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October 5, 2006 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Division Series, Day Two

0

Joe Sheehan

The Play is the talk of the water coolers, but plenty of other things happened on an abbreviated second day.

\nMathematically, leverage is based on the win expectancy work done by Keith Woolner in BP 2005, and is defined as the change in the probability of winning the game from scoring (or allowing) one additional run in the current game situation divided by the change in probability from scoring\n(or allowing) one run at the start of the game.'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_18 = 'Adjusted Pitcher Wins. Thorn and Palmers method for calculating a starters value in wins. Included for comparison with SNVA. APW values here calculated using runs instead of earned runs.'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_20 = 'The number of double play opportunities (defined as less than two outs with runner(s) on first, first and second, or first second and third).'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_22 = 'Winning percentage. For teams, Win% is determined by dividing wins by games played. For pitchers, Win% is determined by dividing wins by total decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_23 = 'Expected winning percentage for the pitcher, based on how often\na pitcher with the same innings pitched and runs allowed in each individual\ngame earned a win or loss historically in the modern era (1972-present).'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_24 = 'Attrition Rate is the percent chance that a hitters plate appearances or a pitchers opposing batters faced will decrease by at least 50% relative to his Baseline playing time forecast. Although it is generally a good indicator of the risk of injury, Attrition Rate will also capture seasons in which his playing time decreases due to poor performance or managerial decisions. '; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.'; xxxpxxxxx1160071649_31 = 'The Baseline forecast, although it does not appear here, is a crucial intermediate step in creating a players forecast. The Baseline developed based on the players previous three seasons of performance. Both major league and (translated) minor league performances are considered.

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September 30, 2006 12:00 am

Kissing Your Sister

0

Clay Davenport

Clay factors in the MLB tiebreaker rules to make the Postseason Odds Report more accurate.

Since the code doesn't handle it, I will. These numbers are through Friday's games, and are based on the regular Postseason Odds Report only.

In the American League Central, the model left the Tigers and Twins tied in 377,115 of the million runs. Since this is a tie for both the division title and for the wild card, league rules say that there will be no playoff game, but that whichever team won the most games in head-to-head play will be called the division champion. The Tigers won the season series, 11 games to eight, so they should be called the champions in all of those tied series, not half of them. Net result: the Tigers chances of winning the division increase from 59.90315 to 78.7589, and the Twins chances fall from 40.09685 to 21.2411.

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October 29, 2004 12:00 am

Sox Blox

0

Jim Baker

Jim Baker puts Boston's World Series in historical perspective, while making the first-ever comparison of Manny Ramirez to a Marx Brother.

The Red Sox' role as proxy for the world's Yankee haters has now been completed. What will follow next should prove interesting. Once the smoke clears and the 2005 season gets underway, the Red Sox will find they have lost their cuteness factor. The Darlings of the Long Drought will discover that they are now in the sights of the rest of baseball as the Junior Evil Empire--the team with the second-highest payroll in baseball. When they storm into secondary cities with their ever-increasing fan base in the van, the locals are going to have a hard time discerning the difference between them and the Yankees. This will become especially true if they can cook up a mini-dynasty, something they have the financial and intellectual resources to accomplish.

Most One-Sided Series?

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I was at Safeco Field on Tuesday, watching a fast-moving game that was on pace to wrap up 3-2 Mariners in about two and a half hours, and ended up with one of the longest, craziest games I've ever attended. I scored this game. I've been working on an article about scoring and finding a good card to match your style, and thought I'd finally settled on one. This game, of course, became the torture-test for a scorecard:

The last great extra-innings game I'd been to was Blue Jays at Mets, at Shea, June 9th, 1999, a 14-inning marathon I enjoyed a lot. That one took four hours, 35 minutes. I blame Bobby Valentine, who failed to pinch-hit for Rey Ordonez over and over when it could have won him the game. It was a great time, though. I got to see the game with Melissa Hughes, who wrote some good baseball articles for a while (including some good and scary ones on baseball groupies and the Web sites of the adoring fan) and then quit writing about baseball.

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October 23, 2003 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Game Four

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Joe Sheehan

Dear Aaron Boone: It was a home run, not diplomatic immunity. Love, Joe Boone, whose Game Seven home run won the ALCS and sent the Yankees to the World Series, has been swinging at pitches he has no hope of hitting ever since then. I looked it up, expecting to see that Boone has taken about four pitches in the World Series. It turns out that he'd actually let 25 baseballs go by in the first three games, just shy of half of the 51 pitches he'd seen. He's pushed counts to 3-2 in a number of at-bats, so it's hard to make the argument that he's not being patient enough. That said, he was horrific last night. The Yankees' three biggest chances to win the game landed in his lap, and he approached his at-bats as if it were fifth-grade gym class or a co-ed softball league with some goofy rules like "swing or you're out." Against Carl Pavano in the second inning, with the bases loaded, one out and the Yankees down 3-0, Boone swung at the only two pitches he saw and flied to center field on the second one. Sacrifice flies down three runs with the pitcher coming up arenít team baseball, they're a lifeline for the opposition. Boone got another chance in the ninth, after Ruben Sierra's triple tied the game. Boone again went up hacking, fouling off the first and third pitches he saw to fall behind 1-2, then grounding out weakly to shortstop after two more foul balls. Finally, in the 11th inning, Boone again batted with the bases loaded and one out. And just as he had against Pavano and Ugueth Urbina, he made Braden Looper's job easy by hacking at fastballs up and in, pitches he doesn't have the bat speed to hit. Boone swung at six of the seven pitches he saw, looked completely overmatched, and struck out. Three at-bats, two pitches taken out of 15 seen, three times falling behind in the count, three outs. Boone needed to have a solid approach last night, and his mental effort was completely lacking, leading to wild swings that gave the pitchers all the leverage they needed to get out of jail.

Maybe not.

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With three weeks left in the season, itís the most wide-open playoff race in years. Half of the franchises in Major League Baseball are within three games of a playoff spot, and fans in places as unlikely as Kansas City, Miami, and the north side of Chicago are starting sentences with "If the postseason started today." Of course, having so many teams in contention leads to lots of questions. What if the Yankees and Red Sox end up tied for the AL East lead? What if they have the same record as the Mariners? What if the Cubs, Cardinals and Astros end up tied for the NL Central lead? What if five teams tie for the Wild Card? Inquiring minds want to know. Many of these questions can be answered by reading through the playoff tie-breaker scenarios that Major League Baseball used to have on its Web site, but those rules have a couple of serious flaws: 1. Understanding them is about as easy as filling out a 1040 long form. 2. Major League Baseball has changed them, but hasn't told anyone yet. Using the most current information from MLB, here are the possibilities. Additional reporting was conducted to fill in some of the gaps MLB left out.

Of course, having so many teams in contention leads to lots of questions. What if the Yankees and Red Sox end up tied for the AL East lead? What if they have the same record as the Mariners? What if the Cubs, Cardinals and Astros end up tied for the NL Central lead? What if five teams tie for the Wild Card? Inquiring minds want to know.

Many of these questions can be answered by reading through the playoff tie-breaker scenarios that Major League Baseball used to have on its Web site, but those rules have a couple of serious flaws:

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As we chronicled in Baseball Prospectus 2000, the current thinking on how to build and run a major-league bullpen may be changing. For 20 years, teams have used their "closer"--a term originally used to designate a team's best reliever--more and more exclusively in what we call "save situations:" the ninth inning with a lead of one to three runs. Implicit in this thinking is that the most important situations are the ones that qualify a reliever for a save if he does his job.

Over time, the design of the save rule led teams to use their best reliever to pitch exclusively in save situations, presuming that those situations are the ones in which a top reliever will do his team the most good by guaranteeing victory in a close game.

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