Now that we have broken down the top lineups going into the MLB playoffs. Now let’s take a dive into the pitching side of baseball. I am going to combine starting pitching with the bullpen, after all the game does not stop once the starter comes out. Who has the top pitching staff going into the MLB playoffs?
I am going to break down the teams in the playoffs at the time of writing this article. Although some things are subject to change, most of these teams are set in stone.
The Break Down: MLB Playoffs Edition:
I took all 12 playoff teams and picked the stats that I refer to when trying to see what a team is all about. Wrote them all down on paper, compared the stats and this is what I found out.
Things are more even on the high end of these pitching statistics. The Dodgers and Astros have a slight lean on the rest of these teams. The Cardinals and Padres are the bottom teams, taking last place in all but one category.
Even with this information, we still need to dive a little deeper into each specific category. Could being middle of the pack in all categories and having more balance behoove a franchise? Which statistics truly matter? Is baseball not about just being hot at the right time?
The oldest and my favorite statistic on pitchers is the earned run average. Only two teams on this list have an ERA sub 3.00, The Dodgers (2.84) have a slight edge on the Astros (2.93).
Only one playoff team at the moment has an ERA over 4.00, which is the San Diego Padres (4.10).
The other 9 teams all have similar numbers, ranging from 3.28 to 3.89. Surprisingly the team with the third best ERA are the New York Yankees (3.28).
K’s and BB’s:
The top team in strikeouts are the New San Diego Padres (1,517) with close to 200 more than the next closest team the New York Mets (1,388).
It goes without saying that if you strike a batter out there is not even a chance he hits a home run. How meaningful is it that the Padres lead this statistic by so much, when ironically they are the worse team at giving up home runs?
Besides the Houston Astros (1,326) and the Atlanta Braves (1,381), every other team hovers in the 1,200 range.
As far as walks go, the Padres gave up the most walks on the season to this point (516). The team that has given up the least amount of walks are the Tampa Bay Rays (339).
Not giving players a free base will be huge in the postseason. These lineups can do damage, you would rather have a solo than a three-run home run in a tight game.
Home Runs Given Up:
Only one team is has given up under 130 home runs, and that is the Houston Astros. The Philadelphia Phillies are sitting right at (130). The Atlanta Braves (131), St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers both sit at (134). Surprisingly the New York Yankees are right behind them at (138).
Every other team is over (147), with the San Diego Padres (205) are the only team who have given up above 200. The Padres being last in BB’s and Home Runs is a bad combination.
It is the 9th inning:
This stat does not mean much, given all of the variables needed to record a save. Team needs to have a lead, but not too much of a lead. You have to be not only ready, yet the manager has to put you in the game. Then after all of that you have to come through with the save.
We could ague which pitcher is best closer on this list, however I want to only look at teams for this series of articles. Because if not I mean Astros, Braves, and Mets would run away with it if we were name dropping.
All teams on this list range from (34) which is the Cardinals to (47) which the Mets and Braves share as the leader. That could just mean they are in a lot of close games to where others are blowing teams out.
Who has the Top Pitching Staff Going into the MLB Playoffs?
With every person you ask and every stat you look at, the answer will change. That is the beauty of this game is that any given night that two teams take the diamond, anything can happen. All 12 of these teams have produced enough offense to get them here. Now almost time for the MLB playoffs.
At a glance, the Dodgers and Astros will meet in the World Series on paper. On the other hand, the Cardinals and Padres are at the bottom of the list. This game isn’t played on paper however. I can not wait to watch these teams go at it in a expanded playoff format.
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Rowan Donaghey is a Sports and Betting Insider for Fantom Sports Industries. Follow him on twitter for daily content via @RowanDonaghey
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