Thursday, October 13, 2011

2006 World Series Rematch Unlikely

The gentlemen at Beyond the Box Score have developed a postseason simulator, which deems a rematch between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals only a 5.3% possibility. The Texas Rangers are the large favorite to win the World Series, as per their research.

Beyond the Box Score
I didn't live in St. Louis in 2006, nor did I have any real connection to the Cardinals at the time besides "that other team in the NL Central who beats the Pirates like everyone else." If I remember correctly, it was this World Series match up that lured me back to becoming a hardcore baseball fan. I was amazed to see the Detroit Tigers contending for their chance to win it all after losing a franchise record 119 games only three years prior.

Jim Leyland has a tendency to make heroes out of young, scrappy players. Just look at the 1990-92 Pirates, '97 Marlins, 2006 and '11 Tigers. Each team was a winner, in their own respect. I find it hard to believe he has only one World Series title and two Pennants on his managerial resume.

The Tigers accumulated a 12 game winning streak in September against several of their AL Central rivals, which distanced them from their challengers, ensured them a division title, and earned them a playoff spot. They were supported throughout the season by the extraordinary Justin Verlander, who is a shoe-in for the AL Cy Young, and Miguel Cabrera, who delivered another MVP caliber season.

Both were stellar in the regular season, but their postseason performances have been average at best. Verlander was part of the Tigers organization in 2006 and has only recorded one quality start in his postseason career. Cabrera's batting average is down and his strikeout rate is up, but the Rangers and Yankees have opted to award him first base more often than not.

2011 Regular Season
Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 250 SO)
C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 206 SO)

Wilson quietly put up very respectable numbers behind all the hype surrounding Verlander in the American League. He also has three quality starts in his postseason career, though they all came last year. Otherwise, he looks quite similar to Verlander.

Postseason Stats
Justin Verlander (2-3, 5.71 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 10.4 SO/9)
C.J. Wilson (1-3, 4.76 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.7 SO/9)

Will either starting pitcher produce a quality start for their team?
Will the bullpen get to work early again?

Game 5 starts in Detroit at 4:19 ET. The Texas Rangers lead the series 3-1, so this is a do-or-die situation for the Tigers.

(Sidenote: Could they have chosen a stranger starting game time?)

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