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Thursday, February 20, 2014

James: Big Game Pitchers (Registration Required)

Didn’t get to this right away, but hey, most of these guys pitched a while ago ;-)

Bill James recently did a 10-part series (behind his paywall) on “big game pitchers”.  He came up (in Part II) with a system “to assign ‘Big Game Points’ to every major league regular-season game played since 1952”.  Part III explains that 7.7% of regular season games end up getting designated as “Big Games”, in addition to all postseason games.

James then discusses:

  • Part IV: Who started the most and fewest regular-season Big Games?  (Andy Pettitte edges out Roger Clemens and Jim Palmer for the top spot, 82 to 81.  Zach Duke’s 169 career starts is the most of any pitcher who never started a Big Game.)

  • Part V: Who was better/worse/what you would expect in Big Games?

    • James says of his contention in The Politics of Glory that Don Drysdale wasn’t good in Big Games, “I was wrong, and I apologize.”

    • The 10 worst Big Game pitchers ever (“these are the guys to whom I may owe an apology the next time I write about this, if additional research undermines what I now believe”): 10. Danny Jackson, 9. Ron Villone, 8. Ed Whitson, 7. Armando Reynoso, 6. Julian Tavarez, 5. A.J. Burnett, 4. Jerry Garvin, 3. Shawn Estes, 2. Javier Vazquez, 1. Frank Tanana

  • Part VI: Jim Kaat.  “Kaat… isn’t in the Hall of Fame in large part because he wasn’t perceived as a big game pitcher.  In fact, his record in Big Games is great.  He made 53 Big Game starts in his career—more than Jack Morris—and was 27-15 in those games, 2.84 ERA.  He just missed making my list of the ten best Big Game pitchers of the last 60 years.”

  • Part VII: The 11 best Big Game pitchers ever: 11. Mike Mussina, 10. Bruce Kison, 9. Whitey Ford, 8. Ron Guidry, 7. Andy Pettitte, 6. Johan Santana, 5. John Smoltz, 4. Don Sutton, 3. Randy Johnson, 2. Bob Gibson, 1. Roy Oswalt

  • Part VIII: Big Games by team

  • Part IX: “Other ways of looking at the data” (e.g. pitchers’ 35 “Biggest Games”, as opposed to all their Big Games)

  • Part X: Jack Morris and Bert Blyleven.  James goes start-by-start through all of Morris’ regular-season Big Games, and concludes, “His record in Big Games, other than the 1991 post-season, isn’t good; it is actually very poor.”  As for Blyleven, “[his] record in Big Games isn’t great, either.  It’s better than Morris’s, but it’s still not great.”
The District Attorney Posted: February 20, 2014 at 01:47 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bert blyleven, bill james, don drysdale, history, jack morris, jim kaat, sabermetrics

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   1. John Northey Posted: February 20, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4659763)
Bit surprised to see Danny Jackson on the 10 worst big game guys. As a long time Jays fan I remember him killing them in 1985 and checking the numbers I was right - 10 IP in the playoffs 0 runs, 10 hits, 1 walk, 7 K's (a 9 inning shutout and a 1 inning relief appearance). In the WS that year he also did well with 16 IP 3 R allowed. Lifetime in the playoffs he was 4-3 3.30 ERA in 57 1/3 IP. Doesn't hit me as a 10 worst guy but maybe he had a lot of issues in the regular season in pressure games. Also Frank Tanana at #1 was surprising too as in 1987 he threw a shutout on the final day of the season against the Jays (who they had to beat) to get the Tigers into the playoffs. A 4.35 ERA in the playoffs, just 2 starts and neither made it to the 6th. Makes one tempted to pay to get in just due to curiosity as to what killed these two pitchers.

Another surprise is Bruce Kison at #10 for best given that karate kick is my main memory of him, followed by a grand slam by Ernie Whitt.
   2. villageidiom Posted: February 20, 2014 at 03:54 PM (#4659823)
I think what Bill James is saying is that games against the Blue Jays are by definition not big games. ;-)
   3. Guapo Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4659834)
Don't mean to hijack, but this classic Jamesian rant from "Hey Bill" is worth sharing:


How is your answer to thegue's question different from "My mind's made up, don't confuse me with facts"?

Asked by: steve161


Answered: 2/20/2014


No idea in the world what that's in reference to. But I'll do my best to appreciate the instruction. . . . .... . .. . . . . . . . . . .Oh, I see what your problem is. I had proposed a theory about the population evaporation in small towns, and let us say that it was a novel theory; it's probably not a novel theory, it's probably a trite theory, but that's not the point; the query in question addressed it as if it were a novel theory, I think, so let's use that term. I offered a novel theory, and this gentleman suggested that this had to be wrong because migration patterns have been heavily studied. In saying this, of course, he had lapsed into the fundamental anti-intellectual argument, an argument which is ALWAYS invalid, and I was trying to point this out to him as gently as possible. . . . .. I remember my Grade School principal, who attended college just after World War I, told us that when he studied chemistry in college, his professor told the class that they were studying science at the right time, because all the important discoveries had been made now; everything important that was going to be known was known, now, so it was a good time to study science. He told us this, of course, to point out the absurdity of assuming that the search for knowledge is ever finished. . . .. . When Perry Miller was in graduate school at the University of Chicago, late 1920s, he told his advisor that he wanted to study the Puritans. The advisor told him that the Puritans had been studied to death, everything that could be known about them was already known, and he should choose some other subject to work on. He got a different advisor, and stuck with the Puritans. He spent most of his career studying the Puritans, and became one of the greatest historians of the 20th century. He had dozens of protégés over the years, and many of THEM spent THEIR careers studying the Puritans, and many of them went on to distinguished careers, studying the Puritans. . . .. .. Again, the inherent absurdity of suggesting that a field of knowledge is ever "finished". No field of knowledge is ever finished. The intellectual understands that, and accepts it. It's Black Letter Law. A college undergraduate in Physics is allowed to challenge Einstein--if he has argument to make. . . . .. .. It isn't that way, in the rest of the world, and I have spent my career battling this. . ..this turgid, anti-intellectual assumption that everything worth knowing is already known. The non-intellectual world assumes that knowledge is the property of experts, that people who are not experts are not allowed to challenge the experts, but can only learn from them. When I started writing about baseball, I was the undergraduate in Physics who was challenging Einstein; not Einstein, but Casey Stengel, Sparky Anderson, Dick Young and the Elias Charitable Foundation. In the minds of many people I HAD to be wrong, because these other people were the experts, and I hadn't even played the game, so of course I couldn't be right and the experts wrong. I still get the same argument today, in a different form; people will tell me that the advantage inherent in sabermetrics has played itself out now. Everybody knows these things, so the advantage that WAS there, in the Moneyball era, has evaporated. Same argument; everything is known now; shut up and let us go about our business. The gentleman had forgotten this Black Letter Law, and had lapsed into the assertion that I shouldn't offer a novel theory about this, because. . .well, this has been studied; everything worthwhile is known about it. I didn't want to bust his balls about it; I assumed that he would be embarrassed if I pointed out to him what he was saying, so I tried to say it in the gentlest way I could, saying that I would be surprised if any historian were to make that argument. . .. .. .... ...You, on the other hand, I will bust your balls. Pay more attention in class, kid. If you were half as smart as you think you are, I wouldn't have had to explain this to you.
   4. AndrewJ Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4659860)
Hope Bill puts all this research into book form.

Big of him to admit he was wrong vis-a-vis Don Drysdale.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4659862)
Sandy Koufax is kind of an outlier here. His early career wildness (and a 1962 injury) made him largely ineffective in "big" games, but once he stayed healthy and had his command, there's never been anyone better.

Here are Sandy Koufax's numbers for Sept/Oct and the World Series during the three seasons (1963-65-66) during that stretch when the Dodgers were involved in close pennant races**.

1963: Sept/Oct - 7 starts, 5-0, 1.65 ERA / World Series - 2 starts, 18 IP, 1.50 ERA
1965: Sept/Oct - 9 starts, 5-2, 1.50 ERA / World Series - 3 starts, 24 IP, 0.38 ERA
1966: Sept/Oct - 8 starts, 6-1, 1.50 ERA / World Series - 1 start, 6 IP, 1.50 ERA

Total: Sept/Oct - 24 starts, 16-3, 192.2 innings, 1.54 ERA / World Series - 6 starts, 48 IP, 0.94 ERA

Combined Sept/Oct and World Series: 30 starts, 240.2 innings, 20-5, 1.42 ERA

Since James's system is behind a paywall, I'm sure there's a valid statistical reason that Koufax didn't make the cut, but when you're talking about "big" game pitchers, it's hard to beat the late career Sandy Koufax..

**1963 - 1 game ahead on Sept. 15th, won by 6; 1965 - won by 2 games; 1966 - clinched pennant on final day of season when Koufax pitched a complete game win in Philadelphia on two days' rest
   6. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:46 PM (#4659874)
The 10 worst Big Game pitchers ever (“these are the guys to whom I may owe an apology the next time I write about this, if additional research undermines what I now believe”): 10. Danny Jackson, 9. Ron Villone, 8. Ed Whitson, 7. Armando Reynoso, 6. Julian Tavarez, 5. A.J. Burnett, 4. Jerry Garvin, 3. Shawn Estes, 2. Javier Vazquez, 1. Frank Tanana


Off the top of my head, yeah, Whitson and Vazquez are two guys I would have guessed- Javy especially, the bigger the game the more likely he was to just groove that damn ball until something bad happened.

James goes start-by-start through all of Morris’ regular-season Big Games, and concludes, “His record in Big Games, other than the 1991 post-season, isn’t good; it is actually very poor.”

Actually this surprises me,I thought he'd either be good or as good as you'd expect a Morris caliber pitcher to be- but there's been a relentless MSM campaign to portray him as a big game god...
   7. Sunday silence Posted: February 20, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4659884)
so I should have studied the Puritans in school? I'm confused.
   8. dlf Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:03 PM (#4659891)
Since James's system is behind a paywall, I'm sure there's a valid statistical reason that Koufax didn't make the cut, but when you're talking about "big" game pitchers, it's hard to beat the late career Sandy Koufax..


The system explicitly excludes post season games. It's method of selecting "big games" is based on the records of the two teams on the day in question and the distance from the team to others in the division / league.

Sandy Koufax was just 28-26 in Big Games, but that’s kind of misleading, so I don’t want to dwell on it. Well. .. .it is kind of a shocking fact. Koufax’ career record was 165-87, so that means he was 137-61 when he wasn’t a Big Game (.692), but 28-26 when it was (.519). He lost Big Games whenever he had to pitch one in the 1950s, and also a few in 1962, when he tried unsuccessfully to come back from his medical problem at the end of the season, without doing a proper rehab. But there are different ways of looking at the question of how effective a pitcher was in Big Games, and in Koufax’ case those other ways of looking at the issue get different answers, so I don’t want to mislead you. 98 times in 100, the other ways of looking at the issue just tell you the same thing with different numbers, so we can ignore them, but in Koufax’ case we need to look at more data, which I’ll explain later.
   9. villageidiom Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4659893)
Don't mean to hijack, but this classic Jamesian rant from "Hey Bill" is worth sharing
Indeed.
   10. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 20, 2014 at 05:32 PM (#4659920)
Thanks, dif (#8). I thought that the introductory note in the excerpt about Part III implied that postseason games were also included, but guess not. I'll be interested to see exactly how James deals with the unique case of Koufax, where we have a career that's essentially Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with 1962 as the aborted full transition year. There's no denying the numbers that I posted in #5, but it's also true that when you're talking about careers you have to include both the good and the bad.
   11. Sunday silence Posted: February 20, 2014 at 06:31 PM (#4659967)
at least James has the good sense to see playoff games as the exhibitions they are and to treat regular season games as the statistical sina qua non of true baseball analytics.
   12. toratoratora Posted: February 20, 2014 at 06:34 PM (#4659968)
As a pitcher noted for big game yips,where did Tim Wakefield place?
Or did he?
   13. Sweatpants Posted: February 20, 2014 at 06:40 PM (#4659971)
The fact that Gibson and Smoltz fare that well without taking postseason into account is very impressive.
   14. Hank G. Posted: February 20, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4659975)
The system explicitly excludes post season games. It's method of selecting "big games" is based on the records of the two teams on the day in question and the distance from the team to others in the division / league.


His method for determining “big games” excludes post-season games, but he also said:

We are dealing here only with regular season games. Let us assume that all post-season games are designated as Big Games; what we are asking is which regular-season games should also be similarly designated.


so I would think when he actually starting examining the pitchers’ performance in “big games” that all post-season games were included, although I could not find anywhere that he explicitly said that.
   15. The District Attorney Posted: February 20, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4659979)
Yeah, I'm pretty confused at this point. James says of Smoltz that:
The reason there are 11 pitchers in my Top Ten is that I initially overlooked Smoltz, since his regular-season Big Game record is just good, not truly outstanding. I decided it was better to wedge him in here like this and have you think I was a little slow, rather than leave him out and have you think I was stupid.
So based on that, I figured that, although the system was based on the regular season, James was then subjectively adding in postseason. But as #14 says, he never explicitly says that, and there are also things that suggest he isn't doing that, e.g. the omission of Koufax, or Oswalt being #1. So maybe Smoltz is the one case where he did that, but otherwise he didn't? I don't know.

Re: Danny Jackson:
32 career starts in Big Games.   7 wins, 15 losses, 4.86 ERA.

Re: Frank Tanana:
In 1987, with the Tigers in a red-hot pennant race, Tanana pitched three brilliant games at the end of the year, giving up only one run in 24 innings.   That was some big-time clutch pitching, but unfortunately, Tanana had also been pounded in every one of his previous eight starts, giving up 35 runs in 33 innings.   His career record in Big Games:   35 starts, 5 wins, 19 losses, 4.04 ERA.

Re: Bruce Kison:
in his first four post-season appearances, Kison was 4-0 with 0.00 ERA in 20 innings... In regular season play he was 22-7 in Big Games, 2.72 ERA.

Another note about Koufax is:
Sandy Koufax’ record in all Big Games is pretty unimpressive (28-26), but in the 35 BIGGEST games of his career he was 18-8, 2.44 ERA, 250 strikeouts in 251 innings.   That’s much better, much more Koufaxian.

I don't see any mention of Wakefield.
   16. Knock on any Iorg Posted: February 20, 2014 at 07:37 PM (#4659995)
Big game James rides again.
   17. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:02 AM (#4660070)
Jim Kaat. “Kaat… isn’t in the Hall of Fame in large part because he wasn’t perceived as a big game pitcher. In fact, his record in Big Games is great. He made 53 Big Game starts in his career—more than Jack Morris—and was 27-15 in those games, 2.84 ERA. He just missed making my list of the ten best Big Game pitchers of the last 60 years.”

Jim Kaat had the greatest month of clutch pitching ever. I wrote an article on it: Forgotten pennant push: Jim Kaat, 1967. Greatest pennant push every by one pitcher.
   18. dlf Posted: February 21, 2014 at 08:31 AM (#4660113)
so I would think when he actually starting examining the pitchers’ performance in “big games” that all post-season games were included, although I could not find anywhere that he explicitly said that.


I figured that, although the system was based on the regular season, James was then subjectively adding in postseason. But as #14 says, he never explicitly says that, and there are also things that suggest he isn't doing that, e.g. the omission of Koufax, or Oswalt being #1. So maybe Smoltz is the one case where he did that, but otherwise he didn't? I don't know.



It could be a little clearer, but when he goes through individual pitchers' performances game by game, he only lists regular season games. The key pitcher that started this study was Morris who had 46 starts in big games. James goes through those one by one and each was a regular season contest, almost all in September. Same thing with his review of Kaat. My gut feel is that the numerical study of "big games" is just regular season, but made some minor tweaks when giving the ordinal ranking.
   19. The District Attorney Posted: February 21, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4660204)
Dag, James indeed makes the same point that you do :-)
The 1967 pennant race has been written about by many people—but here is what I did not know, until I took on this project.    Jim Kaat in September of 1967 was as hot as [Carl] Yastrzemski was.

I don't think James is correct that Kaat isn't in the Hall of Fame because he wasn't perceived as a "big game pitcher." Indeed, unless you want to count Bill Mazeroski, I don't think I'm mistaken to say that Jack Morris is really the only candidate so far where "big games" are a huge part of his case. (The expanded postseason is about to change this -- Pettitte, Schilling and Smoltz all have cases where "big games"/postseason play a large role.)

However, I do think that the main objection to Kaat is that he wasn't "dominant". This sentiment is sometimes expressed in terms of a big game -- i.e. "if you had to win one game, would you pitch Jim Kaat?" -- but it's not really the same thing. When the writers say that, they don't mean that he wasn't clutch; they mean that his peak value wasn't especially high. I do think this evidence contradicts that point. I think it's hard to argue that a guy didn't have a period of dominance when he wins 25 games one year and has the best pennant race stretch in the history of pitching the next year.

(It is, of course, worth noting that Kaat started off 1967 terribly, and ended up leading the league in nothing other than hits allowed. I'd imagine leading the league in hits allowed, which Kaat did four times, is a good way to establish a reputation of "not being dominant", especially when your strikeout rate craters as Kaat's did after the injury. In 1967, though, he was top 10 in the league in strikeouts per 9 innings.)
   20. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 21, 2014 at 11:57 AM (#4660221)
The 1967 pennant race has been written about by many people—but here is what I did not know, until I took on this project. Jim Kaat in September of 1967 was as hot as [Carl] Yastrzemski was.


which shows how little research James actually does (of course, he's pretty famous for saying that he doesn't read other people's research). Dag's article was written in 2007, and there are many references to Kaat's heroics that season in the literature - indeed, a lot of the Boston-centric articles about that season make reference to Kaat's injury in the penultimate game of the season as being something of a godsend for the Sox.

-- MWE
   21. GregD Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4660222)
I would also imagine that part of Kaat's challenge in getting votes is that his last superficially strong season was 1975, which was deep in the past by the time he first became eligible for the HOF in 1988. He picked up 48 wins between 76 and 83 but I don't think he helped his reputation any.

The other problem of course is that if you cut him off at 1975 he has 235 wins with a 113 ERA+ which doesn't make him a strong candidate either in traditional terms or in stats-guy terms.

He had one year with an ERA+ over 131 and 4 with an ERA+ over 115.

In that context the main thing he really had going for him was his win total.
   22. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4660251)
Jim Kaat had the greatest month of clutch pitching ever. I wrote an article on it: Forgotten pennant push: Jim Kaat, 1967. Greatest pennant push every by one pitcher.

I wonder how many books would've (and wouldn't have) been written about that 1967 pennant race if Jim Kaat had only stayed fully healthy for that one last game. Like most of the country that year outside of Minnesota, I was pulling for the Red Sox, and when Kaat got removed from that Saturday game, I think the entire Eastern seaboard breathed a collective sigh of relief.
   23. tfbg9 Posted: February 21, 2014 at 12:59 PM (#4660266)
As a pitcher noted for big game yips,where did Tim Wakefield place?
Or did he?


Yeah, c'mon! Somebody with an BJO account answer this, please?
Although Timmy Wake's postseason numbers are so execrable I can't see how he rates better than "blech".

   24. AROM Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:28 PM (#4660300)
I wasn't even born yet, but with those two - Kaat and Yaz - being central figures I kind of feel like I have a connection to the 1967 pennant race. Both of those guys were among my favorites when I started following baseball. Even named my cat (Brian Downing Kaat) partially after Jim.
   25. AROM Posted: February 21, 2014 at 01:41 PM (#4660311)
Looking at his stats, I wonder if Jim Kaat pitched himself out of the HOF with bad seasons at the start and end of his career?

His highest HOF vote % was 29%, but he was consistent in the 20+% range. Take away his Senator years at age 20-21 when he wasn't ready, and everything after 1976, his last good year as a starter, and you have:

246-194, 3.27 ERA, 113 ERA+, 3810 IP, 49 WAR. Might still not have been enough, but I think it looks better than his actual career stats. I'm sure Jim in no way regrets getting all he could out of his arm though. He got a WS ring pitching out of the bullpen for the 82 Cards, and made significantly more money from 1980-1982 than he did during his prime years. Though BBref doesn't have his salary from 1975-1979.
   26. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4660374)
tfbg9: Wakefield is not mentioned at any point in the series of articles.
   27. tfbg9 Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4660381)
26-thank you.
   28. tfbg9 Posted: February 21, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4660394)
What methodology does BJ use to identify regular season big games?
   29. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 21, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4660435)
I wonder how many books would've (and wouldn't have) been written about that 1967 pennant race if Jim Kaat had only stayed fully healthy for that one last game.


Kaat had been consistently good over the prior three years against the Red Sox. In 12 starts against Boston before that September outing Kaat had allowed no more than three earned runs in any, other than one poor outing early in 1967, and had pitched 82 innings to a 2.92 ERA (2.53 excluding the one poor effort). In his previous six starts against the Red Sox he had allowed a total of 12 earned runs - of which five came in that one outing. He was, quite rightly, viewed as a thorn in Boston's side.

-- MWE
   30. The District Attorney Posted: February 21, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4660516)
What methodology does BJ use to identify regular season big games?
Umm, it's a tad complicated :)

• Start with 100.

• Add what number game it is on the schedule, plus the number of wins your team has going in, minus 1. For example, if it's game 116 and your team is 70-45 going in, add (116 + 70 - 1) = 185 (putting you at 285 so far). Exception: If it's Opening Day, add 100.

• 25-point bonus for an intradivisional opponent. (Every pre-1969 game gets this bonus.)

• If your team is mathematically eliminated from the postseason, it's not a Big Game. You can, of course, be virtually eliminated before that...

• Virtual Elimination Percentage = (((Highest win total in division, or league pre-1969) + (your team's losses))/(Number of games in season + 3)). If this raised to the power of 1.8 is greater than the percentage of scheduled games your team has played, and your team has lost 40 or more games, your team is Virtually Eliminated, and this is not a Big Game.

• Your team is also considered eliminated if a) it's lost 40 or more games; b) its Virtual Elimination Percentage is at least .2 larger than the percentage of scheduled games it's played; c) if your team has a winning record, it's Sept. 1 or later; d) either there's no wild card, or, if it's the wild card era, your team has a losing record.

• And then I'm missing something, because when I apply that formula to specific games that Bill names, it doesn't quite equal the numbers he cites.

• But anyway, 310 or more is a Big Game.
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: February 21, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4660528)
Umm, it's a tad complicated :)


I could see using something like this and maybe tweaking it a little. I know he's going for some relatively straight forward math, but I can see it being a big game if even if you are out of the season but your opponent is within 2 games of first place (or post season) and there are less than 7 games left in the season.

Or you could add bonus points for rivalries.... it doesn't matter what time of the season it is, the Yankees/Red Sox or Dodgers/Giants is almost always going to be a big game.(the interdivisional bonus helps but there should be some other bonus's for heated rivals...example the Mess and Cardinals in the mid 80's...was always a big game) Reputations are made by these matchups.

Or any other number of tweaks... And it doesn't have to be a straight yes/no answer on whether it's a big game, there could be a multiplier on your performance in higher ranked big games etc..... Maybe a 350 score is worth a 1.25 modifier to your performance while a 280 game might be only a .75 modifier for that performance. (or any other number of tweaks....I like this as a start but there is so much more that can be done with what he is doing.)

   32. Rob_Wood Posted: February 21, 2014 at 08:44 PM (#4660578)
I recently rewatched the 1967 Twins-Red Sox game in which Kaat was removed. But I was unable to see anything wrong with Kaat and I never saw anyone signal to the dugout.

Chris or anyone else, what is the story? Did Kaat feel his arm "give out"? I have always wondered about that. (And, no matter what, nobody is blaming Kaat.)

Thanks much.
   33. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: February 21, 2014 at 10:28 PM (#4660609)
I recently rewatched the 1967 Twins-Red Sox game in which Kaat was removed. But I was unable to see anything wrong with Kaat and I never saw anyone signal to the dugout.

Chris or anyone else, what is the story? Did Kaat feel his arm "give out"? I have always wondered about that. (And, no matter what, nobody is blaming Kaat.)

Thanks much.

from this remembrance
Pitching with a 1-0 lead, Kaat in the third inning injured a ligament in his throwing elbow, an injury which these days is corrected with Tommy John surgery.
   34. DavidFoss Posted: February 21, 2014 at 10:46 PM (#4660617)
Pitching with a 1-0 lead, Kaat in the third inning injured a ligament in his throwing elbow, an injury which these days is corrected with Tommy John surgery.


Interesting, that's precisely the point when Kaat's career hit a lull. He had very unmarkable years between 1968-71. Not terrible, but 14 wins a year, with ERA+ of around 107 each year. All at a time when the Twins had potent offenses and won two division titles. Marginally better performances those years would have connected the nice 4 year stretches he had before and after.
   35. Hank G. Posted: February 22, 2014 at 04:04 AM (#4660664)
Just for the record, I submitted a question to James about whether he included post-season games in his analysis and this was his answer:

I did consider post-season performance, yes. I thought that was clear, because I cited post-season performances as my reasons for the rankings of Bob Gibson, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and others. Sorry if it wasn't clear.
   36. The District Attorney Posted: February 22, 2014 at 08:39 PM (#4660864)
Alrighty. So apparently the top 11 did consider postseason, but I don't see any indication that the lists of "better/worse/the same than you expected" do. I suppose they might, but it really doesn't look like it.

It is still surprising that Oswalt is #1 and Koufax not top 11 if postseason is part of it, but I guess it could be.

I'm surprised James didn't just throw the postseason games into the numerical formula. I mean, one could say that it wouldn't be accurate because a postseason game means more than a late-September game. But that seems like a less potent criticism than the criticism you invoke by leaving them out.

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