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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 10/12/19

The continued Clayton Kershaw narrative; predicting playoff sweeps; how to hit the Yankees

MLB: ALDS-Tampa Bay Rays at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Ben Clemens: Clayton Kershaw yet again has the postseason narrative attached to his name, as unfair as that is. Despite being one of the best pitchers, if not the best, of the 2010s, the legacy that will follow him will be Playoff Kershaw, even if his effectiveness has diminished in recent seasons.

The Ringer | Ben Lindbergh: Unless the Yankees are playing the Twins, it’s fairly hard to predict postseason sweeps, and it’s also difficult to predict series that go the full five or seven games. This is largely because of how people misunderstand basic probability; if you predict a seven-game series, for example, it implies that the team is either losing the first three of five, or they are losing Game Six to send it to the final one, putting in question why you wouldn’t just predict the better team to win in six, the more likely outcome. Yet predictions are just predictions, and people will always like the certainty of saying one team will sweep, or that it will the go ideal distance.

Baseball Prospectus | Matthew Trueblood ($): The Yankees were an offensive-minded team in 2019, but in the ALDS, their pitching was top-notch. If the Astros want to be successful, they need to pick up on some concrete patterns from Yankees pitchers. Look for Masahiro Tanaka to put the ball up in the zone, or a Luis Severino fastball early in the count. James Paxton, on the other hand, could be a difficult one to find a strategy against as he pounds his fastball up in the zone consistently and to great effect.