MLB Postseason: American League Division Series preview
An in-depth look at the upcoming American League Division Series.
Red Sox vs. Rays – HITTING
Overall, Tampa Bay is very well balanced. They hit for contact and hit for power, while also showing great competency on the basepaths. The one downfall this team faces is in it’s overabundance of strikeouts. However, that too at times seems meaningful to this team’s success.
Here’s how they rank offensively. Their 29.8 fWAR, 109 wRC+ fourth best in baseball respectively. Additionally, the Rays feature an 11.2 BsR, which is the fifth best in MLB. They have stolen 88 bases, making them the 7th best team in the category.
Their 1,542 strikeouts are the most in the American League and third most in MLB. This accounts for a 24.8 K%, which is the fourth highest in all of baseball.
After missing the expanded MLB Postseason last year, this was supposed to be a rebuild season for the Sox. Now, the team is poised to make a run at their fifth title since 2004. To do so, they’re going to have to rely heavily on their lineup.
Speaking of their offense, here’s where they rank among their peers. The Red Sox feature a 23.3 fWAR, which ranks 8th in MLB. Catapulted by Rafael Devers (133 wRC+), Boston’s 108 wRC+ is the 7th best in MLB.
On the bases, the Red Sox are quite stationary. They will not nab too many bases. Their 40 stolen bases ranks 29 out of 30 in MLB.
Despite losing Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, and Charlie Morton, Tampa Bay continues to show prowess in the area of pitching. They have the 4th most strikeouts in the American League and bolster one of the scariest bullpens in the game.
Statistically, the Rays’ pitching staff has a 18.7 fWAR, which is 7th best in the league. Their 3.67 team ERA is the 4th lowest and is helped by a keen ability to prevent home runs. Overall, the team’s 1.14 HR/9 ranks 7th in baseball.
The most impressive thing about this is that the Rays have only one pitcher in the top 100. Shane McClanahan entered the season as the 4th ranked pitching prospect for the Rays. Today, he is the team’s ace and is set to start in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Though he wasn’t available for the team’s Wild Card game, the addition of Chris Sale for the remainder of the MLB Postseason is huge. This pairs the World Series champion with Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez, two top 25 pitchers in MLB.
Statistically, the Red Sox have a better fWAR than the Rays – 19.2 vs 18.7. However, they don’t have a better team ERA. In fact, the Sox ERA is almost a run worse than the Rays – 4.27 vs 3.67. This could be due to the bullpen.
Despite kicking off the season on fire, the Red Sox bullpen has faltered in the second half of the regular season. As a result, the team features a 71.9 LOB%, which is 17th worst in the league. In the end, this may be the downfall of the team
Prediction: The Tampa Bay Rays are a force, not just in the American League, but in all MLB. They will eliminate the Red Sox in four games.
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