Some ALCS Thoughts and Links Entering Game Three
(Title photo courtesy of Arturo Pardavila, https://www.flickr.com/photos/apardavila/)
The Blue Jays are in a familiar position in the American League Championship Series, having dropped the first two games. Luckily for them, this series is a best-of-seven, so they have more breathing room at this point than they did in the ALDS against Texas. Still, they’re in a hole and Fangraphs gives them only a 20% of advancing to the World Series. Fivethirtyeight, Nate Silver’s ESPN numbers site, puts it at 20.8%.
The third game of the series is set to start in a few hours, at 8:07 ET in Toronto. I don’t like writing full game previews because I’m not sure what there is to say other than how good each team is and how the starting pitchers match up against each offense platoon-wise. Johnny Cueto and Marcus Stroman are both good and right-handed. Here’s what I’m thinking about and what people are talking about in advance of the game.
– Marcus Stroman has turned into a different type of pitcher than expected. He seems to be trading strikeouts for ground balls and the resulting mix has been favourable. If Stroman can continue to generate grounders on 60% of balls in play, he’ll continue to be very effective. With his ground ball rate and decent strikeout and walk numbers, Stroman kind of resembles Dallas Keuchel. Obviously Keuchel is better and they are very different in many ways, but it’s an interesting comparison skills-wise.
– It’s a shame that the lasting image of David Price’s time in Toronto may be game two’s five-run seventh. Price pitched very well over the course of the whole game. He didn’t even necessarily pitch poorly in that inning either, the Royals just happened to piece together a miraculous string of singles. Price’s FIP for the game was 0.73 and there was no real issue to be had with John Gibbons leaving him in so long. David Price is still a pretty effective pitcher the third time through the order. A tough pill to swallow all around for the Blue Jays.
– Grantland contributor and Royals superfan Rany Jazayerli broke down the first two games in the series from Kansas City’s perspective, highlighting the comeback nature of recent high-stakes Royals games.
– All beer sold in the 500 level will be poured into plastic cups before being served, due to all the unruliness in game five of the ALDS. Which, sure.
– The Blue Jays made a roster move today, claiming switch-pitcher Pat Venditte while designating Darwin Barney for assignment. This is nothing to get too excited about from a baseball perspective, but switch-pitchers are kinda fun. Venditte of course isn’t eligible to pitch in the postseason so this is a 2016 move.
– Not Blue Jays related, but I’d like to mention that I’ll likely make a post soon that breaks down how my FRIAS projection system performed this year. If the results appear useful then I will provide 2016 numbers, perhaps with some minor tweaks.