Leadoff home runs, abbreviate leashes for starting pitchers and multi-inning abatement weapons. This ain’t your father’s postseason. So what does October baseball attending like in 2018? As the monthlong clash of drama, astriction and heroes unfolds, we dive into the trends abstraction the game.
Here is an October adapt of sorts and a attending at how changes that are impacting the avant-garde d are arena out this October, with a tip of the cap to Evan Wildstein of ESPN Stats & Info for analysis help:
As the d has become focused on power, it’s not a abruptness that leadoff hitters are additionally hitting added home runs. The three seasons with the best home runs from leadoff hitters are the accomplished three:
No. 4 on the account is 2008, with 466, and 20 years ago, the aboriginal year with 30 teams, there were aloof 381 homers hit by leadoff batters. We saw George Springer ability the Astros aftermost postseason from the leadoff spot, hitting bristles home runs in the World Alternation to win MVP honors.
How it’s arena out this postseason: We’ve already apparent eight home runs from leadoff hitters this postseason, with three of them advancing off Springer’s bat. The Dodgers accept additionally had assorted leadoff hitters hit home runs this postseason in Joc Pederson and Chris Taylor.
More names to watch: Mookie Betts is the acceptable AL MVP afterwards slugging 32 home runs, acceptable the batting appellation and baronial additional to Mike Trout in the majors in OPS — while hitting leadoff — and he hasn’t gone abysmal in October … yet.
Small brawl is bottomward everywhere, with baseborn bases and cede bunts dying a apathetic death. In the 2017 postseason, alone 30 steals were alike attempted, the atomic back 30 in 1986 — except in 1986 there were aloof 20 postseason games, while in 2017 there were 38. In any postseason in which at atomic eight amateur were played, 2017 featured the everyman per-game amount of baseborn abject attempts.
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Additionally, there were aloof 15 cede bunts aftermost postseason — aloof seven from non-pitchers. That amount absolutely mirrored the regular-season rate, so the abstraction that managers comedy added baby brawl in the postseason didn’t arena accurate in 2017.
How it’s arena out this postseason: Well, this is interesting. There accept already been added baseborn bases in a anniversary of 2018 postseason amateur than we saw all of aftermost October, as teams are a accumulated 23-for-29 on attempts.
The two teams accomplishing the best accident on the basepaths? The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers, who will accommodated in the NL Championship Alternation starting Friday night. Milwaukee’s bristles steals ability not be too big of a abruptness afterwards finishing the approved division as the alone aggregation with triple-digit baseborn bases, but L.A.’s eight in four amateur vs. Atlanta is absolutely account tracking.
Meanwhile, we’ve apparent eight sac bunts this postseason, with all but two of them advancing from non-pitchers. The two by pitchers accept both been by Dodger pitchers.
More teams to watch: The Red Sox absolutely ranked third in the majors with 125 steals during the approved division and are a absolute 5-for-5 on attempts this postseason.
For the 13th afterwards season, strikeouts beyond the majors added — the boilerplate aggregation fanned 8.48 times per d in 2018 (strikeout amount of 22.3 percent). Actuality are the regular-season and postseason strikeout ante back 2010:
Year: approved season, postseason
2010: 18.5 percent, 23.0 percent
2011: 18.6 percent, 20.0 percent
2012: 19.8 percent, 22.3 percent
2013: 19.9 percent, 23.6 percent
2014: 20.4 percent, 19.5 percent
2015: 20.4 percent, 24.2 percent
2016: 21.1 percent, 24.4 percent
2017: 21.6 percent, 24.7 percent
Other than 2014, the strikeout amount has absolutely gone up in the postseason. No abruptness there — you accept bigger casting in October. The Astros won the World Alternation in 2017 and had the everyman strikeout amount in the majors in 2017. The Royals had the everyman strikeout amount in 2015 and won the World Series. On the added hand, the Cubs in 2016 and Giants in 2014 were boilerplate of the backpack in strikeout rate. The 2012 Giants had the second-lowest amount afterwards removing pitchers.
How it’s arena out this postseason: Strikeouts are up hardly from the approved season, but the accepted amount of 23.5 percent is absolutely a abrupt dip from the accomplished few postseasons. Expect that cardinal to acceleration afresh as the best casting staffs move on to the LCS and World Alternation rounds.
Teams to watch: Afterwards removing pitchers, the Indians, Braves, Astros and Red Sox accept four of the bristles everyman strikeout ante in the majors, all beneath 20 percent, but alone Houston and Boston are larboard from that group. The Brewers and Yankees accept the accomplished strikeout ante of the playoff teams.
There were 102 walk-off home runs this division — ballyhoo the antecedent almanac of 80, set in 2004. Will this trend abide in the postseason? We had one walk-off home run aftermost postseason in 38 amateur — Justin Turner off John Lackey in Bold 2 of the NLCS. We additionally had a game-tying home run in the top of the ninth, a ambitious home run in the top of the 10th and a ambitious home run in the top of the 11th (oh, those final three all came by the Astros in Bold 2 of the World Series).
How it’s arena out this postseason: It isn’t! We haven’t had a walk-off home run yet this postseason, with Mike Moustakas’ NLDS Bold 1 distinct the alone walk-off hit of any affectionate so far. The acceptable news? That’s acceptable to change soon, and that agency added blood-tingling October brawl headed your way.
Names to watch: Jesus Aguilar. The Brewers slugger is the alone amateur larboard in the postseason who hit assorted walk-off home runs this season. Yasmani Grandal hit the alone walk-off adjudicator amid teams still arena this postseason back he took Milwaukee’s Matt Albers abysmal in August.
Given that cipher throws complete amateur in the approved season, you won’t be abashed to apperceive that complete amateur in the postseason are aloof as rare. Justin Verlander threw the alone one aftermost season, out of 76 alone amateur started. Hey, that amount (1.3 percent) is absolutely college than this year’s regular-season amount (0.85 percent). Verlander, however, was additionally the alone abode to bandy added than seven innings aftermost postseason, and in about bisected the games, the amateur didn’t alike accomplish it through bristles innings (the boilerplate alpha lasted aloof 4.7 innings).
That agency managers are relying added on bullpens. Actuality are the allotment of innings accustomed to relievers in the postseason back 2012:
2012: 37.6 percent
2013: 34.8 percent
2014: 40.2 percent
2015: 39.5 percent
2016: 43.2 percent
2017: 46.5 percent
The bristles teams with the everyman abode ERAs in 2018 all fabricated the postseason: Astros, Cubs, A’s, Yankees and Brewers.
How it’s arena out this postseason: Bullpens accept pitched added than ever. With the bullpenning Brewers and A’s arch the way, relievers accept accounted for a amazing 48.3 percent of innings so far.
Teams to watch: The Astros accept the centermost bullpen, but they additionally accept starting pitchers acceptable to go abysmal into amateur the blow of the way, so that leaves the Brewers. Josh Hader and Jeremy Jeffress were All-Stars for the Brewers, but Corey Knebel — aftermost year’s All-Star afterpiece — is a huge key afterwards disturbing abundant of the division afore award a canal in the season’s final month.
An absorbing trend developed aftermost season: 12 pitchers were acclimated as both starters and relievers, the best in postseason history (the antecedent aerial had been nine in 2003, 2004 and 2011). Those 12 pitchers: Alex Wood, Brad Peacock, Charlie Morton, Chris Sale, Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana, Verlander, Lance McCullers Jr., Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello and Robbie Ray.
Welcome to October, back it takes aptitude and some postseason abracadabra to win it all. We breach bottomward every agenda to see who has the appropriate Fall Classic formula.
This postseason is abounding of difference-making adolescent stars. Which are accessible to boss the playoffs?
Four home runs and one of the best memorable hits in World Alternation history in his aboriginal postseason ability assume like a acceptable start, but the hypercompetitive Astros brilliant is accessible to add to his legend.
In Bold 4 of the AL Division Series, Sale and Verlander both pitched, alike admitting it wasn’t a do-or-die d for the Astros. Lester pitched 3 2/3 innings in abatement in Bold 4 of the Cubs-Nationals NL Division Series, and again Scherzer and Quintana both appeared in that crazy Bold 5 (Scherzer, in fact, best up the accident as he accustomed four runs in one inning). The Astros acclimated four pitchers in both roles, partially a aftereffect of A.J. Hinch scrambling as his primary relievers struggled. Morton accustomed one run in six innings in Bold 4 of the World Alternation and again pitched the final innings in abatement in Bold 7 to become a World Alternation hero.
Even admitting managers usually now backpack 12 pitchers on their postseason rosters, the atrocious attributes of the postseason, accumulated with those quicker hooks for starters, agency they don’t necessarily appetite to accord added innings to the 11th and 12th relievers on the roster, so this is a trend that ability continue. Or maybe 2017 was an abnormality (there were aloof four such pitchers acclimated in both roles in 2015 and 2016). The Astros, for example, accept a added and added accurate abode this season, so Hinch may stick to a added accepted acceptance pattern.
How it’s arena out this postseason: This is a trend that’s activity to comedy out as the alternation go from bristles amateur to best-of-seven afterwards the LDS. We accept already apparent some absorbing abode usages, alignment from Chicago’s Cole Hamels and Kyle Hendricks advancing out of the pen in the NL wild-card d to Trevor Bauer acclimated for an inning or added in all three of the Indians’ ALDS losses to the Astros. And Sale angry in a scoreless inning out of the pen as the Red Sox bankrupt out the Yankees in ALDS Bold 4 on Tuesday night.
Teams to watch: Dave Roberts acclimated Kershaw in chief amateur in 2016 (NLDS Bold 5) and 2017 (World Alternation Bold 7), and with a all-a-quiver bullpen, Roberts could alarm on Kershaw or alike Walker Buehler or Hyun-Jin Ryu, who accept been accomplished the final two months.
OK, starters don’t get abysmal into games. Relievers are casting added innings. Recent history, however, suggests you can’t absolutely await on the bullpen. The postseason is so continued that you charge somebody to footfall up, backpack a big amount and win a big d about forth the line. Consider:
2017: Verlander, 36 2/3 innings (6 games, 5 amateur started). Beat the Yankees 2-1 with a complete d in Bold 2 of the ALCS and again threw seven scoreless innings in Bold 7 of the series.
2016: Lester, 35 2/3 innings (6 G, 5 GS). Threw eight annihilation innings in Bold 1 of the NLDS to win 1-0. Won Bold 5 of the World Alternation and again pitched three innings in Bold 7.
2015: Edinson Volquez, 28 2/3 innings (5 GS). The Royals are affectionate of the barring to the rule, but agenda that Johnny Cueto did angle eight innings in Bold 5 of the ALDS and threw a complete d in the World Series.
2014: Madison Bumgarner, 52 2/3 innings (7 G, 6 GS). The legend.
2013: Adam Wainwright, 35 innings (5 GS). The Cardinals absent the World Series, but Wainwright averaged seven innings per outing. Lester of the acceptable Red Sox went 7 2/3 innings in three of his bristles starts.
2012: Matt Cain, 30 innings (5 GS). Another exception, as Cain averaged aloof six innings per start.
2011: Chris Carpenter, 36 innings (6 GS). Carpenter had one abbreviate airing but won Bold 5 of the NLDS 1-0 over Roy Halladay with a complete d and again pitched 19 innings in the World Series, acceptable Bold 7 on three days’ rest.
2010: Tim Lincecum, 37 innings (6 G, 5 GS). He had a 1-0 annihilation with 14 strikeouts in Bold 1 of the NLDS and won absolute Bold 5 of the World Alternation with one run in eight innings.
The point here: You’re apparently not activity to win the World Alternation if you’re aloof accepting bristles innings a start. We apperceive how basic bullpens are, and the postseason skippers are activity to accumulate churning through those relievers throwing 98 mph, but you charge that ace to footfall up.
How it’s arena out this postseason: Alone time will acquaint who keeps it up, but some aboriginal candidates accept emerged here. Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu accumulated for 15 scoreless innings in the NLDS and should get the brawl on approved blow in L.A.’s aboriginal two NLCS contests. Gerrit Cole was lights-out in a 12-strikeout, zero-walk ALDS outing, and Nathan Eovaldi provided seven much-needed innings for a Boston aggregation that’s activity to attending to booty the burden off its abode anyhow it can as the postseason continues.
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