Before every game of the ALCS and NLCS, FindTheBest will break down the pitching matchup to see which team has the edge on the mound.
Chen started Game 2 of the ALDS and retired nine of the first 10 Tigers he faced before getting demolished on his second time through Detroit’s righthanded core. The Taiwanese southpaw lasted just two more outs and gave up six more hits and five runs before getting yanked. It was his worst start of the season by Wins Probability Added (-.409), a sharp contrast to his only other postseason start, a Game 2 ALDS win against the Yankees in 2012.
Aside from the heavily righthanded Tigers lineup, it's likely that part of Chen's struggles came as a result of his own ballpark. Oriole Park at Camden Yards hasn't been a friendly place for the lefty, who had a 3.76 ERA at home and a 3.33 mark on the road. Opposing hitters had a .765 OPS against Chen in Baltimore, compared to .690 everywhere else. Chen doesn't have much experience at Kauffman Stadium, with just two starts and 12 2/3 career innings there, but he's given up just four earned runs over that span for a 2.84 ERA.
After a decade in the league — five years of which he spent in Baltimore — Guthrie’s carved out a niche as a replacement-level innings-eater. On Monday, he’ll make his postseason debut against his former team. It’s a little hard to understand Kansas City manager Ned Yost’s faith in Guthrie, considering the veteran’s uninspiring career peripherals (2.6 BB/9, 5.4 K/9). Guthrie should benefit from Chris Davis’ suspension, as he’s been lit up by lefties this year (.297/.348/.480) but effectively limited righthanded hitters (.241/.291/.310).
One thing to keep in mind if Guthrie scuffles: the possibility of lefty Danny Duffy taking over. Duffy, who posted a 2.53 ERA in 31 games (25 starts) this year but has seemingly been left out of the postseason rotation due to control issues, could be the first man out of the bullpen should the veteran Guthrie fall apart in his first postseason start.
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