With their 4-3 win today at the Trop, the Rangers beat the Rays in the ALDS for the second straight year (this year in 3 games to 1, last year was 3 games to 2). I had picked the Rangers to win the AL Pennant at the start of playoff previews, but end up selecting the Rays to win the series after seeing the statistics (the Rangers had a better lineup and bullpen, while the Rays had better starters and fielding). I had predicted that this would be a close series, and even though it didn't go 5 games, it was a close series. The Rays weaker bullpen certainly hurt them, especially in games 2 and 3. It should be that statistics provide percentages. It was unlikely that James Shields would have very little command in his start, but it happened. Statistics are best with big samples, one start is not a big sample. Shields is going to have .185 WAR a start, but that doesn't mean he will give .185 WAR every start. It is an average. Most starts by Shields are going to be real good. The one he had in the series was not. Statistics also said Lewis usually won't outduel Price, and Harrison usually won't outduel Hellickson, but it happened. The unlikely happened. If the same pitching match-ups happen 5 or so times, the Rays will win (at least those match-ups) more often than they won't. Perhaps the biggest difference between the two clubs is that the Rangers have the resources to sign already studs like Adrian Beltre, while the Rays do not. Beltre had 3 homers in game 4 and played solid defense the whole series. He was probably the MVP for the Rangers' (perhaps Napoli), while Desmond Jennings was probably the MVP for the Rays. Adrian Beltre is making $14 million this year, while Jennings is making league minimum.
So far in the 2011 playoffs:
Initial picks: 1-0
Statistics picks: 0-1
Record of team with bigger salary: 1-0