STEVE F wrote:One article in the playing tips section stated that in the playoffs you should save your best non-asterisk starter for game 3. I don't understand the logic in that. Could someone elaborate? here is the quote:

"A strategy often overseen, though, for teams whose rotation mostly relies on RELIEVERS , is to have, other things being equal, your best non *SP for the third game, in case your relievers were used for both game 1 and 2. If such a thing happen, then you'll be able to set your best pitcher appropriately for game 3. Furthermore, he will still be available for games 2 and 7 in the Finals. And even if you don't use your best relievers in the first two games, your best starter might give a very beneficial complete game in game 3, so that your relievers get the call for both game 4 and 5. "

Sorry you had to post this question twice, Steve. I will try to answer questions like this when I am able to, if someone else doesn't get to it first.

Answer - this post was written when the semi-finals were best of 5 series. The semi's have been best of 7 series for a while now. But when they were best of 5 series, in order to have a non * SP available for 2 games in the finals (e.g. game 2 and game 7), he had to start no later than game 3 of the best of 5 semi-finals:

Game 3 - Non* SP pitches

Rest days - game 4, game 5, rest day between series, game 1 of finals.

And then the same non* SP pitcher is good to pitch again in game 2 of the finals.

If you had started that good Non* SP pitcher in games 4 or 5 of the best of 5 semi's, then he would not have been available until game 3 or 4 of the finals, and so would be limited to only 1 start in the finals.

This relief pitcher strategy made great sense in a best of 5 series - e.g.:

Games 1 & 2 - lots of good relief pitching

Game 3 - long start by a good non* SP starter, and rest your bullpen so they're fresh for game 4 of semi's

Games 4 & 5 - lots of relief pitching

Rest day

And again your relief pitchers are ready to go for game 1 of the finals.

This strategy is less relevant now that the semi's are a best of 7 series as well. What's interesting about the back-to-back 7 game series is that if you have to use your best non*SP starters in games 6 or 7 of the semi's, then they can only pitch once in the finals - unless you can win the semi's more quickly and avoid either the 6th or 7th game.

If you have a primarily *SP staff, where they can pitch after 3 days rest, then you can have your best *SP start in games 1 and 5 of the semi's, and games 1 and 5 of the finals. Your next best * SP can start in games 2 and 6 of both semi's and finals. Your third best SP* can start in games 3 and 7 of both series. So the back to back 7 game series may influence your choice of starting 4 SP's* for winning playoffs - e.g. maybe 3 strong starters and 1 not so strong, since the 4th starter will likely only start once in each 7 game series.

The original advice could still be relevant if you have a best of 5 series - for example, in the first playoff round in a 24 team league, which is still a best of 5 series. But even then, if your non* SP starts in game 3 of the first playoff series, he will get to start twice in the semi's, but only once in the finals.

In a 24 team league playoff, you basically have to choose whether your non* SP will start twice in the semi's, or twice in the finals, since he can't do both of those things. No matter what, though, he can't start more than 4 times in the entire playoffs. Interestingly, a stud *SP could start 6 times in the playoffs - games 1 and 5 of the quarter final round, and games 3 and 7 of each succeeding round - but only if all series went the maximum games!