Updated: Oct 31, 2022
We discussed this and another topic on Youtube. You can watch that here.
One of the most frequent topics on the multiple game watch parties we have had and the Twitter space rooms has been DH and LF for the Astros in the World Series. The Astros have had a challenge with the players they have started in LF and DH this postseason other than Yordan Alvarez.
You can see the issue. Diaz and Mancini are BOTH in horrible slumps. Most fans seem acutely aware that Mancini is having issues. I did a poll to validate that apparently most DO understand how bad Diaz has been too. Neither one is batting in a manner that gives the team ANY confidence.
Let's approach an answer step-by-step
Vazquez cannot DH. He might be the best option at DH (OPS 0.432 in 12 PA- not great either.). You cannot afford to lose the DH IF you had to bring in Vazquez to catch. I will not consider him part of the solution here.
Philadelphia's Left Field is significantly larger than Minute Maid Park.
There is a desire to play Hensley because the other options for LF/DH have performed so badly. Hensley played only 3 innings of one game in LF for the Astros. He played 51 innings over 6 games (6 GS) in LF at AAA. I just don't expect the Astros to ask the rookie to start in LF for the FIRST time ever in the WORLD SERIES. I will consider Hensley a DH only option.
There is also a fear of having Alvarez play LF in the bigger ballpark. I assume he will play LF for ONE of the games in Philadelphia. Which game? Comparing ground ball rates of the SP shows it probably should be game 3.
Three - 10/31/22
Four - 11/1/22
If Alvarez starts in LF in game three, then let's say they do give Hensley an opportunity to DH for game 3. IF Alvarez does not play LF in game 3 and DHs in all games, then Hensley remains a PH only option.
I refuse to believe that Dusty will let Dubon play CF even for the Verlander start. If he does then Chas McCormick could easily play LF in that scenario.
Who plays LF if the only two options are Diaz and Mancini?
This is WHY I try to reserve judgement until I see the metrics. My OPINION would have been that I preferred Diaz in LF. The data does not support that.
Who will be pitching for Philadelphia and what does the matchup say?
I will be showing three scenarios for Philadelphia in my daily update Monday. For NOW I will assume, what they are SAYING will happen, does happen. Given the matchup data in the World Series Matchup Guide. who do we think is the better matchup for the Astros?
Game 3- Syndergaard -Mancini SIGNIFICANLY
Game 4- Suárez- Diaz edge
Game 5- Nola- Mancini by a mile
We had a great suggestion from the YouTube discussion of this article. What about Dubon vs. the LHSP Suárez?
Update- We looked at the guide and while Dubon xwOBA is 0.312 vs. Suárez compares negatively to Diaz, I would be willing to do that given the Mancini and Diaz slumps. The point would be I think the defense of Dubon in CF and McCormick in LF outweighs the xwOBA offensive gap that may or may not exist with Diaz and Mancini is their massive slumps. The table below is updated. I would NOT do this in Game 5 as Dubon vs. Nola is 0.190 xwOBA.
So let's put this all together. Mancini AND Diaz both are in slumps. Here is what I would suggest to give the Astros the best opportunity.
Monday Game 3 was rained out.
With the change in schedule, the recommendations have adjusted.
Three - 11/1/22
Four - 11/2/22
C: Vazquez (7th) Mancini (8th)
What do you think? I know most Astros fans may not want to see Mancini but I am sticking with my projections.
The statistics referenced here come from baseballsavant.com and Fangraphs.com and MLB.com
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