Championship Series

Now that the Division Series are over it is time to take a look at the matchups for the AL and NL Championship series. First up the NL, where we have the St Louis Cardinals versus the New York Metropolitans.

This is a matchup of the NL favorite against the NL underdog. The Cardinals led the NL Central all season but due to a near late season collapse most experts had written off the Cardinals. However, St Louis proved again that you can never write off a team with Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, and Tony La Russa. The Cardinals beat the Padres pretty easily despite a small speed bump against Chris Young. Similarly the Mets also made quick work of their first round opposition the Dodgers.

In Baseball Between the Numbers they looked at what regular season stats have the most direct effect on playoff performance. They found these three stats that have the largest correlation:
  • Closer WXRL
  • Pitcher Strikeout Rate
  • FRAA

This makes sense with the common addages. Good pitching, good closer, and good fielding, these things are most important due to the fact that most playoff teams have strong enough offense already as well as some other factors. (If it interests you buy the book, its a great read) So how do these two teams rank in these stats ? Here are each teams ranks in these stats:

WXRL- Wagner 7th (5.931) Wainright 28th (2.817)

SO Rate(K/9)-
NYM:Tom Glavine 5.95, John Maine 7.1, Steve Trachsel 4.32, Orlando Hernandez* 8.64
STL:Jeff Weaver 4.86, Jeff Suppan 4.93, Chris Carpenter 7.47, Anthony Reyes* 7.59

FRAA- NYM 14 (7th) St Louis 16 (6th)

As you can see its pretty close in a lot of these categories. The Mets have a huge advantage in relievers, Wagner is much better than Wainright, for the Mets Aaron Heilman also ranked above Wainright. In K/9 you can see two poor rotations neither team strikes out many guys. Personally I would never let Jeff Weaver even on the field in an important game but La Russa knows way more than I do. The *'s are due to the fact that I cant find anywhere who is scheduled to be the game four starter. Neither team needed one in the first round so I am not sure. If the starting staffs work out as I have predicted I think the Mets have a very slight edge in strikeout rate. Fielding is way too close to call, two runs over 162 games is pretty insignificant, although St Louis held the slight edge. So based off these stats it seems like the Mets would have an edge due to their superior bullpen. I will do a comparison of the AL teams in the near future


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