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March 6, 2017

Flu-Like Symptoms

One Not-So-Fine Day

by Rob Mains


Mitchel Lichtman (aka MGL), sabermetrician and co-author of The Book, recently had a post on his blog that I liked a lot for two reasons.

First, he presented some research, came to a conclusion, published, then did some more work, refined his techniques, came to a different conclusion, and published that as well. I’m over-simplifying here, but the point is that in a world in which medical researchers bury results they don’t like and the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Year (post-truth, if you don’t want to click the link) reflects how “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief,” it’s reassuring that our little corner still values the scientific method and full disclosure.

Second, his findings are interesting! His article’s title lays out his research: “What does it mean when a pitcher has a few really bad starts that mess with his ERA?”

We’re all familiar with this kind of thinking. Last July 3, Jon Lester started for Cubs at Citi Field against the Mets. He allowed a home run to Curtis Granderson in the first inning, but things really fell apart for him in the second frame: home run, strikeout, double, home run, walk, double, single, single, wild pitch, single, single. He was pulled, having allowed eight runs, all earned, in one-and-a-third innings.

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<< Previous Article
Rumor Roundup: Taking ... (03/06)
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Premium Article Flu-Like Symptoms: In ... (03/01)
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