Last year I went nearly game-by-game, night-by-night with predictions and analysis of the playoffs. Can’t do that this year, but I am doing some quickie starter match-up analysis to do some Divisional Series match-up predictions. The current list of probables is mostly guess work, with the help of MLB.com’s probable pitcher page. Also using depth charts to make guesses on the probables.
Lets start with the home team.
Potential Pitching Match-ups:
- Game 1: SF@Wash: Jake Peavy vs Stephen Strasburg
- Game 2: SF@Wash: Tim Hudson vs Jordan Zimmermann
- Game 3: Wash@SF: Doug Fister vs Madison Bumgarner
- Game 4: Wash@SF: Gio Gonzalez vs Ryan Vogelsong (if necessary)
- Game 5: SF@Wash: Peavy vs Strasburg (if necessary)
The WP’s James Wagner has a nice “how do the Nats fare against Peavy and Hudson” story on 10/2/14 with per-National stats against Peavy and Hudson for the first two games. And Wagner also just announced the rotation order for the Nats.
Yes, it seems like we’re going to see Strasburg & Zimmermann at home instead of Stras-Gio.
Looking at the match-ups, its easy to say “advantage Washington.” Strasburg has been hot. Zimmermann has been even more hot. We then throw the underrated Fister against Giant’s best starter, then come back with Gio in game 4 on the road, where he’s going against the erratic Vogelsong. Hudson has had the Nat’s number for years, but he’s been a train wreck in the 2nd half of 2014. Peavy has been a bulldog for San Francisco since the trade, but was nearly a 5.00 ERA in the AL.
I’m predicting Washington sweeps the first two at home, loses Bumgarner’s start, then beats SF in game 4 to wrap up the series 3-1.
St. Louis-Los Angeles Dodgers
- Game 1: Stl@LAD: Adam Wainwright vs Clayton Kershaw
- Game 2: Stl@LAD: Lance Lynn vs Zack Greinke
- Game 3: LAD@Stl: Hyun-Jin Ryu vs John Lackey
- Game 4: LAD@Stl: Dan Haren vs Shelby Miller (if necessary)
- Game 5: Stl@LAD: Wainwright v Kershaw again (if necessary)
St. Louis has already announced that Michael Wacha is *not* in the post-season rotation, which is a huge blow for their chances to out-last the Dodgers. The game 1 match-up might be the pitching matchup of the post-season, with perennial Cy Young candidate Wainwright going against the likely MVP in Kershaw. Lynn has gone from being barely a 5th starter to being the #2 guy on St. Louis’ staff, but I don’t know if he’s got enough to get St. Louis the split against Greinke. Missing Wacha means that St. Louis will have to depend on both Lackey and Miller. Long odds there.
This series might end up being a sweep frankly; I think LA has the distinct pitching advantage here. And not having Wacha’s dominance from previous post seasons makes it tough. Dodgers in a sweep or 3-1 if the Cards can get to either Greinke or Ryu.
- Game 1: Det@Balt: Max Scherzer vs Chris Tillman
- Game 2: Det@Balt: Justin Verlander vs Wei-Yin Chen
- Game 3: Balt@Det: Bud Norris vs David Price
- Game 4: Balt@Det: Miguel Gonzalez vs Rick Porcello (if necessary)
- Game 5: Det@Balt: Tillman-Scherzer (if necessary)
The 96-win Orioles get rewarded with having to face three Cy Young winners in the first three games. Their rotation mates are underrated (3rd best ERA in the 2nd half) but certainly not in the same class as what Detroit puts up there. Baltimore’s best case is to get a split at home, then a split away and get to the 5th game. I don’t see it: I think this series hinges on whether Verlander is Cy Young-Verlander or inexplicably-bad-lately Verlander. I’m guessing the former; Detroit wins this series in a sweep or perhaps 3-1.
Kansas City-Los Angeles Angels
- Game 1: KC@LAA: Jason Vargas vs Jered Weaver
- Game 2: KC@LAA: Yordano Ventura vs Matt Shoemaker
- Game 3: LAA@KC: C.J. Wilson vs James Shields
- Game 4: LAA@KC: Weaver vs Jeremy Guthrie (if necessary)
- Game 5: KC@LAA: Shoemaker v Vargas (if necessary)
The Angels are struggling into the playoffs and have announced they’re going with a 3-man rotation. Weaver’s history of going on 3 days rest is spotty; one decent start and one blow-out. Meanwhile the Royals burned their #1 guy in the WC game AND threw Ventura enough to have people question Ned Yost‘s sanity (even moreso than they already were with his multiple bunting). But the Angels hit, and the Royals’ guys won’t be able to completely put them at odds.
I think the 3-man rotation will backfire, and whether the Royals throw Guthrie or Danny Duffy in game 4 won’t make a difference; they’ll hit Weaver at home and push this to a 5th game, where everybody will be on deck. Angels in 5.
Lets see if these probable pitchers hold up to guesses made on 10/1/14.