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Say you have 2 pitchers who had the same RA9 in a season, but pitcher A had a 1.00 ERA in shutdown innings and pitcher B had a 4.00 ERA. Which pitcher likely had the best season in terms of wins and which pitcher likely benefited his team the most?
I may be missing something, but it seems obvious to me that MGL is right: when you are in a silly "shutdown inning," you know your offense has just scored. So it's more likely that your team will be able to sustain run(s) allowed by you during the shutdown inning.
Haven't RTFA, but I believe pitcher B is more valuable. Preventing runs has more value in a lower run environment. Absent all other information, the fact that your team just scored implies a higher run environment than if they didn't score.
So it's more likely that your team will be able to sustain run(s) allowed by you during the shutdown inning.
If your team puts up a four-spot, and you give one or two right back, you're still in great shape, ceteris paribus.
I'm pretty sure John Smoltz has forgotten more about baseball than MGL will ever know
I'm pretty sure John Smoltz has forgotten more about baseball than MGL will ever know.
I think the tone of the piece could be a little more respectful
even you have to admit that mgl's obsession with 'just the stats' leaves unaddressed a problem here with 'what do players think'. It may be that players feel better about their chances of winning the game if the opponents are actually shut down during the shut-down inning. And it may be that optimistic players win more games than pessimistic ones. Do we have research for that?
Joe Morgan used to emphasize the importance of shut-down innings when he did ESPN games too. The concept has been around a long time and players have really believed in its importance.
I should probably look on J-Stor and such for studies of sports psychology myself. But I won't be able to do so today.
I don't think it leaves players' feelings "unaddressed," I think it assumes their feelings rarely matter.
With players' feelings, we have nothing but weak proxies. If you can't sufficiently test something, should you assume anything based on insufficient tests? Or should it be considered unaddressed? Definitely the latter. So, if you want to say there's no measureable evidence for Smoltz's suggestion, that's fine; but if the problem is that we can't accurately measure, we can't conclude it's true or untrue. It's simply unaddressed.
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