ALCS Predictions and Previews

Once again the blogosphere has already done most of the heavy lifting on the season previews. I’ll mooch off of their work in a condensed preview edition.

Run Prevention

The Tigers pitching has been outstanding this year. The A’s pitching has also been very good. The differences between the staffs in terms of actual pitching is very narrow with the Tigers and A’s finishing 3rd and 5th in terms of Fielding Independent Pitching. Meanwhile, in terms of actual run prevention, the Tigers hold a bigger lead. Now the entire Tigers staff (save for Jeremy Bonderman) could be getting very lucky, or they could be benefiting from awesome defense. My inclination is to go with the latter.

While the A’s are tops in fielding percentage, they are only 7th in terms of defensive efficiency. The Hardball Times +/- measures bear out a similar story where the A’s are middle of the pack, while the Tigers are on top thanks to tremendous infield defense. What could further the Tigers advantage here is the A’s will be doing battle without their regular keystone combo.

I think the pitching is actually very close and the edge will probably swing based on what Rich Harden is able to do coming off of injury. However in terms of total run prevention, the edge has to go to the Tigers.

Run Production

The difference in the 2 teams approaches is glaring. The A’s of course work the pitcher and take a lot of walks. What they lack in slugging they make up for in getting on base. The Tigers are an aggressive team that is more content to slug you to death. The advantage of the A’s approach is that even if you’re not hitting particularly well, you can still create offense and scoring chances. It also means you’ll get a number of shots at the middle of the bullpen as the starter is chased early.

As for the Tigers, aggressiveness seems to be thought of as a bad thing. If that agressiveness means flailing at anything near the plate, I have to agree. However against the Yankees the Tigers were just aggressive, but they were still swinging at hittable pitches – and they weren’t missing them.

My fearless guess prediction

It’s often been said that good pitching beats good hitting, and the Tigers-Yankees series certainly looks like an example of that. But in this series you have 2 teams with good pitching so I think you have to look at the offense as a differentiator. As a Tiger fan, I’m going to have to be partial to the Tigers controlled aggression approach over the A’s staunch discipline approach.

The Tigers attacked the strike zone against a patient Yankee team. When every hitter can hurt you, there isn’t much choice. I expect more of the same in this series. Because the A’s lineup isn’t nearly as balanced I think it will make the Tigers task that much easier.

I’ll take the Tigers in 6.

A whole host of other predictions

Baseball Musings: ALCS Preview – Edge to Detroit
Athletics Nation :: ALCS Series Preview: Oakland A’s vs. Detroit Tigers – Edge to the A’s
Baseball Toaster: Catfish Stew : ALCS Bullet Points – No prediction, but some interesting notes
Mack Avenue Tigers: A Detroit Tigers Blog » ALCS Preview 2: The Matchups – Narrow edge to Detroit
Playoff Preview: Tigers Versus Athletics Detroit in 6
TigerBlog » Blog Archive » A Look at the Athletics Detroit in 7
ALCS Preview: Tigers vs. A’s — The Hardball Times Oakland in 6

7 Comments

  1. Darrin

    October 10, 2006 at 8:23 am

    Well, I think we’ve learned so far this October how useful predictions are.

    However, I will make this prediction for Game 3: Friday night at Comerica Park–temps in the mid-30s with periodic snow flurries.

  2. Jeff M

    October 10, 2006 at 9:43 am

    I predict I’m going to enjoy every second of it, regardless of the temp. 🙂

  3. Bob S.

    October 10, 2006 at 10:12 am

    I know it’s off topic,but I was practically screaming at the radio while listening to Art Regner and Doug Karsch Monday afternoon talking like Bonderman already has a ticket out of Detroit.On the one hand,they talk about the need for a left-handed bat,on the other Bonderman being dealt for Tejada.On the one hand,it’s pitchingpitchingpitching that’s gotten us this far,on the other we need to trade away that pitching for hitting to continue to contend.Let me go on record as saying that Bonderman is a 23 year old guy with nothing but upside,and trading him away would come back and bite us on the a**.Ask the A’s.When he masters his change-up,he’s a perennial all-star.You don’t trade those guys.

  4. Kurt

    October 10, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    Gonna be a lot more than “periodic” snow up here in the UP. What the deuce?

  5. Anne

    October 10, 2006 at 12:58 pm

    Bob–I agree with you about Bonderman, but I think there’s a feeling out there that if he hasn’t mastered the change-up yet, he never will. For better or worse, Bonderman was a young stud (still is) who was rushed to the majors before he was completely ready to bail out a foundering team. He’s got sky-high potential, and his stats (particularly ERA) have improved each of his years with Detroit, but you can’t deny he lacks consistency.

    Bottom line for me is I think Bonderman is not someone to trade, however the Tigs do need more offense and somewhere along the line pitching may have to be sacrificed to gain it.

    Just my $.02 worth, of course.

  6. Kurt

    October 10, 2006 at 1:17 pm

    I would think a guy who throws 202 strikeouts in the regular season has pretty much all the tools you’d hope for, but he needs to put the mental part together. Not the pitching strategy, I think he’s learning that pretty well. But Bonderman seems to fall in the big inning, to get a bit frustrated too quickly. I think he needs to get the mental to cilck into place ala Rogers and he’s gonna be a guy 29 teams want. Right now, I don’t trade him. Maybe we have this talk next fall, but not yet.

  7. Ken from Cincinnati

    October 10, 2006 at 2:21 pm

    I think we’ll take the A’s in 6 and move on to the World Series. Assuming this, we’ll have accomplished the ultimate goal of every team before the season. Therefore, here’s what we do in the offseason–absolutely nothing! You make big moves when you arn’t succeeding. We only need to let our youth continue to improve. That alone will be like picking up another All-Star without paying a dime. Don’t mess with something that is clearly working and projected to get better. It’s another thing entirely if we just spent some money on a free agent, but I don’t want to see a single trade in the offseason……unless we’re talking about Neifi Perez for a case of champaigne. Hopefully, we’ll need some more of that when we take the division next year.