The home-road split for Laffey is rather interesting.
The surface/production stats indicate he is a very good pitcher at home and DFA material on the road. The ERA is a full three runs different over his short MLB career, the OPSa goes from .629 to .860, in the same number of innings he's allowed thirty more hits, with the XBH growing at a similar percentage rates (the homeruns moreso). Intriguingly enough though, his strikeouts and walks are not significantly different, at least not to the degree of all the other stats. He has more road strikeouts, and the rate of K/BB is only a .26 difference in the favor of the home side.
As such, his BABIP at home is nearly one-hundred points lower (.345 to .258) than his road BABIP. For whatever reason (maybe someone more familiar with Laffey or the Indians' park situation can illuminate me, he's not exactly my expertise), and it could just be luck, many more balls are falling in on the road than they are in Cleveland.
As for this particular game, I will be interested to see how he performs against a legitimate, top-tier offense. Last year, he played Minnesota (#3 in runs) twice, with one good performance and one bad performance, and Texas (#1 in runs) once, where he got absolutely bombarded. He avoided Boston, the #2 offense. He has shown success against good offenses, but it seems that more aggressive offenses (those with less of a difference between BA and OBP than other teams) have seen success, like Texas, Los Angeles, and Seattle (the three best offensive performances all came from teams who rank higher in BA than they do in OBP in relation to the rest of the American League, at least in 2008
in BA, 11th
in BA, 2nd
in BA, 14th
With that said, it's hardly enough for a correlation and there are some counter examples (like Kansas City, who he schooled in an early start and they were very aggressive)
The problem with analyzing Laffey seems to be small sample size, and all of this could very well even out in a year or two, but he's shown the ability to put seven-strong out there, especially when he's well rested, early in the season. Especially for a team like Boston, whose offense is rather good and patient, and he did have some good games against similar offenses in that sense, but none as good as Boston's is.
I wonder if they'll adopt a slightly more aggressive approach against a guy who doesn't strike out a lot of guys and seems to be rather hittable.
Edited by Fishercat, 06 May 2009 - 11:38 AM.