Series Preview - Peelin' Back the Onion a Bit
After attending Saturday and Sunday nights' masterpieces at Fenway Park, this will be tough but I am checking the fanboyism at the door and just looking at the numbers to see just what we are looking at here in these two teams. The Colorado Rockies are on fire. We get that much, right? But let's step back and determine if they truly have become as good a ballclub as the odds-on favorites Boston Red Sox or if Rox fans can expect this magical run to come to an unceremonious end.
Over the course of the entire season, it is clear to see that Boston was the better club:
AVG OBP SLG OPS+ OPS+ Lg Rank COL .280 .354 .437 103 Sixth BOS .279 .362 .444 107 Third
ERA ERA+ ERA+ Lg Rank DefEff COL 4.32 111 Third .701 BOS 3.87 123 First .704
Both teams have been very good all year long, but Boston has been head and shoulders above Colorado when it comes to both run scoring and run prevention. Also, I would be remiss if I did not point out another enormous disparity, payroll:
Heck, Boston should have the better club. But since a baseball season is a work in progress and Colorado had an historic run to finish up the season and get to this point (while Boston limped to the finish line and did not exactly cruise in the ALCS), let's look at some additional numbers.
AVG OBP SLG COL .283 .358 .454 BOS .286 .366 .452
ERA COL 3.86 (4.71 first half) BOS 3.98 (3.76 first half)
September / October (not including playoffs)
AVG OBP SLG COL .298 .373 .488 BOS .286 .366 .472
ERA COL 4.09 BOS 4.31
As you can see, the gap narrows considerably. Colorado takes no back seat at all to Boston when you compare the two after the All Star Break and in September/October. Finally, let's take a look at how the two have fared in the post-season to try and deduce what we can.
AVG OBP SLG COL .242 .326 .390 OPP .221 .296 .362
AVG OBP SLG BOS .304 .388 .513 OPP .236 .287 .364
You can talk about historic streaks and days off and double plays grounded into and bullpens and who plays the game the right way and momentum and all that other stuff but the above numbers seem to be the ones being missed by the general public. Yes, Boston played a tight series against Cleveland but the reality is that they are hitting and pitching the ball ridiculously well. Meanwhile, Colorado's bats went a bit cold thus far in the playoffs. That will have to change for them to have a chance in this series.
For fun, here are the five best hitters and five best pitchers in the series, according to VORP:
VORP Ortiz 86.2 Holliday 75.0 Helton 51.9 Lowell 46.5 Tulowitzki 37.8
VORP Beckett 58.6 Francis 42.7 Matsuzaka 37.0 Schilling 33.5 Corpas 31.8
Enjoy the series, everyone, and be sure to hang stop in here for wall-to-wall Series coverage.