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 Michael King of the Yankees. His pitch mix this year has been.
King 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. King's changeup is by far his most dominant pitch that he throws only 14% of the time. For our purposes today I will label Rodon a RH Fastball dominant pitcher, but I am going to define optimal based on the table at the bottom - the overall xwOBA vs. King's pitch mix. The optimal lineup would be.
Actually. Singleton would even be the better choice BUT Abreu is a different hitter than his season stats. I will roll with him too.
The lineup choices are going to be more challenging since there are several good options every night.
This is the lineup Dusty is rolling out.
As shown in the King's data above, his changeup is really a key. Will the Astros work King into Fastball counts? Since, this team is GREAT hitting fastballs that is probably the key.
My other thoughts on today's lineup:
Top 6 MUST produce
I believe the Astros are starting Dubon because Meyers and McCormick are so bad vs. changeups. I think they are overreacting and it should be McCormick tonight- minus 1
Maldy is starting vs. RHP- minus 2
Has Abreu fixed his issues vs. sliders and changeups? Continue to MONITOR THIS TONIGHT. Batting Abreu 5th tells me the Astros think they fixed him.- the early data agrees.
No Diaz and his 0.392 xwOBA- minus 1
My Optimal lineup projects to a 0.354 xwOBA or 5.8 runs per game. Dusty's lineup is also a meh 0.332 xwOBA or 5.1 runs per game. I will deduct 1 just for my lineup projecting to be better. 0.7 runs per game is very significant to choose to not go after.
Overall, I would rate this lineup a 4.5. Overall, this may be a low score for Astros vs. RHP.
Who will RAKE for the Astros tonight? Alvarez and Tucker
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Here is the lineup vs. King's pitch mix.