Alright, the ALCS starts up tomorrow and it’s still kind of surreal that the TIGERS ARE STILL IN THE PLAYOFFS. They’re in the final four. Rather then rehash what I said about the Tigers in my ALDS preview, I’ll take at look at what the A’s have done this season. And in case you missed it, these two teams have a small amount of playoff history. I highlighted that in yesterday’s post.
One of the best places I like to go to analyze a team is the Hardball Times team stats page. The first thing that sticks out was that the A’s outperformed their projected (pythagorean) win total by eight games. That was the most in the MLB. Some of that might be attributable to their solid record in close games (they won 47 games by two runs or less, tops in the majors), which is a testament to their bullpen. In fact, Texas actually outperformed the A’s as far as projected wins. They outscored their opponents by 51 runs while the A’s outscored theirs by 44. The Tigers projected wins were tied with the Yankees at 96 and that was the best in the majors.
The A’s scored only 4.76 runs per game. That was well below the league average of 4.97 and it wasn’t too far ahead of the Kansas City Royals at 4.67. Their OBP was right around the league average (.340 vs. .342 in the AL, Beane still likes his walks) but the team’s .412 slugging percentage was just ahead of Royals, who were last in the American League. Even the worst team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, had a higher slugging percentage (.420).
The A’s pitching was very good though. Their ERA was a solid 4.21, but their Fielding Independant ERA was only 4.44, not too far from the Tigers mark of 4.36. The team’s strikeout rate, walk rate and homerun rate were right at the league average and were nearly identical to the Tigers. And the A’s left on base percentage of 73% was just behind the league leading Tigers of 74%.
As far as fielding, the A’s are pretty average. Their +/- came in right at zero, where as the Tigers led the AL with a +60. So while the A’s arms are just as good as the Tigers based on FIP, the Tigers have the defense behind them to help out those pitchers.
So, you should some great pitching in this series. This should equate to some low scoring games and a lot of excitement, but these things never seem to work out exactly as planned, so we’ll see. I’ll stand by my earlier prediction and say Tigers in seven although I messed up the games Rogers will win. It’ll be games three and game seven.