Home > Sports > Postseason Matchups — Likely Formats — Pitching Rotations

Postseason Matchups — Likely Formats — Pitching Rotations

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments
AL vs. NL logo

AL vs. NL logo

I have been asked quite a bit in the last week how the AL Postseason is going to shape out. I have been asked what teams will play who, which rotation order managers will use, who is going to have home field advantage and which format (ALDS) will be used for the teams included in the playoffs. This entry can get a bit lengthy so try baring with me here…

In the NL everything is basically decided. Unless the Rockies get ice cold and the Giants/Marlins/Braves catch absolute fire and nearly run the table from this point forward – the NL is set.

NL West: Dodgers
NL Central: Cardinals
NL East: Phillies
NL Wild Card: Rockies

In the AL everything looks to be locked up as well — except for the AL Central. The Twins have a shot at catching the Tigers. Now whether or not this will happen is yet to be seen, personally I don’t see the Twins catching the Tigers but that is why they play the game…because you never know. So with that said the AL teams would be:

AL West: Angels
AL Central: Tigers
AL East: Yankees
AL Wild Card: Red Sox

ONLY in the ALDS (not the NLDS) the team with the best record (Yankees) gets to choose which format of the ALDS they would like to play. The two formats (A & B) are scheduled like this:

ALDS ‘A’

Game

Matchup

Day

Date

Time ET

TV

Gm 1 TBD @ TBD Wed Oct. 7 TBD TBS
Gm 2 TBD @ TBD Fri Oct. 9 TBD TBS
Gm 3 TBD @ TBD Sun Oct. 11 TBD TBS
Gm 4* TBD @ TBD Mon Oct. 12 TBD TBS
Gm 5* TBD @ TBD Wed Oct. 14 TBD TBS

 

 ALDS ‘B’

Game

Matchup

Day

Date

Time ET

TV

Gm 1 TBD @ TBD Thu Oct. 8 TBD TBS
Gm 2 TBD @ TBD Fri Oct. 9 TBD TBS
Gm 3 TBD @ TBD Sun Oct. 11 TBD TBS
Gm 4* TBD @ TBD Mon Oct. 12 TBD TBS
Gm 5* TBD @ TBD Wed Oct. 14 TBD TBS

As you can see format ‘B’ is a “quicker” schedule. This is where some strategy and confusion amongst the ‘average fan’ comes into play…

Well like I said earlier the AL team with the best record gets to choose their format. Thus, the Yankees will have to announce which format they are going to play in (whether it be A or B). This effects the Angels as well – because the Angels want the quicker schedule – and chances are the Yankees do too…here is why:

The Angels will have home field advantage since they are matching up against the Wild Card team. So the Angels rotations will LIKELY be (in order): Lackey, Weaver, Kazmir, Saunders. Lackey has pitched under pressure (winning game 7 of the World Series in 2002) and has pitched in several postseason games since, so Lackey looks like the obvious choice. Now how about second? Well if I were Scioscia I would go with Weaver for a couple reasons: 1. Weaver is effective at home and 2. Kazmir is nearly impossible to hit in Fenway Park. Since games 3 and 4 will be played in Boston, it makes sense to have Kazmir (who pitched there last season in the playoffs and was unhittable) and Saunders (great career numbers in Fenway as well) pitch those games.

Now why would the Yankees want the quick format ( Series B) as well? Well, I understand they have C.C. which means in a shortened series like format B, Sabathia would only get two starts if it went to a game 5. HOWEVER!!!…you need to look at who the Yankees are going to face. If they match up with Detroit (which is most likely the case) would you want a shortened series facing Verlander twice guaranteed and Jackson twice if it goes to a game 5? I sure wouldn’t.  Especially since my number two starter (A.J. Burnett) has been extremely inconsistent  over the last couple months.

In fact, the Yankees possible number two starter is Andy Pettitte! What?!?! No, seriously–there is a very good chance Joe Girardi elects to pitch Pettitte in game 2 and Burnett in game 3. What does this mean? This means if the Yankees choose the fast series (format B) they will only face Verlander twice IF the series makes it to a game 5. If they go with the more spread out format (series A) then they will face Verlander twice, and possibly a game 5 showdown between Jackson and Pettitte.

Now…If you were Giarardi and the Yanks wouldn’t you try avoiding this?

This means the Yankees will choose the quick format (which is what the Angels want as well) and the Angels will be forced to play in the more spread out format…

Thus, the Yankees are going to most likely choose the quick format which would leave the Angels v Red Sox format with spread out outings. I think the Angels would still elect to go with 4 starters (given Kazmir and Saunders success in Fenway) although Boston would only use three starters: Beckett, Lester, and Dice-K.

Postseason Fever is here people! Are you ready for it??

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  1. Jacob Amaral
    September 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I never thought about that before. I knew about the best record team choosing how he wants to schedule to play out. But you did a great job at explaining why the Yankees would choose their specific format. You got to go after a teams weakness! It makes sense for them to stay away from Justin Verlander

  2. October 1, 2009 at 4:34 am

    I don’t know If I said it already but …This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  3. November 2, 2009 at 11:44 am

    thanks 🙂

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