On-Base Perception

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Dodgers' Kershaw, Tigers' hitting woes, Rays' edge and other playoff notes

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during the first inning against the Yankees. (July 31, 2013) (Credit: AP)

One Division Series is wrapped up and another will go to a deciding Game 5 on Wednesday. On Tuesday the Tigers and Rays try to prolong their postseason in a pair of exciting Game 4’s. Here are some statistical notes from the playoffs so far:

Rays have an edge

The Rays continue to try and extend their American League Division Series against the Red Sox, sending Jeremy Hellickson to the mound to oppose Jake Peavy for Game 4 on Tuesday.

Peavy was excellent initially upon arriving in Boston following a trade from the White Sox. He had a 3.18 ERA during his first six starts. But his final four starts were ugly, with Peavy posting a 5.40 ERA. He also hasn’t pitched since Sept. 25 and has a 4.91 ERA in six career starts against the Rays.

Hellickson, meanwhile, had a 3.44 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 5.0 K/BB ratio in three starts against the Red Sox in 2013. In his other 29 games (28 starts), Hellickson had a 5.47 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 2.5 K/BB ratio.

Essentially, if the Rays win again and force a deciding Game 5 back in Boston, don’t be surprised.

Kershaw and Koufax

The Dodgers dominated the Braves in every facet of the National League Division Series and Game 1 and 4 starter Clayton Kershaw was no small reason why. Kershaw is often compared to Dodgers great Sandy Koufax and it’s easy to see why.

From 1964-66, Koufax posted a 176 ERA+ and 4.59 K/BB ratio. Kershaw has a 166 ERA+ and 4.20 K/BB ratio during the past three seasons.

But how about this – Koufax topped out at a 190 ERA+. Kershaw posted a 194 ERA+ in 2013.

Kimbrel's use

There will be plenty of debate about whether Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez should have used closer Craig Kimbrel for two innings on Tuesday instead of turning to David Carpenter, who gave up the Dodgers’ go-ahead home run to Juan Uribe.

It appeared to some amateur lip-reading viewers watching the TBS feed of the game that Kimbrel told his bullpen coach he could’ve gone two innings. And maybe he could have.

But here are the facts: In 231 career games, Kimbrel has pitched more than 1.0 inning exactly four times. He’s gone two full innings only twice, the last time coming on April 21, 2011.

Tigers: Less a 'roar', more a 'meow'

The Braves lineup was a dud against the Dodgers in the NLDS, posting just a .563 on-base plus slugging percentage. But consider that the “fearsome” Detroit Tigers have been even worse. Through three games against the Athletics, Tigers hitters have posted a .218 average, .257 on-base percentage and .250 slugging percentage (.507 OPS). They have only three extra-base hits, all doubles.

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