September 23, 2021

Rotation Matchups in the 2019 World Series Defy 2019 Pitching Trends (Baseball Essential)

Bullpenning, or a severe reliance on bullpens, has become the prevalent way to construct a pitching staff in 2019. Then the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals decided to go to the World Series with premier starting pitching.

Whether it be the Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, or any other team, it has become a frequent occurrence to see a team use an opener or take starters out of games earlier than in previous decades. While the Astros and Nationals have each used an opener and utilized their bullpens in crafty ways this season, they got to the Fall Classic on the shoulders of their prolific starting rotations.

And it’s not like they have rotations with pitchers who have pitched well. Their rotations are made up of starters who are potential and, in some cases, likely Hall of Famers.

The Astros starting rotation is headlined by Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke. All three starters were acquired via trade and have pitched at ace-caliber levels.

One could argue that Verlander has never been more dominant than he is right now. He has an overpowering fastball, gets hitters to wave at his curveball, and pitches deep into games. One could…

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