Mains: How growing pitching staffs flipped interleague play

From SABR member Rob Mains at Baseball Prospectus on August 29, 2018:

Last week, I discussed how the National League is on pace to win interleague play this year for the first time since 2003. I discussed some of the explanations for the American League’s longtime dominance—the presence of the Yankees and Red Sox, the number of perennially weak NL teams, and the designated hitter—and how all of them are, for various reasons, wanting. I also teased that I have a theory for why the NL is catching up.

Here it is: Pitching staffs.

No, not that the NL has better pitchers, though by WARP the top two pitchers in baseball are in the Senior Circuit this year. Rather, it’s the construction of modern pitching staffs. In a non-obvious way, it’s erasing the AL’s advantage.

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Originally published: August 29, 2018. Last Updated: August 29, 2018.