December 12, 2013
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Friday, September 18, 2009
And That HappenedRoyals 9, Tigers 2: Five shutout innings by Greinke lowers his ERA to 2.14. No starter has been that low to finish the season since Clemens in 2005. No non-jackass starter has had one that low since Pedro in 2000. Someone please explain to me again the basis for not giving this man the Cy Young award.
Reds 3, Marlins 2: A first inning Darnell McDonald homer and a bases loaded single by Jay Bruce held up all night. Random game story goodness: "Reds RHP Aaron Harang bought a souped-up golf cart as a gift to clubhouse attendants, to help them transport equipment and players around the ballpark." Word on the street is that it's got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it's got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks and it's a model made before catalytic converters so it'll run good on regular gas.
Brewers 7, Cubs 4: Prince Fielder hit a triple to lead off the fifth. I'm as shocked as you are, but it's not like this sort of thing wasn't predicted. Note: scroll down to read the lefthand column before reading the portion that appears at the top of the page.
Angels 4, Red Sox 3: Brian Fuentes bounces back and holds the lead in the ninth after his compadres break a tie in the top of the ninth. I guess the umps were timid or scared last night like they were on Wednesday.
Rays 3, Orioles 0: Wade Davis was destroyed by the Red Sox in his second career start, but dismantled Baltimore in his third (CG SHO 4 H 10K). He three 124 pitches, but struck out the side in the ninth, so either he wasn't tired of the Orioles gave the hell up.
Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Cole Hamels was perfect into the sixth inning and finished with ten strikeouts and one earned run over eight innings. Manuel allowed Lidge to pitch in a save situation. He got the save, but still gave up a run on a triple and a fielder's choice. If the Phillies bats are alive in the playoffs they're my choice to win the NL. If they play a lot of close games that are decided late, well, forget it.
Mariners 4, White Sox 3: Jon Danks only gave up one run over eight innings, but ended up getting hosed out of the win after this baby went 14. A 14 inning game, by the way, that was eight minutes shorter than Wednesday night's nine-inning Red Sox-Angels affair.
Braves 7, Mets 3: The Braves have won seven straight. The Mets have lost nine of their last 10. These are things that will keep me warm all winter even in the very likely event that the Braves fall short of the playoffs.
Athletics 5, Indians 2: "We're going through a tough stretch right now," Indians manager Eric Wedge said after the game. We know. It began in early April.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 5:35am
Michael Caragliano said...
Not to nit-pick, but considering what Pedro was like with the Sox, and what Kevin Brown was like with… well, everybody, wouldn’t the last non-jackass starter before Greinke be Greg Maddux in ‘95?
Posted 09/18 at 07:08 AM
Wooden U. Lykteneau said...
What would that be, exactly, besides win 117 games, two Cy Young Awards, four ERA titles, three strikeout titles, four All-Star appearances and a World Series title?
Posted 09/18 at 07:41 AM
Joe Distelheim said...
How, in the name of Cap Anson, did you find an 1884 New York Times article on weight’s relationship to movement on the spur of a boxscore? Now, that’s sportswriting!
Posted 09/18 at 08:20 AM
Craig Calcaterra said...
If I give away my secrets y’all will be writing your own recaps every day. I can’t have that.
Posted 09/18 at 08:23 AM
John Willumsen said...
I don’t think I’ve ever read a 19th century NYTimes article before, and I suppose that I was vaguely conscious of the fact that articles would be written in that style, but honestly it’s kind of mind-boggling how stark the difference is between then and now. Yes, I realize 1884 was a LONG time ago, that the century and a quarter that have passed probably brought more changes than any other equivalent time period in the history of humanity, but it’s the realization that the Times represents one continuous entity throughout this time frame that’s so…well trippy for lack of a better word. Also, clicking through from a blog to an electronic version of an article written in 1884 is quite the trip in and of itself. Maybe I’m taking this too far, but frankly I think it’s a heck of a lot more interesting to think about than the A’s and the Indians right now.
Posted 09/18 at 08:31 AM
Wooden-I think Michael was inferring that Pedro was a jackass when he pitched for Boston. A very good jackass, but a jackass nonetheless. He had the best control in the league but somehow was always in the league leaders in hit batters. It was nothing about performance, all about attitude and decorum.
Posted 09/18 at 08:32 AM
Will someone please give a substantive arguement denying Greinke the Cy? I’m just curious as to what tenet(s) would support such an arguement outside of an emotional one.
Where are the downsides for his consideration? Please help - I’m equally baffled.
Have a great Friday everybody.
Posted 09/18 at 08:34 AM
So what you’re saying is The Old Gray Lady predicted Prince Fielder rollerblading 125 years ago? Where is Tyler, snoozing on this scoop? Maybe pondering how to work “apoplexy and deliquescence” into the report for a bad inning for CC.
Posted 09/18 at 08:35 AM
Steve C said...
Pedro was (is?) a great pitcher, but he was certainly full of himself. I’m not so sure Maddux is the guy either, he did enjoy taking a piss on rookies in the shower.
I think Soccia just likes getting his pitchers big save totals. The better reliever Jespen was moving right along through the sox order, gives up ine hit and he goes to the “closer”.
Posted 09/18 at 09:19 AM
Wooden U. Lykteneau said...
@Jeff - I guess that would make sense… if it were true:
1998 Rolando Arrojo 19 (8)
Posted 09/18 at 09:23 AM
@Wade - I’ve only heard two arguments against giving the Cy to Greinke. The first is he doesn’t have as many wins as some people would like. The second, adroitly (?) espoused by Harold Reynolds on MLB Network last night, is he isn’t doing it in AL East.
Now, I don’t know that either of these are the “substantive” argument you wanted to hear, but there you go. The wins argument has already been debated to death and, we hope, debunked. But the second argument in particular is amazingly ridiculous in that it implies that all AL pitchers are to be discounted unless they pitch in the AL East, and really funny considering that no AL Cy Young winner has come from that division since 2003.
Posted 09/18 at 09:45 AM
@Wade, @ecp - I think the wins argument is the one that will be made. When was the last time a Cy Young award winner only had 14 wins (strike years and relievers not included). I’m not saying it’s a good argument, just that it’s the argument.
As for the whole AL East thing, does that mean that they simply should not have an NL MVP/Cy Young/RoY since none of them play in the only division that the Eastern Seaboard Programming Network knows about?
And lets be honest, when some moron says “AL East” he reall means “Boston and New York.” Those pinheads believe Tampa was a fluke and Toronto and Baltimore haven’t been real teams for a decade, which is longer than they can remember anyway. There are some really good baseball games that start after 7PM eastern time. Games that have some pitching and don’t average 4 hours. They should try watching it sometimes.
Posted 09/18 at 10:02 AM
Michael Caragliano said...
Thanks, Jeff- couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ll be the first to say he earned the MVP in ‘99 and got screwed out of it, and he’s a first ballot HOF’er but, as a Mets fan, I’ll also be the first to admit how his “immaturity” in ‘04 suddenly turned “refreshing” in ‘05. Since seeing Gooden in ‘85, he the guy I’d give the ball to in a must-win game, but the “drill Babe Ruth in the ass” swagger was over the top.
BTW, if Maddux now qualifies as borderline jack-ass, does that mean we have to do a credit check on Billy Swift next?
Posted 09/18 at 10:10 AM
Jack Marshall said...
The wins argument will prevail, and Greinke will be denied. In this case, that’s clearly wrong; in general, I think if the current trend in sabermetrics reasoning continues, some pitcher in 2012 will be awarded the Cy with a 9-16 record and a 4.85 ERA, because the “really significant” stats show that he pitched great but was unlucky, the zone ratings of his fielders were bad,and the main competition, Dice-K Matsusaka, had “lousy stats” despite his 20-11 record and 2.89 ERA. Yes, my head is still spinning from being told in no uncertain terms that despite the evidence of eyes, John Smoltz just pitched great for Boston.
Bottom line results DO matter, should matter and have to be not just part of a pitcher’s evaluation, but a key part.
Posted 09/18 at 10:24 AM
Kevin S. said...
Isn’t there something in ethics about not setting up strawman arguments, then attacking that strawman as if it was an argument? Or is that brand of bullshit only reserved for long-winded douchebaggery moralizing about how Barry Bonds ruined America, or whatever the #### it is you spouted. People didn’t say Smoltz was great for Boston, they said he was better than his ERA indicated. You eventually agreed on that point, if memory serves.
Posted 09/18 at 10:39 AM
APBA Guy said...
@ Jack- You and I are on the same side of the Smoltz argument, although I seem to be the only one who believes Holliday was dogging it while he was with the the A’s.
They are a different team without Holliday and Giambi. Now 7-2 in their last 9, people in the East Bay are talking (hallucinating?) about the A’s finishing at .500. To do that, they have to close the season at 13-3, meaning a 20-5 streak over their last 25.
Considering they play the Indians again for 3, then host the now moribund Rangers for 3, they could make a good run. But every time I think it would be fun if they could do something like 20-5, I remember Gio Gonzalez has to start for them again and the dream vanishes.
BTW, their can be no doubt that Greinke is the Cy Young. His performance is almost in defiance of how bad the Royals are.
And Craig, Blues Brothers references are always welcome.
Posted 09/18 at 10:48 AM
Jack Marshall said...
Kevin…no straw man argument. I mean it—-I have read many comments from posters like you arguing that Dice-K had a lousy season last year, despite his W-L and ERA. I read people here say that Smoltz was pitching the same in Boston as in St. Louis, despite the obvious ERA and OBA discrepancy. There is a trend in sabermetrics to go beyond “wins and losses aren’t everything” to “wins and losses mean nothing.” And I think when it comes to a starter with a losing record getting the Cy Young, as it will if these people win the day, the Cy Young won’t be a coherent award any more.
Posted 09/18 at 11:04 AM
Unless being hit by a batted ball affects his performance, it’s plausable that Greinke could finish the year with 17 wins. That might be enough.
Posted 09/18 at 11:35 AM
Kevin S. said...
Slight distinction - I called your missive against Barry Bonds (the one Keith Law picked up on, not sure if there were others) douchebaggery; I’m sure you’re quite the upstanding fellow, and in no way a douchebag (other than, you know, being a Red Sox fan).
Now that we’ve got the assorted insults and past grievances aired and out of the way, let’s get down to the meat of the relevant discussion - whether or not “superficial” statistics such as wins/losses and ERA (superficial in the sense that they don’t measure underlying performance, no negative connotation implied) should even be considered when determining the CYA. Starting with wins and losses, my position is unequivocally no. Wins and losses are an indicator of the cumulative performance of the offense, defense, and pitching in an arbitrary set of baseball games; in our case, we are concerned with the subset of games in which a given pitcher receives a decision. Zack Greinke’s 14-8 record tells you absolutely nothing at all about how well he’s pitched. Dan Haren has an identical record, matched with a quite excellent (but not otherworldly) performance. Derek Lowe is just a smidge off, at 14-9, and he’s got an ERA+ of 92. W/L tells us these three pitchers have been very similar this year, while nothing could be further from the truth. Greinke’s and Haren’s records have been quite negatively impacted by the other factors on their team, while Lowe has been aided by them.
Now, given that we’ve shown that W/L records don’t tell us very much about a pitcher, is your hypothetical 9-16 pitcher excluded from greatness? On a truly morbid team, no. Looking at Zack Greinke’s game log, we find 21 starts where he gave up at least one run, making him eligible to take a loss. We also find only three games where he pitched a complete game shutout, where the bullpen couldn’t possibly screw him out of a win. Therefore, it is theoretically possible, however unlikely, that Greinke could have turned in his exact same performance this year and posted a 9-16 record, just by making the offense and bullpen more putrid. Thus, I submit that W/L should be summarily ignored, as they are but a bad proxy for pitching awesomeness, and said awesomeness can be easily assessed with other stats. I’ll address ERA in the next post, as it’s a bit tricky.
Posted 09/18 at 11:51 AM
Jack Marshall said...
Well, good—-I’m glad you articulated that position—-which is reductio ad absurdum, and you apparently don’t even know it. Pitching isn’t just art; it’s a utilitarian job. The job is to win games for one’s team. To suggest that a pitcher whose net results of participation in his team’s games is negative—-that is, his team lost more than it won in his starts—-could be named a league’s outstanding pitcher reaffirms my slowly solidifying theory that a disturbing number of analysts no longer can distinguish Fantasy Baseball from the real thing. Success, measured by wins and losses, has to be a substantial qualification for the Cy Young. We don’t award championships based on Pythagorean expected win totals and strength of competition, though who knows, maybe you’d like that too. The “best” pitcher cannot be a losing pitcher. Sometimes conventional wisdom is right.
[Oh—-I was just giving you a hard time, Kevin—-I really AM a douchebag!]
Posted 09/18 at 12:11 PM