Originally Posted by Craig Grebeck
What is the difference between a team who is built to succeedin the postseason and a team who is built for the regular season?
There are more than I care to list, but here are two general differences:
1. You use 5 starters in the regular season, but really rely on only 3 in the post-season. This means you can get by with 5 "pretty good" starters in the regular season. The 2006 Sox are a case in point. Despite all their woes, they're still probably going to win 95+ games, which is a pretty good season. But they have ONE consistent starter, which means a very early playoff exit.
2. During the regular season, you're often facing other teams' 4th and 5th starters, and you also play a lot of weak teams that don't have more than one decent starter. Hitting a poor to mediocre pitcher is not remotely the same as hitting a good starter, but the latter is what you're going to see in the playoffs. It's a hell of a lot harder to slug your way to a win.
Of course, most of the statistical models don't take any of this into account. They think pitching is pitching and hitting is hitting...which is why people often wonder if the people producing these models have ever actually watched a game.