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The Ultimate World Series Matchup Matrix

Updated: Nov 2, 2021


Who is going to do well tonight?

Why are they taking this pitcher out and putting this pitcher in?

Why is he playing tonight?

Why don't they pinch hit with him here?

All of these questions are here in this Matrix. Every batter vs. every pitcher in this series are in these tables. Remember red is good and blue is bad.

Consider this the supplement to the full World Series Scouting Report.

Astros Batters vs. Braves Pitchers

Braves Batters vs. Astros Pitchers

General Notes

  • These are xwOBA (expected weighted On-base Average)- see below for xwOBA details.

  • Each cell is the xwOBA for the batter on the left facing the pitcher on the top

  • The calculations in these tables take into account the distribution of pitches each pitcher throws and how well they throw them and then the ability of each batter to hit those pitches and any platoon splits the batter has.

  • The Average numbers on the bottom are the average of the pitcher vs. the top NINE batters in the list. I did not include the bench players in this calculation. This is basically a single number to reflect how well that pitcher will do vs. the lineup.

  • The Average numbers on the right are the batters average vs. all of the pitchers.

  • Perhaps, one could do a weighted average if one knew how many IP each pitcher would have. Since the SP are not likely to have long appearances this is good enough for now.

  • For the Astros hitters vs. Brave pitchers I DID NOT include the numbers for Lee, Wright, and Davidson in the averages. The sample sizes for these players are simply too small.

  • These are basically one number to reflect how well the batter will do vs. all of the other pitchers in the series.

Here are some notes for Game 6 of the series. It is a must win for the Astros and expect them to be very aggressive.

First, the pitcher usage table.

Game 6- Game Keys and Notes

Both teams should have most of their bullpens.


Pitching vs. Braves

  • Garcia starting on three days rest means I would expect Odorizzi/ Javier to be ready for the second inning if it does not go well in the first. Both are rested and should be good to go.

    • Freeman, Riley, and Soler are the biggest matchup challenges for Garcia but as we have seen many Braves 1-9 are capable of hard contact

    • Freddy Freeman is a beast and should be treated like Barry Bonds when possible

    • Given his reduced rest and the challenge of the top of the order Garcia may only go through the order once

    • Yimi may have the finish the first or second duty if Garcia struggles at all early

  • Look for both Taylor and Raley to be used in Game 6. Both are rested.

  • Even if Garcia is going well, expect Javier to start warming up to be ready to go as early as the third inning

    • In studying the matchup numbers you can see Javier has challenges too

    • Expect Javier to only go 2 innings before the back end of the bullpen is deployed

  • Maton has appeared in four of the five games. He will be limited to one inning at most.

  • Graveman after 37 pitches in Game 5 may also be limited.

    • If Dusty does use Graveman in a close game expect it to be vs. spots 7-9.

    • Pressly will come in the eighth inning again if spots 1-6 are up.

  • My guess at how it plays out

    • Garcia 1-3

    • Javier 4-5

    • Maton/ Yimi 6

    • Raley 7

    • Stanek 8

    • Pressly 9

    • Graveman 10

    • Taylor 11

    • Odorizzi 12+

Batting vs. Braves

  • Here is the likely Astros lineup in Game 6

  • With LHSP Fried (Pitcher Table below with pitches and how Astros bats do vs. each)

    • Tucker is the key batter (0.873 OPS through Game 5)

    • Alvarez needs to break out (0.506 OPS in World Series but good overall postseason)

    • Correa may possibly have the other big night

  • I do not think Siri will start - NOTE THEY CHOSE TO START HIM

    • His postseason results have shown some of his early results may be dropping him back to the norm

    • I do not trust his splits vs. LHP in particular

    • Siri may be deployed as PH

    • The Astros are rolling the dice on Siri. McCormick has several negative matchups.

  • Against the Bullpen- expect all high leverage RP except Minter possibly to be available

    • Tucker and Alvarez are the keys against the bullpen also

    • In key situations in late innings, a PH should be used vs. the Braves bullpen per the Usage table below

      • Maldonado is the most probable player to be PH for with RISP in poor matchup situations

      • Siri MIGHT be PH for vs. Chavez

      • Diaz, Gonzalez, and McCormock are possible PHs to be used as shown

Will the Astros bats come alive even against the strong pitching of the Braves? The Astros are gaining more familiarity with the Braves pitching with each game. Given these numbers an Astros breakout may be imminent.


Pitching vs. Astros

  • The starting pitching advantage switches in the Series for Game 6 back to the Braves with Fried. He may be the best healthy SP in the series.

    • Expect the Astros to jump on Fried's 4-seam Fastball if they have the count in their favor

    • Fried's curveball is the most unhittable pitch

    • As stated before, Tucker is the key to potential Astros success vs. Fried

    • I expect the Braves to want to ride Fried to at least the 5th inning

  • If the Braves get five good innings from Fried, expect their shutdown bullpen to take over.

    • NOT pitching Smith, Jackson, and Matzek in Game 5 was huge for the Braves. Expect Matzek to be used for 2 innings if the Braves have a lead

    • Minter at 84 pitches in the series may be limited to one inning at most

  • My guess at how it plays out

    • Fried 1-5

    • Jackson 6

    • Matzek 7-8

    • Smith 9

    • Chavez 10

    • Minter 11

    • Martin 12

    • Lee 13+

Batting vs. Astros

  • Here is the likely Braves lineup for Game 6

  • The Braves will have both Soler and Pederson in the lineup in the AL park

  • Adrianza is out on paternity leave. Camargo is in.

  • Notice the Braves have moved Albies down to seven as well. They are bunching all of the hot hitters in the post season together.

  • Vs. RHSP Garcia the Braves have some favorable matchups

    • This is partly why I think the Astros may deploy a heavy matchup strategy in Game 6 to avoid the worst of these battles.

    • I expect most of the Braves batters will see Garcia only once

    • Freeman, Riley, and Soler have the highest xwOBA all at or over 0.370

  • Beyond Garcia, the Braves lineup of starters does not have huge negative matchup numbers and they are not likely to be overly aggressive in PH.

    • Through 5 games, the only PH the Braves have used has been for the pitchers.

    • It is possible the Braves in a game situation may chose to PH for Duvall vs. Stanek with Adrianza.

In Summary, Game 6 is likely to be a battle. Expect the Astros to be aggressive with switches to escape matchup challenges. Expect the Braves to follow their normal script of timely hitting and to look for at least 5 innings from Fried and then to deploy their premium bullpen staff.

It's going to be a wild ride at Minute Maid Park. Be loud and let's get a Game 7.

Please ask me your questions here or @LarryTheGM on Twitter.

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Definition of xwOBA per Baseball Savant

Expected Weighted On-base Average (xwOBA) is formulated using exit velocity, launch angle and, on certain types of batted balls, Sprint Speed.

In the same way that each batted ball is assigned an expected batting average, every batted ball is given a single, double, triple and home run probability based on the results of comparable batted balls since Statcast was implemented Major League wide in 2015. For the majority of batted balls, this is achieved using only exit velocity and launch angle. As of 2019, "topped" or "weakly hit" balls also incorporate a batter's seasonal Sprint Speed.

All hit types are valued in the same fashion for xwOBA as they are in the formula for standard wOBA: (unintentional BB factor x unintentional BB + HBP factor x HBP + 1B factor x 1B + 2B factor x 2B + 3B factor x 3B + HR factor x HR)/(AB + unintentional BB + SF + HBP), where "factor" indicates the adjusted run expectancy of a batting event in the context of the season as a whole.

Knowing the expected outcomes of each individual batted ball from a particular player over the course of a season -- with a player's real-world data used for factors such as walks, strikeouts and times hit by a pitch -- allows for the formation of said player's xwOBA based on the quality of contact, instead of the actual outcomes. Likewise, this exercise can be done for pitchers to get their expected xwOBA against.

Why it's useful

xwOBA is more indicative of a player's skill than regular wOBA, as xwOBA removes defense from the equation. Hitters, and likewise pitchers, are able to influence exit velocity and launch angle but have no control over what happens to a batted ball once it is put into play.

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