ALDS: Yankees Indians series analysis

Yankees play the Indians in Cleveland to start their ALDS series tonight.  This post will look at this series in general using each team’s playoff roster and we’ll handicap the first game.  Let’s look at team status for both CLE and NYA.

103.8 93.9 858 660 91 71 -5.3 1.4 NYA
63.3 168.1 818 564 102 60 20.7 1.9 CLE

These are two very similar teams with respect to run differential.  Real wins and loss columns only matter for home field advantage.  Now they’re water under the bridge.  According to our playoff horse race roster analysis a few days ago, these are the best two teams in MLB. Fortunately for the other 6 teams in the playoffs one of them will be gone after this series.

Cleveland has extremely good fielding at +20.7 UR.  That’s top of MLB.  NYA has below average UR.  Giving up unearned runs is a big problem for teams who want to advance in the playoffs at any level.

Let’s see what the betting markets (the Ouija Board) thinks about tonight.

DATE 10_05 7:35_PM NYA CLE
LINEAWAY NYA [ 0.474 ] < 0.439 >
STARTAWAY 3.04(0.584) Sonny_Gray_TOT
LINEHOME CLE [ 0.548 ] < 0.580 >
STARTHOME 0.69(0.518) Trevor_Bauer_CLE
NYA 91 71 CLE 102 60

This is very interesting.   According to this article Francona does not want to pitch Kluber in the first game because he does not want to use him on short rest.  I don’t understand the math here because if you delay his first start that delays his second start.  OK.  You don’t pitch Kluber but why do you pitch Tervor Bauer?  Here are CLE starters according to their playoff roster.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+001+ 10.00 Corey_Kluber_CLE PITCH
+029+ 5.00 Carlos_Carrasco_CLE PITCH
+077+ 3.55 Mike_Clevinger_CLE PITCH
XXXXX 0.69 Trevor_Bauer_CLE PITCH
XXXXX 0.17 Danny_Salazar_CLE PITCH
-123- -2.06 Josh_Tomlin_CLE PITCH
Total 17.35

Just because someone is listed as a starter does not mean he’s going to start.  In a 5 game series they probably only need 3 starters.  Trevor Bauer is their 4th best pitcher according to this data model.  Terry  Francona is a sure to be HOF manager.  He sees these players as people with feelings, we just see them as names and numbers that get spit out of a database.  Francona must have his reasons for this strategy.   Here is Trevor Bauer’s post season line.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX -0.55 13.7 5.27 4 2 Trevor_Bauer_CLE PITCH  playoffs

Bauer has pitched almost 14 innings in the playoffs and he’s underwater.

Update 10/5/2017 Postgame:  Bauer pitched a gem tonight giving up no runs over 6 2/3 innings.  Francona knows his pitchers and is in the best position to make decisions like this.    IMHO, his public reason for not pitching Kluber still does not make sense but obviously he chose right and if he feeds BS to sports reporters and they can’t figure this out it doesn’t matter.  Now he has the best pitcher in MLB on the mound tomorrow.  We still stand by that NYA should be slightly favored tonight but in any game there are two outcomes.  One game does not prove or disprove any of this.   Tomorrow CLE should be favored which means they might lose.  🙂  We have an electric outage tomorrow and may not be up in time to do the Cubs for their most important game of the season.

Whatever.  The Yankees blew their best pitcher in the wild card game and have to go with second best.  Here are starters listed on the Yankees’ playoff roster.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+016+ 6.09 Luis_Severino_NYA PITCH
+156+ 2.21 CC_Sabathia_NYA PITCH
+098+ 2.16 Sonny_Gray_OAK PITCH
+098+ 0.92 Sonny_Gray_NYA PITCH
Total 11.38

They only list three starters.  Gray is shown twice because he came over from Oakland.  His value for both teams are separate and added together gives his total value for which he’s ranked.  At #98 he’s ranked higher than Sabathia.  Here is Gray’s playoff record.

Rank WAA IP ERA Gs Gr Name_TeamID Pos
XXXXX 0.44 13.0 2.08 2 1 Sonny_Gray_OAK PITCH  playoffs
-013- -2.50 107.3 4.53 18 4 CC_Sabathia_TOT PITCH  playoffs

Very good ERA with 13 innings pitched so far. That second line might be a problem for NYA.  We’ll check out their relievers at the end.

The Ouija board has Cleveland favored with a 0.58 chance of winning.  In order to bet the Yankees line they need to have a greater chance than 0.44 + some margin.  Gray is considered a Tier 2 starter, Bauer Tier 3.  We don’t have lineups so let’s look at hitters in each roster.


Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+003+ 8.92 Aaron_Judge_NYA RF-DH
+030+ 4.98 Gary_Sanchez_NYA CR-DH
+104+ 2.94 Didi_Gregorius_NYA SS
+141+ 2.35 Aaron_Hicks_NYA CF-LF-RF
+171+ 2.04 Starlin_Castro_NYA 2B
XXXXX 1.60 Matt_Holliday_NYA DH
XXXXX 0.97 Todd_Frazier_NYA 3B
XXXXX 0.97 Jacoby_Ellsbury_NYA CF
XXXXX 0.90 Greg_Bird_NYA 1B
XXXXX 0.38 Todd_Frazier_CHA 3B-DH
XXXXX 0.25 Chase_Headley_NYA 3B-1B-DH
XXXXX 0.10 Brett_Gardner_NYA LF-CF
XXXXX 0.02 Clint_Frazier_NYA LF
XXXXX -0.59 Tyler_Wade_NYA 2B
XXXXX -0.71 Ronald_Torreyes_NYA 2B-SS-3B
-133- 1.93 Austin_Romine_NYA CR-1B
Total 23.19

We saw in the wild card game the Yankees have a Tier 1 lineup and the above hitting roster shows why.  Five hitters in top 200  and no real drags.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+035+ 4.75 Edwin_Encarnacion_CLE DH-1B
+058+ 3.97 Jose_Ramirez_CLE 3B-2B
+066+ 3.07 Jay_Bruce_NYN RF-1B
+135+ 2.44 Lonnie_Chisenhall_CLE RF-CF-LF
+191+ 1.83 Francisco_Lindor_CLE SS
XXXXX 1.22 Carlos_Santana_CLE 1B
XXXXX 1.09 Michael_Brantley_CLE LF
XXXXX 0.90 Yan_Gomes_CLE CR
XXXXX 0.76 Jay_Bruce_CLE RF
XXXXX 0.63 Austin_Jackson_CLE CF-LF-RF
XXXXX 0.40 Greg_Allen_CLE CF
XXXXX 0.19 Erik_Gonzalez_CLE 2B-SS
XXXXX 0.15 Roberto_Perez_CLE CR
XXXXX -1.05 Jason_Kipnis_CLE 2B-CF
XXXXX -1.05 Giovanny_Urshela_CLE 3B
Total 19.30

Not as good as the Yankees but probably Tier 1 as well.   They have 5 guys in top 200.

Both teams Tier 1 lineups.  We have the following pairs:

  1. 1-3 Tier 1 NYA lineup vs. Tier3 CLE starter
  2. 1-2 Tier 1 CLE lineup vs. Tier 2 NYA starter

According to this table pair 1 yields 5.1 runs for NYA and pair 2  yields 4.7 runs for CLE.  We could simulate this which won’t be done today and NYA would be favored.  We just don’t know how much.  The Ouija Board has the NYA line at 0.44.  If the game is a toss up, 50/50, flip of a coin then you have an edge on the house betting NYA right now.

These are only starters however.  Relievers usually pitch 1/3 of a game and much more in playoffs when pitchers get pulled quickly.  We don’t have lineup-relief combo tables made and probably won’t until next week so we have to eyeball this.  Here are relievers listed on both rosters.


Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+052+ 4.03 Chad_Green_NYA PITCH
+056+ 2.69 David_Robertson_NYA PITCH
+118+ 2.65 Adam_Warren_NYA PITCH
+169+ 2.04 Dellin_Betances_NYA PITCH
+120+ 1.62 Tommy_Kahnle_CHA PITCH
+056+ 1.32 David_Robertson_CHA PITCH
XXXXX 1.30 Aroldis_Chapman_NYA PITCH
+120+ 1.01 Tommy_Kahnle_NYA PITCH
XXXXX 0.59 Chasen_Shreve_NYA PITCH
Total 17.25

The White Sox really helped the Yankees’ relief staff.  This is probably top of the 8 teams left.  We’ll do another playoff horse race when we get all the playoff rosters.

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos
+046+ 4.26 Andrew_Miller_CLE PITCH
+153+ 2.23 Cody_Allen_CLE PITCH
+172+ 2.04 Tyler_Olson_CLE PITCH
XXXXX 1.49 Bryan_Shaw_CLE PITCH
XXXXX 0.84 Joe_Smith_TOR PITCH
XXXXX 0.40 Joe_Smith_CLE PITCH
Total 11.26

I don’t understand this.  According to our last playoff horse race post, CLE had the best relief. Taking into account three CLE listed starters are  relievers that still doesn’t bring them up to the Yankees.  The Yankees have a relief advantage in this series.  Cleveland led MLB in this category all season.

The Yankees line at 0.44 (+128) may be a bet opportunity as NYA should be favored based upon better starters pitching tonight (that will change tomorrow!), better hitters, and better relievers.

DISCLAIMER: We have not proven any of this with our 8 year daily lines dataset.  This is still a work in progress and we don’t have all the lookup tables finished or simulations done.

We’re only doing one of these a day.  CHN/WAS tomorrow late.  BOS/HOU next, then LAN/ARI.  Eyeballing the BOS/HOU lines:

DATE 10_05 4:05_PM BOS HOU
LINEAWAY BOS [ 0.474 ] < 0.452 >
STARTAWAY 6.68(0.640) Chris_Sale_BOS
LINEHOME HOU [ 0.548 ] < 0.567 >
STARTHOME 4.75(0.604) Justin_Verlander_TOT
BOS 93 69 HOU 101 61

Both lines a discard, do not bet.  The Ouija Board matches our expected probability so there is no advantage.  More details on this series in two days.