In my recent article describing the optimal Astros lineup, I described that every night might have a different answer depending on if the SP was RH or LH and what their dominant pitch types were.
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So today, let's do the quick application of that thought process. Let's compare the optimal Astros lineup with the choices Dusty Baker has made today.
Today's pitcher is Brayan Bello of the Red Sox. His pitch mix this year has been.
Bello is one of those pitchers I described in the optimal Astros lineup article as hard to classify in my labels of dominant pitch type. The Astros will want to dig into the pitch to LHH/RHH data. For our purposes today I will label Bello a RH Fastball dominant pitcher, but I am going to define optimal based on the table at the bottom - the overall xwOBA vs. Bello's pitch mix. The optimal lineup would be.
The lineup choices are going to be more challenging since thete are several good options every night.
This is the lineup Dusty is rolling out.
As shown in the Bello data above, his changeup is really a key. Will the Astros work Bello into Fastball counts? Since, this team is GREAT hitting fastballs that is probably the key.
My other thoughts on today's lineup:
Navigating RHP lineup will be a challenge for the Astros.
Yainer at catcher is a plus!
Has Abreu fixed his issues vs. sliders and changeups? MONITOR THIS TONIGHT. Batting Abreu 5th tells me the Astros think they fixed him.
Finding Singleton playing time will be a challenge unless the Astros start him vs. RHSP. He too may have issues vs. Breaking and Offspeed pitches. Monitoring. May need more of a sample size, but he should have been a good option for today.
I THINK the Astros are protecting McCormick vs. Bello's changeup (0.217 xwOBA). Dubon is not a terrible option, but Chas is better vs. the fastballs. - minus 0.5
My Optimal lineup projects to a 0.377 xwOBA or 6.5 runs per game. Dusty's lineup is also a very good 0.359 xwOBA or 5.9 runs per game. I will deduct 1 just for my lineup projecting to be better. 0.6 runs per game is a LOT to choose to not go after.
Overall, I would rate this lineup a 8.25. Overall a good lineup vs. a RHP.
Hopefully the Astros have a better approach vs. Bello this week.
Who will RAKE for the Astros tonight? Alvarez and Diaz
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Here is the lineup vs. Bello's pitch mix.