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I think Berkman's perspective here is one you don't hear often enough.
The normal expectation in clutch situations (which I define as a plate appearance with a Leverage Index of 2.0 or greater) is that performance declines after you account for intentional walks. A player who maintains his established level of performance in said situations is doing better than we should typically expect.
For true believers, a Game 7 would be the ultimate test of an athlete’s ability to elevate in big games. Berkman is not a true believer.
Have you accounted for the fact that closers and specialty relievers are brought in during high-leverage PAs after the 6th inning?
So pitchers should be expected to perform better in clutch situations? Why do you suppose that is?
What percentage of LI>=2 situations occur before the 7th inning? Do we really think hitters feel pressure hitting with the bases loaded in the 3rd, down 2 runs?
It may also be that "late and close" as defined will feature more at bats from the team that's losing, and the team that's losing is likely to be worse.
There is no clutch. Only choke. And those who don't choke appear clutch.
IOW because a home team that wins a close game often doesn't bat in the bottom of their ninth? That might be a small effect, but as AROM notes, these games are close anyway, so they're not games in which one team is playing markedly better than another. Close games are tossups, and there are a lot of them, and both teams look pretty evenly good or bad in them.
Yeah, but what does Lance Berkman know? He's only played in 1800 regular season and 52 postseason games. What's that, as against a bunch of lawyers and stat dorks who insist a postseason AB is just like an AB up 6-0 against the Royals on a Tuesday in May.
This headline put a Huey Lewis song in my head. SCREW YOU, HEADLINE WRITER.
Do you be-LIEVE in life after clutch?
To answer Ray's question earlier: about 1 in 6 PAs with LI >= 2 occur in the first three innings, about 1 in 4 occur in the middle three innings, and about 7 in 12 occur after the sixth.
Actually, people now think of the term as basically, "postseason performance," whether the game is on the line or not. People have really lost their way.
And there's more to clutch / pressure situations than is measured by Leverage Index.
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