STL/PHI NLDS Series Preview

Bill Petti (@BillPetti) of Amazin’ Avenue and Beyond the Box Score was nice enough to share his Saber-stat series preview graphic. It’s pretty snazzy. Click on the image to view a much larger version.

The graphic shows that the Cardinals are a better offensive team than the Phillies in, well, every facet. But it should be no surprise that the tables are flipped when it comes to pitching. The Cardinals are 7% better than the Phillies when it comes to scoring runs, but the Phillies are 27% better at preventing runs. That is why the Cardinals finished with just a +70 run differential while the Phillies finished at +184.

As for individual offensive contributors, let’s compare them using wOBA.

The Cardinals have the edge at five of eight positions; the Phillies lead at second base (Chase Utley), shortstop (Jimmy Rollins), and center field (Shane Victorino).

Now, a look at the pitchers using SIERA.

The Phillies have the overwhelming advantage in Games One and Two, and a slight advantage in Game Three. Should the series go to a fourth game, the Cardinals plan to use Phillie-killer Jaime Garcia, who has a 1.20 ERA against the Phillies — lowest among opponents with 20+ innings pitched.

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  1. Evan

    September 30, 2011 09:32 AM

    If no Holliday, then that benefits the Phils even more, but still going through Pujols and Berkman will be a challenge in itself. My question is this: Why is LaRussa sending out Loshe and Jackson for games 1 and 2? I know Garcia has a better home ERA than road ERA, but he has destroyed the Phils this year and should give them a better chance for a win, which I think that they need to get right off the bat. Is it possible to see Jackson being replaced with Garcia if the Phils win game 1?

    I really think LaRussa is trying to outsmart everyone but in the end will pull an Andy Reid and wind up outsmarting himself.

  2. hk

    September 30, 2011 09:40 AM

    Good question, Evan. I wonder if Garcia is hurting or tired.

  3. LTG

    September 30, 2011 10:04 AM

    That Phil’s team pitching BABIP is a bit surprising. Despite somewhat of a bad luck season (or perhaps a below average team defense) the Phil’s pitchers dominated. MMMMM… delicious.

    By the way, Stark’s stumping for Verlander as MVP is annoying. Verlander’s numbers look great until you see his absurdly low BABIP. Halladay is actually a better MVP candidate in the NL than Verlander is in the AL. Stupid win column!

  4. Rob SJ

    September 30, 2011 10:11 AM

    The difference in Game 3 SIERA is only “slight” when it is compared to the diferences in games 1 and 2. Half a run is meaningful over the course of a season.

    There has been an interesting back and forth between Dave Murphy from the DN and one of the writers from the Post Dispatch about the rotation. On it’s face, the reason to delay Garcia is his home/road splits, but this doesn’t hold up because Edwin Jackson’s splits are very similar. The PD writer said Garcia has looked tired, which may be the real reason. Anyway, it’s an odd move to me, he is the pitcher that worries me most, and Game 4 is promised to no one.

  5. Scott G

    September 30, 2011 10:11 AM

    I hate pitcher’s Ws – they’re just terrible.

    Any chance Manuel starts Mayberry over Ibanez? If he doesn’t, and doesn’t use him as a defensive replacement, I might just lose my mind. He would take Burrell out of games in the 7th inning a lot of times, and he never removes Ibanez. It’s just insane.

  6. Corinne

    September 30, 2011 10:17 AM

    RE: Garcia in game 4

    Some will argue the Cards to have a slight advantage in game 3 and now game 4 as well. Garcia-Lee would give the Phils the advantage, but Garcia-Oswalt, well again the argument could be made.

    As a Phillies fan, I’m thankful for the decision but am thinking the reasoning might be to give the Cards an advantage in 2 games instead of 1.

  7. hk

    September 30, 2011 11:53 AM

    Is it possible that the evil genius Tony LaRussa is starting RHP’s either to piss of Scott G or to ensure that Raul is manning LF?

  8. Scott G

    September 30, 2011 12:30 PM

    If I understand your question, it’s not so much of an either/or. Rather, it should read “by ensuring”.

  9. jauer

    September 30, 2011 12:42 PM

    Good point, hk. Everyone loves to say “the phillies cant hit lefties”, but when a lefty is on the mound, you have Mayberry’s improved bat AND glove in the lineup in addition to Victorino hitting from his good side. A righty ensures Victorino batting lefthanded, poor left field defense, and Raul Ibanez in the 6-hole.

    Delaying Garcia to game 4 possibly gives the Cardinals two pitching advantages (albeit very, very slight) out of the first four games.

    La Russa does a lot of stupid things, but I’m not sure this is one of them.

  10. Richard

    September 30, 2011 01:36 PM

    “Stark’s stumping for Verlander as MVP is annoying”

    I agree with this. Worse, his arguments are extremely disingenuous. He supposedly wants us to believe that pitchers should be eligible for MVP, and that it’s clear that it should be Verlander. The former I have no real opinion on, but you’d think that we’d see a few pitchers sprinkled down-ballot, in both leagues. But no, he has Verlander, then nine hitters in the AL; no pitchers in the NL. Does he really believe that no other pitchers are even in the argument, at all? Verlander’s numbers are undeniably great this year, but he’s not been vastly better than Weaver or Sabathia, let alone Halladay, Lee, or Kershaw. And yet none of them appear anywhere on his MVP ballots.

  11. LTG

    September 30, 2011 04:02 PM

    In fact, by xFIP, Verlander has not been better than Greinke, Halladay, Sabbathia, Lee, Hamels, Bumgarner, and Kershaw. Only Sabbathia is actually in the AL, but my word, that’s a lot of pitchers ahead of Verlander (given the amount of attention Verlander is getting).

    By the way, in that same article Stark asserts the the sabrist would choose Jose Bautista over Verlander. This was true back in the middle of the second half, but it is no longer true. Jacoby Ellsbury has a much better fWAR than Bautista, while Bautista has a significantly better rWAR. We ought to discuss how to sort through the differences between the formulae, but it is not a forgone conclusion.

  12. Chip

    September 30, 2011 05:21 PM

    Anyone see the playoff roster yet?
    Any major changes, heard rumor that Faulker or however the dude we got from pittsburg is gonna be on there and maybe no Ross Gload cause of his hip! I hope not i liked our 25 man roster right before September call ups!

  13. Chip

    September 30, 2011 05:29 PM

    Hey one more thing real quick, i don’t understand my own fans! They used to boo
    Burrel relentlessy and he hit close to 30 homers every year and drove in close to 100 every year! Raul has driven in 84 runs and homered 20 times and every one wants him out of the line up. I am looking forward to seeing more of Mayberry but Raul belongs in there at the least against righties. He is a proven veteran and by the way he isnt even close to worse fielding outfielder in the league. By the way I love Hunter Pence on our team but he has had more problems fielding than any one, and I don’t care I still want him in there too!

  14. Phylan

    September 30, 2011 11:20 PM


    Consider two very simple statistics — on-base percentage (how often he doesn’t make an out) and slugging percentage (how many bases he gets per at bat).

    During Burrell’s 2001-2008, when he was averaging about 30 home runs and 100 RBI like you said, his on-base percentage was .368 and his slugging percentage was .487. Those are both quite good — he was making outs much less often than the average major leaguer, and he was getting many more bases than the average major leaguer.

    Right now, like you said, Raul has hit 20 home runs and driven in 84 runs. Those aren’t too far off from Burrell’s HR and RBI. But his on base percentage is currently .289 and his slugging percentage is .419. So he’s making outs a lot more often than the average major leaguer (average ML obp is .329) and getting only slightly more bases (average ML slg is .407.

    And keep in mind that Raul is a corner outfielder. Like Burrell, the expectations for his offense are higher because it’s an easier position to play than most. He should be significantly above average in these categories, but instead he’s about 9% below average when you combine the two.

    There are a few reasons we look to OBP and SLG instead of HR and RBI. One is that, unlike RBI, neither OBP or SLG have anything to do with the quality of Ibanez or Burrell’s teammates. His OBP and SLG would be the same no matter who managed or failed to get on base in front of him. SLG is better than home runs because doubles and triples and singles are also valuable hits, and they’re weighed into SLG according to how many bases they’re worth (and home runs are included in SLG anyway). In addition, OBP and SLG are both rate statistics (per plate appearance and per at bat), unlike HR and RBI, which are both counting statistics. It’s a lot easier to compare Ibanez or any other player’s value to others with statistics that can’t be distorted by playing time.

    So that’s the reason. By measures that tell us the most about what a player is doing on offense, Raul Ibanez is a well below average major league player at a position that requires significantly above-average offense. And I would dispute that he “isn’t even close” to the worst fielding outfielder in the league. I’ve been watching him for three years, and many Mariners fans have watched him for years before that, and there is consensus that he is one of the worst. And that places his offense in an even worse light.

  15. Chip

    October 01, 2011 11:49 AM

    All your impressive stats aside, He still has made some clutch hits for us. His team mates and coaches want him in there! I think we tend to over analyse things as fans. Instead of just rooting for our team! The mans been in the league alot of years and has carried this team atleast 3 times i know of for extended stints. He’s on our team, and he has done well just root for the team and quit killing our own players. Specially when he is respected by his peers, that says more than some of those stats you know so very well! No insult intended!

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