## Tuesday, October 15, 2013

### A Case For Ricky Nolasco Game Four NLCS

In case you've been on the moon or busy watching soccer there has been some discussion in Dodgers-Land about whether or not to skip Ricky Nolasco in Game #4 of the NLCS or bring back Zack Greinke to pitch on short rest. I decided to take a back of the envelope look at which decision is the correct way to go. My exercise won't go into the nitty-gritty details which would add a little more precision to the numbers but it will provide a good framework and maybe some guidance into what the best decision is.

In general there is a 0.5 RA/9ip penalty for pitching on three days rest and there is probably a little penalty for pitching on too many days rest but let's leave that number unknown for now. What I did is made a table with the RA/9 expectancies for each of the Dodgers four starting pitchers. Then output tables showing which starting pitching arrangement looks best. The RA/9ip estimates can be changed if you don't agree with them, this is just the framework and with the framework you can tell how bad of a pitcher Nolasco must be to make skipping him and starting Greinke (and even perhaps Kershaw and Ryu) on short rest.

Input Table
PitcherRA/9IP
Kershaw2.25
Greinke3
Ryu3.5
Nolasco4

Now let's come up with some rotation arrangements. Let's first start off with the one where Nolasco pitches Game #4 and Greinke, Kershaw and Ryu all pitch on regular rest.

4NormalNolasco4
5NormalGreinke3
6NormalKershaw2.25
7NormalRyu3.5
Total12.75

Now let's see what happens if Nolasco is skipped and Greinke (G4, G7), Kershaw (G5) and Ryu (G6) all pitch on short rest. Notice the 0.5 RA/9ip penalty applied.

4ShortGreinke3.5
5ShortKershaw2.75
6ShortRyu4
7ShortGreinke3.5
Total13.75

This particular arrangement does not fair too well as you are applying four 0.5 RA/9ip penalties, adding up to 2.0 RA/9ip over four games. Nolasco's projection MUST be very very bad for this option to win out. How bad? I will visit that later.

Now onto the arrangement where Zack Greinke pitches Game #4 on short rest then Nolasco pitches Game #5 and Kershaw and Ryu pitch the last two games on full rest. I call this the "Rearranging The Deck Chairs" option.