Post-Season Preview: Twins vs Yankees / Rockies vs D-Backs

The post-season is here, beginning with the wildcard round and its one game winner-take-all contests.

Yesterday, I looked at the AL match-up. Tonight is the NL’s turn. More after the jump.

Rockies vs D-Backs

The NL wildcard matches two teams returning from the post-season wilderness with Arizona making its first playoff appearance since 2011 and Colorado its first since 2009. Neither team has won a post-season series since 2007, when the Rockies bested the D-Backs in the NLCS.

On paper, home field advantage for Arizona could be crucial as the Snakes’ .642 winning percentage at Chase Field is the second best home mark this season, trailing only the division rival Dodgers. Colorado has historically done poorly in Phoenix, posting an OPS+ below league average in 7 of the past 8 years, including this season with a lowly 65 mark, tied with the 2012 club for the franchise’s lowest season mark since 2000. Add in Arizona starter Zack Greinke‘s home record this season (13-1, 2.87 ERA, 0.957 WHIP) and it could be tough night for the Rox.

Greinke has an extensive history against many of the Colorado starters, recording 30 AB or more against 7 of them. Of those seven, Carlos Gonzalez has fared the best with a .333 BA and 5 homers in 33 AB. Trevor Story has also done some damage against Arizona’s veteran righty with a .333 BA and 4 homers in 24 AB.

Colorado counters with their ace Jon Gray (10-4, 3.67 ERA, 1.296 WHIP in a half-season of work). Gray posted a 2-1 record in three starts this season against the Snakes, with both of those wins coming in Phoenix. None of the D-Backs have faced Gray a lot, with Jake Lamb and David Peralta leading with way with only 13 AB. Only J.D. Martinez has homered against Gray though Peralta has done some damage with a .462 BA. Paul Goldschmidt‘s 0 for 11 is notable among those who have struggled against the Colorado righty.

Tonight will be Gray’s first post-season game while Greinke’s gets the call for his tenth post-season start. Greinke struggled in his first post-season for the Brewers in 2011, but has recorded a nifty 2.38 ERA in 6 post-season starts since then, all for the Dodgers, including pitching into the 7th inning or later in each of his last 5 appearances. In 6 previous home starts in the post-season, Greinke is 3-1 with his team winning the other two contests.

Twins vs Yankees

The upstart Twins take the field against a retooled Yankee club that enters the post-season with solid young talent at 5 positions and on the mound, something not seen in the Bronx in nearly two decades. Minnesota has never beaten the Yankees in the post-season, getting swept in their only meetings in the 2009 and 2010 division series. The Yankees also swept the Twins when Minnesota last visited the Bronx just two weeks ago.

To try to break through against New York, the Twins will have to handle Yankee ace Luis Severino. Severino has faced Minnesota just once in his career, that coming at Yankee Stadium on Sep 20, when he left the game trailing 3-0 after throwing 71 pitches over 3 innings, his second shortest outing of the season (the Yanks won the game 11-3). Severino’s home/road split this season is fairly pronounced, with a 3.71 ERA at home but only 2.24 on the road. However, his 10 highest games scores (73 and up) are evenly split 5-5 home and away. Against .500 or better teams, Severino posted a 3-3 record with 4.19 ERA; that compares to 11-3, 2.40 against weaker opponents.

Opposing New York’s 23 year-old fireballer is Minnesota’s veteran right-hander Ervin Santana. Santana’s 33 starts this season show ERA results of 1.75 for starts 1-11, 5.00 for starts 12-22, and 3.27 for starts 23-33, the last almost identical to his 3.28 season ERA. Santana recorded 5 complete games and 7 more starts of 7 IP, but only two of those twelve games came in the last third of his season. Santana faced New York once this year, allowing two ER over 5.2 IP on Sep 18. For his career at new Yankee Stadium, Santana is 0-5 with a 6.43 ERA, with only a slightly better 5.19 ERA at the Stadium’s previous incarnation.  Against current Yankees whom he has faced at least 10 times, Santana has done well against Todd FrazierDidi Gregorius and Starlin Castro (collective .163/.250/.327), but would prefer not facing Brett GardnerChase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury (.321/.352/.420). Somewhat surprisingly, Matt Holliday is not in the starting lineup, despite a .417/.417/1.083 slash in 12 PA against Santana.

Minnesota has trailed after 5 innings in only 61 games this season, a trait that would serve them well against the Yankees, who are 74-17 this year when leading or tied after 5 frames. While the Yankee bullpen is justly deserving of its stellar reputation for closing out victories, the Twins are actually slightly better over the last 3 innings of the game, with an .833 winning percentage (79-16) when leading or tied after 6 innings, compared to .810 (81-19) for New York. The Yankees have the edge in comebacks, with a creditable .239 mark (17-54) when trailing after 5 innings, compared to .115 (7-54) for the Twins.

Enjoy the game!

 

Leave a Reply

13 Comments on "Post-Season Preview: Twins vs Yankees / Rockies vs D-Backs"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
e pluribus munu
Guest
Over at Five Thirty Eight, Nate Silver’s baseball stats folks have analyzed some post season pitchers’ likelihood of performing well by the unusual methhod of tracking how their five season-ending fastballs compared to their season-average fastballs for speed, adopting a theory that this is the best way to indicate whether a pitcher is tired entering the postseason. I’m not sure how far I buy into this theory — it’s interesting, and apparently works historically to explain the Clayton Kershaw postseason recurring nightmare (which these data suggest may recur again this year) — but for what it’s worth, they rate Severino… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Severino’s 0.1 IP is the shortest start by a Yankee making his post-season debut.

Only two pitchers failed to record an out when starting in their post-season debut: Reb Russell for the White Sox in 1917; and Harry Taylor for the Dodgers in 1947. Despite those inauspicious debuts, their teams won both games, two of only three outless starts for a winning team in the post-season (Bob Welch has the third, in game 4 of the 1981 WS, his 9th post-season game but his first start).

Richard Chester
Guest

If I have done my work correctly tonight’s WC game between the Yankees and Twins is the first time each team has scored exactly 3 runs in the first inning for a post-season game. I did my search while watching the game at the same time.

Doug
Guest

Both starters lasting two innings or less.
– first time in a sudden death game
– second time in 1st game of a series

Mike L
Guest

I acknowledge that HHS is the place for intellectual contemplation of arcane data and discussion at the highest level. With that as predicate, can I just say: “Phew, on to Cleveland, and I’m sure my pulse will return to normal by midday.”

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

Speaking collegially, would you mind sharing your pulse-rate data with us? It may have have some predictive value for the baseball postseason. (-;þ

Mike L
Guest

LOL. According to my doctor, “nice slow heart rate…keep running”. But that was so 2016.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Seriously. I had to order a coffee-porter during the 4th inning.

Doug
Guest

300 pitches thrown in the NL wildcard game, and Andrew Chafin takes the W throwing just 7 of them. Since pitch counts have been recorded, that’s the fewest by a winning pitcher entering a post-season game in the fourth inning or earlier (previous mark was 9 fourth inning pitches by Brad Penny to win game 7 of the 2003 NLCS).

Some similarities to the AL wildcard with one starter making his post-season debut and the other a seasoned vet. But, tough sledding for all of them.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Quiz:

What is the significance of these 5 players being on the same list?

Pedro Alvarez
Fred Beck
Dante Bichette
Fred Odwell
Gus Zernial

Doug
Guest

All of them led their league in home runs once in their careers.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Yes. And I’ll reveal the second piece:
They are the only seasonal HR leaders with a career WAR under 10.

Doug
Guest

Zernial had 14 oWAR, but his .968 career fielding percentage, as an outfielder, knocked his total WAR below 10.

wpDiscuz