Friday, October 20, 2006

World Series Preview: Tigers versus Cardinals

The Detroit Tigers are coming off an easy 4 game sweep of the Oakland Athletics and have won 7 consecutive post-season games. Conversely, the St. Louis Cardinals just finished a grueling 7 game series which went down to the last out versus the New York Mets. The Tigers won all 3 games versus the Cardinals during the season and Billfer takes a detailed look at that in his Detroit Tiger Weblog. Much like my first and second round preview, my World Series preview will focus on regular season team statistics along with a few other items. Since the American League is stronger than the National League this year, the team comparison are less relevant this time. However, they should reveal something about the Cardinals’ strengths and weaknesses.


Hot Players in Post-season

Tigers

  • Placido Polanco – .471/.514/.529
  • Carlos Guillen - .367/.424/.633
  • Curtis Granderson – .313/.378/.719
  • Craig Monroe - .300/.353/.700
  • Kenny Rogers – 15 IP, 0.00 ERA
  • Jeremy Bonderman 15, 3.00
  • Todd Jones – 5, 0.00

Cardinals

  • Yadier Molina .333/.385/.556
  • Albert Pujols .324/.444/.543
  • So Taguchi 4 for 4 with 2 home runs
  • Jeff Suppan 19.1, 1.86
  • Jeff Weaver 16.2, 2.16
  • Adam Wainwright 6.2, 0.00 and 10 K
  • Tyler Johnson 6.1, 1.42 and 11 K
  • Josh Kinney 5.1, 0.00


Injuries:

Tigers

  • Sean Casey – has a partially torn calf muscle but is expected to be the designated hitter in game 1. It is not known whether he’ll be healthy enough to play in the field when they go to St. Louis on Tuesday. There, of course, will be no designated hitter in games played at St. Louis.
  • Joel Zumaya – The Tigers say his wrist is 100% and that he is ready to go.

Cardinals

  • Albert Pujols – hamstring problem is hurting his power but is still getting on base at a good clip.
  • Scott Rolen – his shoulder is still bothering him and he’s struggling at the plate.
  • Jim Edmonds – will have shoulder surgery immediately after the season but is still playing regularly.


Regular Season Overview



Tigers

Cardinals

Record

95-67

83-78

Head to Head

3

0

Runs per game

5.1

4.8

Runs allowed per game

4.2

4.5


The Cardinals were not extraordinary in either run production (6th in league) or run prevention (5th). The Tigers finished 1st in run prevention and 5th in run production. Given the strength of the American League this year, the Tigers probably have a significant edge in run production as well as run prevention.


Offense



Tigers

Cardinals


Rate

Rank

Rate

Rank

BA

.274

5

.269

4

BB/G

2.65

13

3.3

9

Isolated power

.174

4

.163

6

OBP

.329

12

.337

5

SLG

.449

5

.431

8

OPS

.777

7

.769

6


The Cardinals hit for pretty good average (4th in NL) but were middle of the pack in drawing walks and hitting for power. The Cardinals revolve around Albert Pujols (.331/.431/.671). Scott Rolen (.296/.369/.518) also had a good season but has been struggling down the stretch and in the playoffs. The Cardinals may benefit from the designated hitter rule as they will be able to get Chris Duncan (.293/.363/.589) into the line-up without worrying about his awful defense. The Tigers do not draw many walks (13th in AL) but they do hit for pretty good power (4th in AL). The Tigers are led by Carlos Guillen (.320/.400/.519) and Magglio Ordonez (.298/.350/.477). The Tigers usually have excellent line-up depth but are currently being forced to use Ramon Santiago/Neifi Perez at shortstop while Guillen plays first base for the injured Casey.



Pitching



Tigers

Cardinals


Rate

Rank

Rate

Rank

FIP

4.36

3

4.77

14

ERA

3.84

1

4.54

9


This is where the Tigers had a huge edge statistically during the regular. The good news for the Cardinals is that their pitching has been excellent in post-season so far (2.97 ERA). The Tigers have been just as good though against the tougher American League (2.92).


The Tigers go into the series with a rotation of Justin Verlander, Kenny Rogers, Nate Robertson and Jeremy Bonderman versus the Cardinals quartet of Anthony Reyes, Jeff Weaver Chris Carpenter and Jeff Suppan. Carpenter may be the best pitcher on both teams but the rain outs and 7 game series versus the Mets force Tony LaRussa to start Reyes in game 1. The Tigers have the edge here.


The Tigers had a much stronger bullpen during the regular season but the Cardinals have been equally strong in the playoffs. It will be Todd Jones, Joel Zumaya, Fernando Rodney and Jamie Walker for the Tigers versus Adam Wainwright, Tyler Johnson, Josh Kinney and Randy Flores for the Cardinals. It’s hard to know whether the Cardinal bullpen is for real or not and this should be a big key to the series. I’m still giving the edge to the Tigers here.


Defense



Tigers

Cardinals


Rate

Rank

Rate

Rank

DER

.704

1

.699

6

HBT Fielding

+56

1

54

3

HBT Ground

+74

1

44

5

HBT Air

-18

13

10

6


Fielding is harder to measure but the Tigers appear to have the edge over the Cardinals defensively as the two teams are #1 and #6 respectively in defensive efficiency. The Hardball Times looks at types of balls hit (ground ball, fly ball, pop up, line drive) in an attempt to break down DER further. These stats are explained further in an article by Dave Studeman. They indicate that the Tigers superior defense seems to be primarily due to fielding grounders while their ability to catch balls in their air is not very good.


Predictions

The Tigers have the edge in every area and, on paper, it looks like they should dominate. However, the Cardinals are playing very well in post-season and should give them a better fight than the Athletics. I’ll pick the Tigers in 6. The stars will be Curtis Granderson and Justin Verlander.

1 comment:

  1. hahaha verlander is a hero...for the cardinals. Thanks for the 7 runs.

    ReplyDelete

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