Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Play-Ins: Buy Me Some Red Bull and Cracker Jack

Great point by Dave Cameron at Fangraphs
The rules surrounding the Wild Card Game rosters even incentivize a significant turn away from standard operating procedure. The 25 man roster that will be set for Tuesday’s contest can be completely overhauled for the division series, so Tuesday’s roster only has to play on Tuesday.
His piece focuses on the Pirates, but the point is that since the rules allow a team to set a completely new roster for the play-in, then another one for the divisional series, it makes sense to leave most starters off the one-game roster (since they won't be available anyway) load up on relief pitchers, and then pull your starter at absolutely the first sign of distress, or even before that. He sketches an optimal strategy for the Bucs that would entail seven pitchers. That's a lot of pitching changes, which will be filled by a lot of commercials, resulting in a lot of tired people showing up for work and school on Wednesday in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati (and a day later in Cleveland and Tampa).

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