Barry Zito

Series Preview: A’s vs Giants

The Bay Bridge series is back!

Both teams come in after hovering around .500 all season and on paper are very evenly matched. They both follow the “score just enough runs and hope the pitching is good enough to make it stand up” model. The A’s are doing a little better than expected and the Giants a little worse.

Overall it should be a fun series with tight, low-scoring games.

In case you forgot or didn’t see the explanation, here is a quick description of how the model works:

  • I start by estimating the runs scored and allowed for each team given the starting pitcher, bullpen, defense and each team’s offense.
  • The data used in the projection model is based on the current season’s statistics to date and ZiPS projections, with the weighting shifting more toward the actual stats as the season progresses.
  • The estimated run differential is then converted into a projected winning percentage using the pythagorean expectation.
  • Then, it’s converted into an odds of winning the game using the log5 method developed by Bill James

Probables (via MLB.com):

Friday, May 18, 7:15 PM: Jarrod Parker vs. Barry Zito

Saturday, May 19, 1:05 PM: Tyson Ross vs. Ryan Vogelsong

Sunday, May 20, 1:05 PM: Bartolo Colon vs. Tim Lincecum

Odds:

Giants A’s
Game 1 49% 51%
Game 2 52% 48%
Game 3 59% 41%
Sweep 15% 10%
2 out 3 40% 35%
1 out 3 35% 40%
0 out 3 10% 15%
Win Series 55% 45%
Lose Series 45% 55%

The Giants are favored to win the series but only have a decisive advantage in Game 3 — the other two are essentially so close as to be toss up games.

The A’s got a favorable break in missing the Giants’ two best starters in Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. If those two were pitching the odds would more heavily favor the Giants.

Overall the starting pitching favors the Giants (expect in the Zito vs. Parker match up), the Giants bullpen also has a slight edge. The Athletics’ defense isn’t as bad as what the Giants have been trotting out on the field. As for offense, it’s pretty much a wash with both teams coming to about 3.7 runs per game in the model.

However, with Josh Reddick homering 6 times in his last 12 games he provides the lone power threat on either team. If he keeps it up, that could give the A’s a slight offensive advantage against a Giants team that has only 6 home runs in 19 games at AT&T.

I won’t be home to watch these but luckily I will be out of the market so my MLB.tv subscription won’t black me out. It is always nice to get these friendly rivalry games going again.

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