May 25, 2013
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Thursday, May 10, 2012
Meanwhile on Twitter, CJ Nitkkowski got my attention by calling THT a "nerd blog" and belittling Tom Tango's analysis that Mariano Rivera is worth about two wins a year to the Yankees. CJ's blog response was a lot more reasonable (another reason to dislike Twitter) and made the point that the loss of Rivera brings down the relative effectiveness of the rest of the bullpen. He also feels that the loss of Rivera is unquantifiable.
But here's the thing. Mariano Rivera is being paid $15 million this year. Let's say that the average free agent will be paid around $6 million to $7 million a win in 2012. Let's take the high end of the range, cause wins are worth more in New York. Doesn't this mean that the Yankees are paying Mo for two wins a year? Isn't this a quantity? Why wasn't CJ complaining about Rivera's contract before the injury?
Part of the answer lies in the short-term and long-term impacts of losing a reliever like Mo. Presumably, CJ is taking the short-term view; contracts (Mo's was for two years) take the longer view. But still...isn't there a disconnect here? Mo's salary reinforces Tango's point. As the season progresses, two wins will be the correct standard.
On Aug. 1, 1965, the Detroit Tigers went to Comiskey Park to play the White Sox in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader. In a close battle, the Pale Hose emerged victorious in a 1-0 battle, scoring a run in the second and holding the lead. Detroit was held to three hits, had only one walk, and struck out five times, while Chicago had six hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Detroit left four men on base, Chicago three.
Just another game? Well, yes, but consider this. On Aug. 25, 1975, Detroit went to Texas and a very odd thing happened. The Tigers lost 1-0 on a Texas run in the bottom of the second. They had three hits with one walk and five strikeouts while the Rangers had six hits, one walk and four strikeouts. Once again, Detroit left four men on base, the opponent three.
Using the Retrosheet game log database, these are the two most similar games in major league history. They are the only games with identical run lines, hits, walks, and strikeouts for both teams. So for anybody who says that one baseball game is pretty much like another, point out that of the almost 170,000 games for which we have line scores, they’re all different. Unless you’re a devout Tigers fan… then you’ll remember a game in August that was suspiciously similar to one about 10 years earlier.
Here are the box scores of these two games:
Even with games this similar, however, there are some differences. One was a day game; one was a night game. Left on base totals were the same, even though I didn’t match on this, but there were two errors in the later game, with none in the previous game. Both winning pitchers pitched complete game shutouts, but in the first game Detroit used a reliever for one inning. The most memorable difference is that Detroit turned a triple play in 1965. There were three double plays in the 1975 game, but none in 1965. The other memorable similarity? Willie Horton batted cleanup in both games (DHing in the second, an impossibility in 1965) and was 0-for-4 both times.
Clearly one could make other similar games by matching on other things which were different in this game: at-bats and errors, for example. But this is my nominee for the two most similar games in baseball history.
Mets 10, Phillies 5: Cliff Lee was OK in his return, but he was on a pitch count and the bullpen -- including reverted-to-longman-work Kyle Kendrick -- got shellacked. Again. Ike Davis drove in three. The Mets so thoroughly own Citizens Bank Park this year that the Phillies are gonna have to launch some awkward take-back-the-park initiative pretty soon. Philly-a-tude! Phillies-o-rama! Phillandia!
Rays 4, Yankees 1: Welcome to what everyone else has had to deal with forever, Yankees fans: shaky bullpen work. Granted a 1-0 lead isn't the easiest thing to protect, but David Robertson left little doubt about whether this one was going to be blown, giving up four runs.
Rockies 6, Padres 2: Left-hander Christian Friedrich pitched six solid innings and .... wait. Sorry, I can't continue this one. I need to clear something up. [dials the Rockies clubhouse]
Me: Mr Freed-rich ...
Christian Friedrich: "Fredrick"
Me: You're putting me on.
Christian Friedrich: No, it's pronounced "Fredrick"
Me: Do you also say "Christ-Ean"?
Christian Friedrich: No... "Christian."
Me: Well, why isn't it "Christ-Ean Frederick?"?
Christian Friedrich: It isn't; it's "Christian Frederick."
Me: I see.
Christian Friedrich: You must be Craig.
Me: No, it's pronounced "Cray-ag."
Christian Friedrich: But they told me it was "Craig."
Me: Well, they were wrong then, weren't they?
Pirates 4, Nationals 2: Erik Bedard left with an injury after one inning but the Pirates didn't miss a beat: five guys combined to pitch eight innings of two-run ball and Andrew McCutchen went 4 for 4. Bryce Harper went 0 for 4, but he did catch a Pedro Alvarez fly near the wall and then turned around with the ball in his glove and taunted Pirates fans with it, and that's pretty effin' solid. As a tremendous fan of Ric Flair and Tully Blanchard, I can't tell you how happy I am to have a heel in Major League Baseball right now.
Reds 2, Brewers 1: Hit this one up yesterday. Zack Greinke's bad luck and lack of support has to remind him of his days back in Kansas City.
Blue Jays 5, Athletics 2: Adam Lind was moved down to eighth in the order. Must not have liked it because he hit a homer. Brandon Morrow struck out ten.
Cubs 1, Braves 0: A two hour and five minute game on getaway day. I have no idea if this is common for the Cubs, but I am shocked -- shocked! -- that the Braves went down quietly while a plane waited for them at the airport.
White Sox 8, Indians 1: Jake Peavy (7 IP, 7 H, 1 ER) and Adam Dunn (1 for 3, HR, BB, 2RBI) continue to carry this team.
Angels 6, Twins 2: Mike Trout had a couple of doubles and a couple of RBI. Albert Pujols singled in a couple of runs. I've been telling people for a while that I'll feel way better about Pujols being back on track if he starts to simply hit a bit -- singles count -- as opposed to us watching the home run totals as if they mean everything.
Royals 4, Red Sox 3: Two of the Royals runs were unearned thanks to a Marlon Byrd error. Bruce Chen gave up three runs while pitching into the seventh. Adrian Gonzalez had a bases-clearing double. The Sox have lost seven of eight. Those games were against Oakland, Baltimore and Kansas City. Which, sure, they're all playing decent ball, but no, they were not supposed to be abusing the Boston Red Sox.
Marlins 5, Astros 3: I fell asleep before this one ended and I set ATH to post this morning before I woke up. In the meantime, Old Gator supplied a pithy recap that will suit our purposes just fine:
The Feesh took down the Astros 5-3 in extra eenings last night, playing beyond Craig's bedtime when he wore himself out trying to button the rear hatch on his Pooh pajamas after having already put them on ... Josh Johnson peetched seven pretty solid innings, thank Buddha, giving up just two runs and looking, if not like the dominant monster he was early last season, at least a lot less like the batting practice machine he has been in most of his starts. Probably Slobbering Ozzie had noticed something about his motion, and Josh discovered the flaw while he was trying to figure out what Ozzie had said to him in the first place. Omar Infante got Ryan Webb back the two runs he gave away for him the night before with a walkoff seengle in the twelfth.
Dodgers 6, Giants 2: Lincecum looked good for three innings and then hit a wall in the fourth, giving up a bases-clearing triple to Tony Gwynn Jr. In other news, I don't care if he plays 15 years, I will still have trouble getting my mind around the fact that Tony Gwynn's son is playing major league baseball. I never have this trouble with other kids of major leaguers, but for some reason it just doesn't match up for me with Gwynn, who no matter his age, shape or infirmity, I am convinced stopped playing baseball only a year or two ago.
Cardinals 7, Diamondbacks 2: Arizona is skidding, St. Louis is surging. Close until the ninth when Matt Holliday drove in two with a double and Allen Craig hit a two-run bomb.
Mariners 2, Tigers 1: John Jaso drove in the go-ahead late after Jason Vargas allowed one run over eight innings. Detroit is a .500 team on May 10th. No one saw that coming.
Rangers vs. Orioles: POSTPONED: Pfft. As if Josh Hamilton isn't powerful enough to have just stopped the rain with his bat and his determination. Weak sauce, Hamilton.