansen is really showing. Roberts not looking so much like a bullpen genius anymore. Now the Dodgers have the sweat of a must-win against Verlander.


    30 Oct 17 at 6:57 am

  14. Is it just me, or has the world sort of shrugged at the Martinez hire? Folks are saying nice things about him, but everyone acknowledges that it’s impossible to know how he’s going to work out because he’s never managed.


    31 Oct 17 at 12:57 pm

  15. J. D. Martinez hires Scott Boras. Hmm . . . Nats sign J. D. and trade MAT as part of deal for a mid-rotation starter. It all sounds good, but I don’t know that their budget will support it.


    1 Nov 17 at 2:21 pm

  16. Congrats to the Astros, who hit better when it mattered than the Dodgers did. In fact, Pederson was about the only Dodger who hit at all, after a lousy (.212) regular season. Darvish was awful, so forget trying to sign him as a #3 playoff upgrade over Gio. Kershaw once again had a chance to put his stamp on a postseason in game 5 and once again didn’t do it. Roberts’s perpetual overtaxing of the Dodger bullpen came back to haunt them in more than one game. The Dodgers would have done better with Wood as their #3 starter, maybe even as their #2, since Hill didn’t even make it five IP in either start.

    I’m not a Dodger fan, but I still came away with the feeling that the Dodgers lost this more than the Astros won it . . . and that the Nats would have had a much better chance against the Dodgers than many thought if they’d just have finished off those sorry Cubbies. Sigh.

    Despite Morrow’s injury history, I’d be interested in seeing the Nats make a run at him if the price is reasonable. They may think they have enough RHP out of the ‘pen if they believe Glover and Kelley are going to get healthy, though. They may also bring Albers back and move Cole to the ‘pen.


    2 Nov 17 at 10:26 am

  17. […] a World Series!  I predicted Houston would win in 6 primarily because I thought Kershaw would get the series back to LA by winning Game 5, […]

  18. Glad the Dodgers lost. The only team I had a rooting interest for after the Nats lost was NYY, believe it or not.


    2 Nov 17 at 2:23 pm

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