AccuScore World Series Game 1 simulation

AccuScore World Series Game 1 simulation
By Yahoo! Sports, courtesy of AccuScore
October 23, 2007

AccuScore has run more than 10,000 simulations for every World Series game for Yahoo! Sports, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions, opponent's abilities, roster moves, weather and more. Each game is simulated one play at a time and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages, player statistics and a variety of game-changing scenarios. Here's their analysis of World Series Game 1 between the Colorado Rockies and Boston Red Sox.

Game 1

Over AccuScore's 10,000 simulations of World Series Game 1, Josh Beckett continues to dominate the competition. He edges out Rockies starters in every major pitching category.

Game 1 Starters IP H R ER BB K HR
Jeff Francis 6.3 7.5 3.9 2.9 2.9 4.4 0.85
Josh Beckett 7.0 6.1 2.7 2.2 1.7 5.1 0.67

With Beckett going at least seven innings, Boston's relievers and closer, Jonathan Papelbon, shut down Colorado in 69 percent of simulations. The average score is Boston 5.7, Colorado 4.0.

Ellsbury over Crisp

AccuScore has been clamoring for the Red Sox to start Jacoby Ellsbury over Coco Crisp. They finally listened, inserting Ellsbury into the lineup and promptly winning American League championship series Games 6 and 7.

Even when both players are playing well, Ellsbury is the better hitter. With Crisp in a slump, we wanted to see how much better Boston would be with Ellsbury starting in center field. Crisp is a fine defensive player, but the Red Sox do not lose anything by starting Ellsbury and saving Crisp as a late-inning defensive replacement.

The positive offensive impact that Ellsbury provides over Crisp is obvious based on the average statistics the players put up in simulations where both were batting in the eighth spot.

Game 1 Simulations AB R H RBI BB K HR
Coco Crisp 3.7 0.4 1.0 0.3 0.3 0.5 0.04
Jacoby Ellsbury 3.7 0.6 1.3 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.10

Boston is a solid favorite in Game 1 with either player, but Ellsbury's hot bat and added power gives the Red Sox an additional five percent edge.

Can Helton turn back the clock?

Most people are happy for Colorado because Todd Helton finally has a chance at winning the World Series. Even at 34, Helton, who batted .320 and drove in 91 runs this season, is a great player. In Game 1 simulations vs. the dominant Josh Beckett, Helton is averaging 0.91 hits in 3.92 at bats for a .232 batting average and has a 7.5 percent chance of hitting a home run.

Helton has always been a great hitter, but he came to prominence eight years ago when he emerged as a true Triple Crown threat, consistently hitting over .330, clobbering 40-plus home runs and driving in 140 RBIs from 1999 to 2001. AccuScore factors in a player's career statistics, but gives weight to what has been done most recently.

What would happen if Helton could turn back the clock? AccuScore ran simulations with Todd Helton's 1999-2001 stats to generate the "younger Todd Helton" playing in simulations vs. Josh Beckett. The younger Helton hit slightly better (.235), but the big benefit is in power, where he has a 23 percent chance of hitting a home run and leads the team in RBIs with 0.6 per simulation. With a retro Helton, the Rockies would still be the underdog, but their chances of pulling off a Game 1 upset would go from 30.3 percent to 35.3 percent.

Boston winning 66.8 percent of World Series simulations

AccuScore simulates each playoff game and the entire playoff series 10,000 times. This season, the team that has won over 50 percent of series simulations won their series with one exception: New York won 51 percent of simulations over Cleveland. AccuScore correctly projected Colorado to upset both Philadelphia and Arizona, but in simulations vs. Boston, the Red Sox ride home-field advantage and the dominant pitching of Josh Beckett to win 66.8 percent of series simulations.

The forecast below is based on the designated starters and was run on data available as of October 23. AccuScore's proprietary algorithm weights each game's data, and as each game is played the simulation winning percentages will change. The simulation winning percentages also will change if the projected starters change.

Game Starters COL BOS
Game 1 Francis vs. Beckett 31.2% 68.8%
Game 2 Jimenez vs. Schilling 35.7% 64.3%
Game 3 Matsuzaka vs. Fogg 52.1% 49.2%
Game 4 Lester vs. Cook 56.3% 43.7%
Game 5 Beckett vs. Francis 45.9% 54.1%
Game 6 Jimenez vs. Schilling 35.7% 64.3%
Game 7 Fogg vs. Matsuzaka 39.0% 61.0%
  WIN SERIES 33.2% 66.8%

Sneak preview for the rest of the series

AccuScore will be using its sports simulation supercomputer to provide a unique perspective on the World Series. Here are a few of the upcoming scenarios we will examine in greater detail:

•  Does Boston need Ortiz's bat in Colorado? Are they better off inserting Ortiz's bat even if it means benching Kevin Youkilis at first base?

•  Colorado's September run started after starting center fielder Willy Tavares was injured and Ryan Spilborghs took over the position. Should the Rockies go back to that lineup?

•  How short a leash should Terry Francona have for Dice-K and likely Game 4 starter, Jon Lester? Should he pull them after four innings no matter what?

•  Should the Rockies intentionally walk Manny every time he's at bat, even if no one is on base?

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Updated on Tuesday, Oct 23, 2007 4:44 pm, EDT

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