Playoff Prospectus: RIP, Even Year Magic

The piece previewed here, written by BP Wrigleyville’s Henry Druschel, forms part of the main site’s comprehensive coverage of the playoffs, “Playoff Prospectus.” Additional Game Four coverage, exclusive to BP Wrigleyville, can be found here, under the name “Second City October”.

For eight innings, this was a boring game. It’s playoff baseball, so there’s a pretty high floor in terms of interest level, but if a playoff game can be boring, this was. Maybe Monday night’s 13-inning fever dream just set the bar too high, but for whatever reason, not much stood out. John Lackey versus Matt Moore didn’t seem like it was going to be a marquee matchup, and it wasn’t; aside from the occasional moment of Javier Baez brilliance, the innings seemed filled with forgettable moments.

If there was one surprise before the ninth, it was Moore, who allowed only two runs on two hits and two walks over those eight innings, along with 10 strikeouts. Moore was once notable for being an excellent prospect, competing with Mike Trout and Bryce Harper for the top spot in MLB. In recent years, if Moore has been notable, it’s been for once being a top prospect, not for any kind of present-tense ability.

His performance was a surprise, but he did have help. One of the best features of BP’s WARP metrics is that they divide credit for run prevention as accurately as possible between the pitcher and the catcher. That precision is great, but it means it’s not enough to consider just the pitcher when getting a feel for how a game might go. Moore ended 2016 with a mediocre DRA of 4.93, but in Game 4 he was also pitching to Buster Posey, the most valuable framer in MLB in 2016.


To read the rest of the piece, please head on over to the main site.

Lead photo courtesy John Hefti—USA Today Sports.

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