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Morning Mound Visit: sabermetrics news - 10/15/19

The Nats’ bullpen; the noted absence of Bryce Harper; shadows in playoff games

MLB: NLCS-St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

FanGraphs | Jay Jaffe: The Nationals owe the fact that they are a win away from the World Series to their bullpen, which has in just the last few games been lights-out (despite NLDS games one through three), and it’s the thing that if its on, and Sean Doolittle and Daniel Hudson continue to pitch effective innings, could vault them to their first championship.

The Ringer | Claire McNear: There’s also a grand irony to the fact that the Nats could make their first World Series without Bryce Harper, who heralded in their era of competence. This has prompted statements of vitriol from Washington fans, who are basically shouting “good riddance” to their biggest star when the team essentially snubbed him with a deferred money offer last year. It’s sad, and I think fans should hopefully understand that without Harper, even the 2019 team isn’t exactly the same.

Baseball Prospectus | Gerald Schifman ($): Game Two of the NLCS took place in late afternoon, where shadows play a huge role in players’ ability to see the ball. While that seems like a reasonable explanation as to why it was a low-scoring game, it’s more likely that the pitchers were good; there’s almost no evidence that late-afternoon games have higher rates of strikeouts or walks.