Pleasant 2012 surprises James McDonald and Jake Peavy are among this week's top two-start pitchers.
This is what happens when I trust Clay Buchholz. He faced Miami in back-to-back starts and initially demolished them at home, running his streak to four straight great games (which is why he got the seal of approval as a “start”), but the Fish smashed him for five runs on nine hits in six innings in their rematch. The silver lining is that he managed to get the win since Ricky Nolasco was even worse.
Of the three other AL “starts,” all of whom were relative no-names, it was actually Scott Diamond facing the Pirates in Pittsburgh who did the worst, surprisingly enough. After seven straight starts of three earned runs or fewer, he has allowed four in back-to-back outings against the Phillies and Pirates. Matt Harrisonand Tommy Milone were excellent in their initial starts of the week, including a complete game from Milone.
Quality starts have value, despite the cavils of retrograde thinkers.
Murray Chass is at it again, or perhaps he never stopped. I'm not sure, as I'll admit an aversion to reading the blog of a writer who years ago declared his loathing for the form and its practitioners, but now dwells in that very ghetto himself since being laid off by the New York Times. Chass has made noise twice in recent weeks via missives bemoaning the diminishing primacy of pitcher wins and assailing the so-called "new-age thinking" of anyone who would introduce more modern measures, be they VORP, WAR(P), or quality starts. Even the latter, which was introduced by Philadelphia Inquirer columnist John Lowe back in 1985, is too newfangled for Chass' tastes.
The Yankees look to get back to yet another World Series while the Rangers are in uncharted territory.
From 1996 through 1999, the Joe Torre-led Yankees and the Johnny Oates-piloted Rangers faced off in three American League Division Series, the first three times the latter franchise had ever reached the postseason. The Yankees won nine of those 10 games, holding the Rangers to a lone run apiece in their 1998 and 1999 sweeps. Times have changed, however, and while the Yankee machine has simply kept rolling, racking up four pennants and two world championships while missing the playoffs just once since their last meeting, the Rangers endured a dark decade before reemerging as AL West champions thanks to the shrewd deal making of general manager Jon Daniels and the fruits of their well-stocked farm system.
The managerial decision tree for picking Game Four starters has had a number of offshoots, but how often did they lead to victory?
The present World Series has been notable for the way that both managers, facing rotations that are just a bit shorter than either would like, have struggled with the question of whether to bring back their Game One starters on short rest for Game Four. The managers tested their staffs and came to opposite conclusions: Charlie Manuel, fearful of pushing Cliff Lee too hard despite his terrific start in Game One and seeing that Joe Blanton had pitched relatively well this (and disregarding a poor track record against the Yankees), chose to wait until Game Five for Lee's encore. Joe Girardi, despairing of losing a World Series game with the wild and rarely utilized Chad Gaudin, decided to pitch big CC Sabathia on short rest, a move that paid off in the last round of the playoffs.
The Game One showdown between star southpaws, and tonight's matchup features a recently phoaled Phillie.
In yesterday's chat, Bronx Banter's Alex Belth asked me, "Is there any particular pitching matchup that you are looking forward to in the series?" I responded that the matchup I was most looking forward to was between CC Sabathia and Ryan Howard, particularly given the prospect of the big man pitching three times for the Yankees in a seven-game series, and the slugger's less-than-sterling reputation against southpaws. "I think that matchup will tell us something about what's going to happen over the next four to seven games," I wrote.
Will the Phillies establish a mini-dynasty, or will the Yankees add to their crowded trophy case with another title?
A year ago, the Phillies broke a 28-year-old title drought by winning the World Series, defeating the upstart Rays in five games. After winning 93 games in the regular season and tidily dispatching both the Rockies and the Dodgers in the first two rounds, they're back to defend their crown with a cast that's largely the same, save for summer acquisition Cliff Lee. They're the first NL team to repeat as pennant winners since the 1995-1996 Braves, and if they win the World Series, they'll be they first senior circuit club to do so since the 1975-1976 Reds.
If a team carries 12 pitchers on a post-season roster, is it because they failed to check out their schedule?
Tossing out the Sunday night opener, MLB teams play 162 games over 182 days, with no scheduled doubleheaders and a three-day break in the middle of the season. That means roughly 19 games every 21 days, with some 21-day stretches that include 20 games. There aren't a whole lot of breaks, and as the schedule has evolved over time, with planes replacing trains, and doubleheaders going the way of pullover jerseys and Ladies' Days, player usage has evolved. The five-man rotation is a rational approach to the elongation of the schedule, and while there's a case to be made for the four-man rotation, this adaptation seems to be permanent.
How do starters who throw particularly high pitch-count initial innings perform subsequently?
Delivering to the dish with a 2-2 count, Wandy Rodriguez hit the outside corner with a 91 mph fastball with which Edgar Renteria could do nothing but whiff. This heater happened to be the 55th pitch that Rodriguez threw in the inning on August 1, 2007. While the pitch brought the inning to a close, it simultaneously placed Rodriguez atop a list of the pitchers who had thrown the most pitches in a single inning. Compiled by Retrosheet's David Smith and posted on the Inside the Book blog, the list is composed of the pitchers with the most pitches thrown in an inning from 2004-2007.
I decided to examine the Pitch F/X for Wandy's game. Analyzing the velocity and movement of Rodriguez's fastball, I was surprised to find that his fastball sustained its velocity and "bite" as he went deeper into the inning. However, during the rest of the game things changed a bit. In the second inning, his velocity lost three miles per hour, but his movement increased. It has been theorized before that some pitchers may throw with more movement when they tire due to a dropping of their arm angle; perhaps this happened here, as Wandy lost velocity but threw with more movement.
Popping the hood on King Felix as a demonstration of what's possible with PITCHf/x data
"Hell, yeah, I want to throw that pitch. They don't let me, though. They tell me I'm too young, that it's bad for my elbow. I told them I want to throw it."
--Felix Hernandeztalking about his slider before the 2006 season
Kevin checks out the newsmakers in the winter leagues.
\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.';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_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.';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_19 = 'Support Neutral Lineup-adjusted Value Added (SNVA adjusted for the MLVr of batters faced) per game pitched.';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_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).';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_21 = 'The percentage of double play opportunities turned into actual double plays by a pitcher or hitter.';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_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. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_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).';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_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. ';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_25 = 'Batting average (hitters) or batting average allowed (pitchers).';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_26 = 'Average number of pitches per start.';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_27 = 'Average Pitcher Abuse Points per game started.';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_28 = 'Singles or singles allowed.';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_29 = 'Batting average; hits divided by at-bats.';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_30 = 'Percentage of pitches thrown for balls.';
xxxpxxxxx1160988517_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.