2011 MLB Playoff NLDS Preview: Diamondbacks vs. Brewers

NLDS Preview: Cardinals vs. Phillies | Diamondbacks vs. Brewers
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Saturday at 2:07pm EST, the Diamondbacks and Brewers kick-off the 2011 NLDS in Milwaukee.

The Diamondbacks emerged as the top team in the NL West, overtaking the defending champion Giants. Justin Upton turned in an MVP-caliber performance, leading the offense to a run scoring rate 7% better than the NL average. The pitching and defense, however, performed well enough to create a decent run differential (5% below league average).

The Brewers produced very similar numbers to the Diamondbacks, scoring runs at a slightly higher rate relative to league (9%), and preventing them at a near average rate (2% less than league average).

Both teams are capable of getting men on base (league-average OBP), and then driving them home with some significant power (+6/7% slugging, +14% and +21% HR/FB ratios).

The issue in this series will be the run prevention, particularly how Arizona handles the Brewers offense on the road.

The Diamondbacks were five games over .500 on the road this season, while the Brewers were three games under .500 when playing on the road.

Milwaukee sported the best home record in baseball (57-24), but saw their offense score .7 runs per game less when playing away from Miller Park. Meanwhile, Milwaukee's run prevention actually got worse on the road, to the tune of nearly .40 runs per game. That being said, the Brewers handle the Diamondback's offense pretty well on the road (2.31 ERA, .037 HR/PA, OPS+ against of 66).

The same can't be said for the Brewers offense. Milwaukee only managed an OPS+ of 86 against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field, largely due to one of their lowest BABIP in any park (.260).

Arizona was able to light it up offensively at Miller Park this year (OPS+ 122), while keeping the lid on the Brewers offense (OPS+ against of 91).

Of course, these teams only played seven games head-to-head this year, but if Arizona can steal at least one of the first two games in Milwaukee the series becomes very winnable given the Brewers' trouble on the road.

My prediction: Arizona pulls of the upset, three games to one.

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Graphic Guide: League average is scaled to 100. Scores higher than 100 indicate performance better than league average, less than 100 indicates performance worse than league average regardless of the statistic. For example, if a team has a FIP of 110% on the graph their actual FIP is 10% better than league average.

Statistics have not been park adjusted, but are adjusted for each team's respective league.

Offense

RS/G: Runs Scored per Game

wOBA: Weighted On-base Average

OBP: On-base Percentage

SLG: Slugging

BABIP: Batting Average on Balls in Play

LD%: Line-drive Percentage

HR/FB: Home run to Fly Ball Ratio

Defense

RA/G: Runs Against per Game

FIP: Fielding Independent Pitching

tERA: True Runs Allowed

SIERA: Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average (FanGraphs' version)

BABIP: Batting Average on Balls in Play

K/BB: Strikeouts to Walk Ratio

HR/FB: Home run to Fly Ball Ratio

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