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Jim Furtado
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Editor - Baseball Primer


World Series Newsbeat

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Last Great Call (ESPN)

[bq]What this really was, when you think it through, was the Last Great Umpiring Call (or Calls) of the Pre-Instant Replay Era, the technology which—beginning in 2014—will permeate the lives of every umpire who ever sets foot on a major league field from now on.

Never again will six men in blue work a World Series game, or any other game, knowing there is no replay machine, no technological wizardry, hovering in the background to serve as their safety net.

Never again will there be quite the same pressure on these men to make life-changing, season-defining, history-altering calls in intense, real-time moments.[/bq]

Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 28, 2014 at 03:25 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, obstruction, red sox, umpires, world series

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Interactive World Series Probability Added Chart

With Mr. Cameron’s permissions, I combined FanGraphs’ win probability data with my World Series projections and developed an interactive World Series Probability Chart.

Some insights:
*  David Ortiz was indeed the MVP (with a whopping 0.368 WSPA)
*  But Lester made a pretty compelling case (0.223 WSPA)
*  Johnny Gomes’ Game Four dinger was the biggest play and the turning point (0.165 WSPA)
*  Molina was the Cardinal who contributed the most (0.112 WSPA)
*  The Sox overcame losing nearly 1/4 of their World Series chances when Breslow was on the mound (-0.254 WSPA).

J-Doug Posted: November 07, 2013 at 04:03 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, sabermetrics, world series

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Under Pressure: for World Series umpires failure is seized upon, success is ignored | HardballTalk

A nice piece about Jim Joyce by Craig Calcaterra.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 30, 2013 at 02:17 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: jim joyce, umpires, world series

Reddit helped to kill a tacky Chevy Moment in WS Game 5

Story about how a Chevy Silverado promo scheduled for the third inning of Game 5 was cancelled after a photo of the rehearsal was released on Reddit…and “strong” negative reaction ensued.

pthomas Posted: October 30, 2013 at 01:55 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: boston, world series

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Angell: Papiness

Big Papi continued to astound, with a run-scoring double on his first pitch of the evening, two singles, and a line-drive out. He is batting .733 for the series—as against a cumulative .151 for the rest of the Boston hitters—and now sometimes gives the impression that he is stopping by to play in these little entertainments, in the manner of a dad joining his daughter’s fifth-grade softball game. When he came up to bat once again in the sixth, Cardinals’ starter Adam Wainwright essayed some uncharacteristic little pauses and stutter steps on the mound, trying to throw off that implacable swing. It was like trying to disconcert winter.

MGL on Baseball: And you think that was bad?

Where MGL visits Planet Farrell (nother reason to plunk down “Dizzy Atmosphere”).

Anyway, I’m not going to engage in a lot of hyperbole and rhetoric (yeah, I probably will). It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that not pinch hitting for Lester in that particular spot (runners on 2nd and 3rd, and one out) is going to cost a decent number of fraction of runs. It doesn’t even take a genius, I don’t think, to figure out that that means that it also costs the Red Sox some chance of ultimately winning the game. I’ll explain it like I would to a 6-year-old child. With a pinch hitter, especially Napoli, you are much more likely to score, and if you do, you are likely to score more runs. And if on the average you score more runs that inning with a pinch hitter, you are more likely to win the game, since you only have a 1 run lead and the other team still gets to come to bat 3 more times. Surely, Farrell can figure that part out.

How many runs and how much win expectancy does that cost, on the average? That is pretty easy to figure out. I’ll get to that in a second (spoiler alert: it’s a lot). So that’s the downside. What is the upside? It is two-fold, sort of. One, you get to continue to pitch Lester for another inning or two. I assume that Farrell does not know exactly how much longer he plans on using Lester, but he probably has some idea. Two, you get to rest your bullpen in the 7th and possibly the 8th.

...In order to figure out how much in win expectancy that is going to cost, again, on the average, first we need to multiply that number by the leverage index in that situation. The LI is 1.64.  1.64 times .3 runs divided by 10 is .049 or 4.9%. That is the difference in WE between batting Lester or a pinch hitter. It means that with the pinch hitter, the Red Sox can expect, on the average, to win the game around 5% more often than if Lester hits, everything else being equal. I don’t know whether you can appreciate the enormity of that number. I have been working with these kinds of numbers for over 20 years. If you can’t appreciate it, you will just have to take my word for it that that is a ginormous number when it comes to WE in one game. As I said, I usually consider an egregious error to be worth 1-2%. This is worth almost 5%. That is ridiculous. It’s like someone offering you a brand new Chevy or Mercedes for the same price. And you take the Chevy, if you are John Farrell.

...But, again, we are living on Planet Farrell, so we are conceding that Lester is a great pitcher going into the 7th inning and the third time through the order. (Please don’t tell me how he did that inning. If you do or even think that, you need to leave and never come back. Seriously.)  We are calling him a 3.0 pitcher, around the same as a very good closer.

How bad does a replacement for Lester for 1.5 innings have to be to make up for that .3 runs? Again, we need .2 runs per inning, times 9 innings, or a total of 1.8 runs per 9. So the reliever to replace him would have to be a 4.8 pitcher. That is a replacement pitcher folks, There is no one on either roster who is even close to that.

So there you have it. Like Keith Olbermann’s, Worst person in the world, we have the worst manager in baseball – John Farrell.

Repoz Posted: October 29, 2013 at 06:24 AM | 745 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, world series

Monday, October 28, 2013

It’s in the Cards for Jonny Gomes -

Some good Gammons.

There will not be a thousand New Englanders waiting to be allowed through the gates of the new Busch Stadium Monday night, and there will not be thousands of Cardinal fans along Yawkey Way this week; it’s two, not 86 years since they last won the World Series.
But, as the Bill DeWitt’s Cardinal employees proved in 2004, this is a special franchise, and as close to 40,000 Wednesday sing along with Bob Marley, the Cardinal players will be reminded that, as Matt Holliday says, “there is no place like Fenway Park.” Obstruction, pickoffs, air mails, popups, Matt Adams and Jonny Gomes, this is the unimaginable played out by the two best teams in baseball in the two best baseball towns in America, and as Pedroia constantly reminds us, “one game, one play, one mistake does not define who either of us really is.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 28, 2013 at 01:11 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

It’s a bad time for Mike Matheny to learn on the job. | : Will Leitch

Mike Matheny didn’t back down from his mistake. “[Maness] is a guy that we go to, to get us out of tough spots whenever we’re in question,” Matheny said. “We’ll use him again in that situation.” Maybe Matheny means that. Maybe he’s just protecting his player—being that leader of men. Maybe he learned a lesson on Sunday night; maybe he didn’t. But the real question is whether or not someone should be learning lessons in Game 4 of the World Series in the first place. Mike Matheny is going to be a well-rounded, top-tier manager in the big leagues someday. But the Cardinals need him to be one right now.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 28, 2013 at 01:10 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Tracy Ringolsby: Storylines to watch for in Game 4 of Fall Classic | News

Game 4 stuff from Tracy Ringolsby.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2013 at 06:24 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

Baseball Prospectus | Playoff Prospectus: World Series Game Three Recap (The Call Edition)

This articulates what I believe far better than I have been able to express so far.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2013 at 11:09 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

Peavy: ‘It’s a crying shame… it’s a joke’ - Boston Red Sox Blog - ESPN Boston

I learned a long time ago that life isn’t always fair. Knowing that life isn’t always fair doesn’t mean it’s easy to accept when you are faced with its unfairness.

I’ve watched the game-ending play multiple times. I’ve heard the explanations. If the call is truly a correct interpretation of the rule, I guess fans have no other real choice than to accept it. I don’t see, however, how MLB doesn’t rewrite this rule in the off season because, even as Joe Torre admitted during a post game interview, the end result wasn’t necessarily fair. If as fans we can’t count on the league doing its utmost to make sure the game outcomes are as fair as possible, it’s tough to remain emotionally invested in a game.

“You could kind of tell when he (DeMuth) was pointing to third what he was calling. I hope he rests well tonight in his hotel room knowing what he did. That is a joke, an absolute joke. I’m sorry. Go to talk to him and ask him if he feels good and right about his call to end a World Series game on a diving play… it’s just beyond me.”

Peavy, who gave up two runs and four hits in the first inning but battled back to pitch three scoreless innings following that, vowed, “We’ll bounce back. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow. It’s just too bad.

“You have two great, great baseball teams playing out there, and you had such a great game tonight, that was a phenomenal game tonight, all the way down to the final play. Guys just absolutely pouring their heart out, and for it to end like that… I don’t know how anybody can say, ‘Yeah, that’s how it should have ended.’ Go find me one person that’s OK with that call, other than Cardinals fans, because they won the game.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2013 at 08:08 AM | 293 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

Umpires point to rulebook in explaining World Series game-ending obstruction call | News

Middlebrooks obviously should have teleported himself.

OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.

Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered in the act of fielding a ball. It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the act of fielding the ball. For example: If an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.

[Emphasis added.]

Jim Furtado Posted: October 27, 2013 at 07:16 AM | 81 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Beltran and Red Sox Scout Share World Series Moment

Public-address announcer Henry Mahegan, the voice of Fenway Park, was recognizing the team’s scouts, player-development staff and Minor League coaches in between innings, and Beltran knew his childhood friend Edgar Perez was among those being applauded by the 38,000 fans.

Then, it happened.

“Carlos is looking up at us. I get to the side where he can see me, and he just gives me a wave and a nod,” said Perez, who has been a scout for 16 years. “It was a special moment. Here we are, two kids from little Manati, Puerto Rico, and we’re at the World Series together at the same time. I’ll never forget it.”

Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 26, 2013 at 02:28 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, scout, world series

Friday, October 25, 2013

Craig Breslow’s Playoff Blog

As complicated and complex as this game can be at times, it can also be incredibly simple. If you get a chance to make pitches, you have to make them. And on Thursday, in Game 2 of the World Series, I didn’t…

We were aware that the Cardinals might attempt a double steal when I entered the game. I knew that they had some guys on base that had some speed. I tried to vary my looks, vary my holds, step off the rubber and do what I could to disrupt their timing. But when Pete Kozma took off for third and John Jay went behind him for second, I gave Jarrod Saltalamacchia a pretty tough pitch to handle.

Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:46 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

The baseball fans really are different in St. Louis. | : Howard Megdal Article

I have no problem accepting the idea Cardinals fans may be the most loyal and nicest fans in baseball. I just hope they are the ones dealing with disappointment when this World Series is over.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2013 at 09:43 AM | 127 comment(s)
  Beats: best fans in baseball, cardinals, red sox, world series

Anthony Castrovince: Cardinals’ Carlos Beltran pads postseason legacy |

Understand, though, that modern medicine played its part in Beltran’s unexpectedly electric evening. No, he didn’t rub down his ribs with some of that magic green rosin that apparently helps Jon Lester when he’s sweating like a pig, but Beltran did get a shot of Toradol, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that is an alternative to cortisone. It’s a legal substance not banned by MLB.

“Basically they gave me an injection to kind of block the pain for five hours or six hours,” Beltran said. “I know for sure [Friday] I’m going to feel sore. The good thing is [Friday] I have the day off, and I’ve got the opportunity to get treatment, and hopefully Saturday I feel better than what I feel today.”

Edit: link fixed. Jim.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2013 at 07:53 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

Cardinals’ relief corps confound Red Sox, continue to astound |

Nothing impresses more than rolling out multiple pitchers with high octane gas to close out a win.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2013 at 07:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

Cracks showing as Boston Red Sox head to St. Louis with World Series tied at 1-1 - ESPN Boston

The manic depressive nature of sports reporting. Yesterday, the Sox were tough to beat. Today they are very vulnerable.

The Cardinals left Fenway Park feeling as if they were leading the Series at a game apiece. The Red Sox, perhaps for the first time this October, are the ones showing small cracks ripe for exploitation, most notably by 1) the uncertainty surrounding Clay Buchholz and 2) the first blown late-inning lead of the postseason by the bullpen (the walk-off home run by Tampa Bay’s Jose Lobaton off closer Koji Uehara in Game 3 of the division series came with the score tied), raising the possibility the other guys have a better pen than they do.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2013 at 07:44 AM | 89 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

Final: Cardinals 4, Red Sox 2 - Extra Bases - Red Sox blog

In case you are stuck in a hole with only access to this site…the series is tied.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2013 at 04:55 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, red sox, world series

Thursday, October 24, 2013

LBS: John Lester used Vaseline on his glove?

Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester turned in a phenomenal outing against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday night, but some are accusing him of cheating. Tyler Melling, a pitcher who plays ball in the Cards’ minor league system, posted a photo during the game that has caused some speculation.

Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM | 48 comment(s)
  Beats: john lester, red sox, slippery when wet, world series

Phil Rogers: Series teams live up to defensive metrics in opener

Roll out the Small Sample Hypothesis Test!

As an organization, the St. Louis Cardinals embrace statistical analysis. But when you live by the numbers, sometimes you die by them—or at least by the trends they reveal.

One of the biggest advantages in this seemingly classic, extremely even World Series is that only one of the two teams is really strong in the field—and that’s not the one that was fifth in the Majors in fielding percentage.

These Cardinals aren’t nearly as solid defensively as their old-school numbers say they are, and you only had to watch two innings of Game 1 to see that flaw revealed.

...Shortstop Pete Kozma—who along with catcher Yadier Molina and Beltran, is among the Cards’ top fielders—made two quick errors that helped bury Wainwright. A seventh-inning throwing error by third baseman David Freese kept that inning alive long enough for David Ortiz to blast a two-run homer, and there were at least a couple of other moments—when Wainwright and Molina allowed a popup by Stephen Drew to fall in between them, and a run-scoring grounder by Dustin Pedroia that skipped past Freese on an in-between hop—that illustrated the point that John Dewan, the founder of the Chicago-based “Baseball Info Solutions,” had made before the game.

While the Cardinals’ fielders weren’t often charged with errors during the regular season, they allowed more than their share of balls to fall into gaps and they left too many double plays unturned. And never forget, all pitchers like their double plays turned.

The Red Sox—behind their steady shortstop, Drew, and the outfield tandem of Jacoby Ellsbury and Shane Victorino—have been solid in the field since April. They finished the regular season with 24 defensive runs saved, according to Dewan’s metrics, compared to a minus-39 for the Cards.

...It was a case of the Red Sox making all the plays they were supposed to, plus one or two more. That’s what good defensive teams do, and the Sox have been one all season.

Repoz Posted: October 24, 2013 at 05:47 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: world series

GIF: Umpires overturn blown call at second base in World Series Game 1

With men on first and second and one out in the bottom of the first inning, David Ortiz hit a weak grounder to second base that looked like a potential double play ball. Matt Carpenter flipped to Pete Kozma for the first out ... then this happened:

Second base umpire Dana Demuth called Dustin Pedroia out at second base, saying Kozma bobbled the transfer. Obviously that was not the case. Kozma just flat out missed the ball.

It looked like the Cardinals got a big break, but the umpiring crew got together and talked the play over after an argument by Red Sox manager John Farrell. After a minute or two, the call was overturned and Pedroia was awarded second base. Everyone was safe, as they should have been. It took a few minutes, but bravo for the umpires getting the call right.

Thanks to Doug.

Repoz Posted: October 24, 2013 at 05:31 AM | 62 comment(s)
  Beats: world series

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2013 World Series: ESPN’s expert predictions - ESPN

I should have posted these earlier today. Still, the post is good for reference.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 23, 2013 at 07:52 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, predictions, red sox, world series

Grantland:Rocked—An oral history of the 1989 World Series

Jim Berkland, geologist: I said the World Series quake was coming. I said it would be a 6.5 to 7. I had 6.5 to 7 because that’s what happened in 1865, and the conditions were very similar. I had all of these conjecture-y things: the tides, the whales, the homing pigeons, the hot springs, the geyser. I had all of that. The Mercury News no longer wanted to carry my predictions because they told me they were bad for business. So the Gilroy Dispatch printed it on Friday, the 13th of October.

Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 23, 2013 at 11:44 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: geology, giants, world series

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