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Friday, September 27, 2019

Good Luck Stopping the Astros in October

For the third straight year, the Astros are champions of the AL West—and for the third straight year, arguably the favorite for World Series honors. Ever since Houston’s roster went into overdrive in 2017, when it beat the Dodgers in the Fall Classic for the first title in franchise history, every season has begun with World Series aspirations. This one is no different, particularly given how brilliant this year’s Astros are. But are they baseball’s best bet to win it all? Let’s make the case for Houston emerging from the postseason with trophy in hand.

1. The Astros have Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke, and no one else does

Honestly, I don’t think I need to elaborate much on that point. The Astros have Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke, and no one else does.

If you want to dive into that a little further: The Astros have the two frontrunners for the AL Cy Young award, plus a guy with a career 3.38 ERA and 125 ERA+. Since joining Houston at the trade deadline, Greinke has posted a 3.02 ERA and 154 ERA+ in 62 2/3 innings, and he’s the third best pitcher on the staff. He also came within two outs of a no-hitter Wednesday night. Verlander has a strikeout-to-walk rate of nearly seven and a strikeout rate of 35.0%, which would be far and away the best mark in the AL if it weren’t for the fact that Cole is toting an absolutely stupid 39.8% strikeout rate. That’s the highest strikeout rate for a qualified starting pitcher that FanGraphs has on record—better than Pedro Martinez’s 1999, than any Randy Johnson season, than anything Chris Sale or Max Scherzer have done.

On the minus side: Anything can happen in a short series.

 

QLE Posted: September 27, 2019 at 12:27 AM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, playoffs, world series

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   1. JRVJ Posted: September 27, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5883606)
What a dumb article to write.

Yes, the Astros are structurally great, but if they get to the ALCS, they'll be facing another super team (be it the Yankees or the Twins), and there's a pretty likelihood that they will be facing another super team in the WS if they get there (i.e., the Dodgers).

I'm no BoSox fan, but what Boston did last year (beat three super teams in head to head play, that is, the Yanks, Astros and Dodgers) was damn impressive….
   2. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5883613)
Anything can happen, but I would be bummed out if this didn't come down to another epic Dodgers-Astros clash.
   3. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 27, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5883627)
The Yankees have been super lucky this year. Guys that have been major contrubutors aren't that good, they're having fluke years. Urshela? Gardner? Ford? Tauchman? Frazier? Maybin?
   4. PreservedFish Posted: September 27, 2019 at 10:53 AM (#5883630)
Anything can happen, but I would be bummed out if this didn't come down to another epic Dodgers-Astros clash.


Me too. Although it might be fun to watch the wacky Rays on the big stage.
   5. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 11:06 AM (#5883634)
The Yankees have been super lucky this year.

Well, except for losing the most players to injury in history. They've gotten lucky with the subs performance, but hugely unlucky losing Severino and Stanton for the full season, Judge for 50 games, Sanchez for 40 games, Gregorius for 80 games, Hicks for 100 games, etc., etc.
   6. Astroenteritis Posted: September 27, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5883669)
Why is it so hard to accept that being the best team over 162 games means very little come playoff time?
   7. Blastin Posted: September 27, 2019 at 12:58 PM (#5883685)
Urshela? Gardner? Ford? Tauchman? Frazier? Maybin?


Good thing literally one of those players will be starting then, and Gardner has been good for a long time.


Look, they're "lucky" but look at the stats and they're not, like, some 80 win team. Twins won't be a cake walk but this idea that the Yankees are garbage is a bizarre thing.

And now Stanton and Severino and Judge are healthy, and Encarnacion and Sanchez are back this weekend, etc etc. So let's not with this.

Yes, the Astros are the best team, but the best team wins a ring a lot less than half the time.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 27, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5883688)
Yes, the Astros are the best team, but the best team wins a ring a lot less than half the time.

Way less than a quarter. Probably pretty close to the 1/8th we'd expect for the 8 teams that reach the LDS.
   9. Blastin Posted: September 27, 2019 at 01:07 PM (#5883692)
Yeah. There was a list of the teams with the best Run Differential in baseball over the last decade, and the only teams on that list that had won were the Cubs and the 2013 Sox.

I definitely think, in 2017, GOOD LUCK STOPPING THE INDIANS IN OCTOBER made sense when they showed up with their own future Cy Young winner, a 21 game winning streak, and the best differential in baseball. And then they went up 2-0.

And then
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 27, 2019 at 02:59 PM (#5883744)
Teams don’t deploy their players the same way for a 5 or 7-game playoff series as they do over a 162 game regular season. That, health, and luck, are reason enough to not be surprised that the playoffs don’t replicate regular season outcomes, much less run differential or any other measurement.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: September 27, 2019 at 04:52 PM (#5883802)
Teams don’t deploy their players the same way for a 5 or 7-game playoff series as they do over a 162 game regular season

Sure, but that's one of the reasons why teams with guys like Verlander, Cole, Greinke are supposed to be so "unbeatable." If the Astros can set up their rotation, you face those guys 6 times in 7 games.

One reason to not get very excited -- AL records are "distorted" by all those crap teams. The Astros are 4-3 against CLE, 3-4 against Minn, 4-3 against Yanks, 11-8 against Oak and 3-4 against TB. All small samples but they haven't been beating the crap out of the good teams. The postseason usage might (or might not) help them more than these other teams but it's not gonna change things that dramatically. Astros went 15-4 against Bal, KC, Det ... and a stunning 18-1 against the Ms. (Still leaves them nearly 600 against everybody else.)
   12. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 27, 2019 at 05:12 PM (#5883812)
Well, except for losing the most players to injury in history. They've gotten lucky with the subs performance,


That's all I'm saying. They could have easily dropped out of the race, and would have had nothing to be ashamed of. Every move they made seemed to work. They picked up the corpse of Kendrys Morales and he hit a HR that helped them win in his first game with them.

They're a great hitting team with iffy SP. We'll see what happens, as someone else we know and love likes to say.

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