Yesterday, I took a look at an idea that will probably never happen -- lineup optimization by wOBA. Today, I wanted to explore another out-of-the-box idea dealing with the Wild Card play-in game and the starting pitcher.
The new wrinkle this year with a 1 game play-in game to determine which team gets to go further in the playoffs presents a huge conundrum to a manager: Do you pitch your staff ace in the play-in game or save him for the start of the true playoff series? The kicker is that if you save your ace for the start of the traditional playoff series, you risk not even getting to that point if your nominal 2nd best starter doesn't do well.
For a team like the Phillies, this isn't really much of a problem. They have Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels to mix and match. Same with the Giants and Nationals (although losing Strasburg to his shutdown will sting). But the Pirates are a different case.
If the Pirates were to make the Wild Card play-in game, A.J. Burnett woul...