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Monday, October 17, 2011
And so it shall be, MGL…so it shall be.
There has been much discussion (and research) on the relative performances of starters and relievers in the 9th inning. Preliminary results suggest that starters perform much better in the 9th inning, relative to their overall performance, than do relievers, even considering that they are facing the opposing lineup for the 4th time through the order. The speculation is that these starters are having “on” days, their managers and coaches can recognize this, which is at least one reason why they are allowed to pitch (at least start) the 9th, and that their “onness” continued into the 9th inning. (It is true that starters who are allowed to pitch the 9th inning – and 8th, 7th, etc. – have pitched exceptionally well in prior innings.)
While this is a reasonable assumption and certainly comports with conventional thinking, it is somewhat out of step with what we found in The Book – that early in a game success and failure does not have much predictive value.
I don’t necessarily have any particularly strong reason to disagree with this (new found – at least on my part) conclusion (that starters who are having exceptional games up to the 9th inning will continue to pitch at an above-average – for them - level), however, there are two things that I am uncomfortable with: One, the small sample sizes of starting pitchers in the 9th – in my research I only looked at 2007-2010, and two, the fact that starters and relievers likely have different distributions of score differentials at home and on the road, and that these score differentials alone may considerably impact opponent wOBA (because their approaches may change and thus the wOBA weights are not correct).
for his generous support.
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