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.
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
DELTAWAA 22 WINPCT 0.631 CLE
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 1-3 Tier 1 NYA lineup vs. Tier3 CLE starter
- 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.
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.
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
DELTAWAA 16 WINPCT 0.616 HOU
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.