Day two of the MLB playoffs begins this afternoon, and while yesterday’s slate of games didn’t quite live up to the excitement that the last day of the regular season offered baseball fans, it was filled with it’s own share of surprises.
Matt Moore dominated a Texas Rangers lineup that isn’t quite used to getting dominated by any pitcher, let alone a young left hander making only his second career start. And of course, over in New York, the rain offered a surprise of it’s own, halting the game in the middle of the second inning. That series will try to resume this evening.
Here are some quick notes about the first game today.
Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers at 2:00 PM EDT
The D’Backs send Ian Kennedy to the mound against the Brewers Yovani Gallardo.
Baseball nerds are quick to bring up the fact that Kennedy benefited from a below average BABIP, an above average strand rate and a low home run to fly ball ratio this season. While all those things are true, Kennedy isn’t a slouch by any means. He’s not likely to overpower anyone with his fastball, but after adapting his slider so that it’s more of a cutter, Kennedy uses a curve ball and change up to effectively confuse batters. Prince Fielder in particular tends to make a meal out of fastballs from right handed pitchers, but he’s unlikely to face a challenge pitch from Kennedy, which should work out well for the Diamondbacks. Still, only the St. Louis Cardinals had a better weighted on base average against right handed pitchers than the Brewers this season.
In Gallardo, Milwaukee has a very efficient pitcher, who over the last three years has reduced his walk rate by almost 50%. He relies on two fastballs, a curve ball and a slider, occasionally mixing it up with a change up. His four seamer normally rests in the low nineties and he’ll use it to set up a swing and miss curve ball that he’s not afraid to use against both right handed and left handed batters.
Overall, I just don’t see how the Diamondbacks will be able to compete in any sense against the Brewers. There’s just too much firepower in the lineup and on the mound. And I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t be evident in the first game today.
Reason why I could be wrong:
Incorrect narratives to expect:
The Arizona Diamondbacks are underdogs. GM Kevin Towers is a genius for taking this team from worst to first.
This is it for the Milwaukee Brewers because it’s Prince Fielder’s last year with the team. It’s now or never. Ryan Braun is the National League’s MVP. Can Zack Greinke handle postseason pressure?