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Monday, October 29, 2012

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-29-2012

New York Tribune, October 29, 1912:

Word comes from San Francisco that the mother of Fred Snodgrass denies that she fainted when the news came that her son had dropped a fly in that fatal tenth inning of the deciding games [sic] of the world’s championship series.

Snodgrass and the Giants would get a shot at redemption in the 1913 World Series, though that didn’t go much better than it had the previous two years.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:09 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, fred snodgrass, history

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   1. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 06:16 AM (#4287131)
This is a horrible Birthday Team. Romero had better get his track shoes ready; he'll be catching a knuckleballer and a guy who once threw 83 (!) wild pitches in a season.

Hopefully Brochu won't run this team into the ground, forcing it to be moved to a different date.

C: Mandy Romero
1B: Karim Garcia
2B: Solly Hofman
3B: Ralph Winegarner
SS: 1970s Yankees/Orioles Frank Baker
LF: Darrell Brown
CF: Will Venable
RF: Jesse Barfield

SP: Mark Baldwin
SP: Jim Bibby
SP: R.A. Dickey
SP: Happy Finneran
SP: Earl Yingling
RP: Pete Richert

Owner: Claude Brochu
   2. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:44 AM (#4287166)
Baseball historical item at THT notes that today is the 10th anniversary of three teams announcing the hiring of rookie managers. THough none had ever managed before, and to date none have won a pennant, they have combined to manage nearly 4,000 games. Can you guess who any of them are before clicking on the link?
   3. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4287168)
No manager today? Can we give the job to Dickey, just to see what happens?
   4. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:49 AM (#4287170)
Can you guess who any of them are before clicking on the link?

Would Ken Macha be one?
   5. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 08:57 AM (#4287178)
Yeah, Eric, no managers born today. Dickey is as good a choice as any - he's always struck me as a bright guy. Jesse Barfield seems like someone who could have been a manager too.
   6. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4287179)
Eric Wedge is probably another of the first-time managers appointed ten years ago.
   7. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:06 AM (#4287184)
Was that the dawn of the Ned Yost era? Or Bud Black perhaps?
   8. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4287191)
Having since clicked on the link, Macha, Wedge, and Yost are the correct answers.
   9. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 09:28 AM (#4287199)
By Series Probability Added:

MVP - Madison Bumgarner
MVTiger - Doug Fister
MVHitter - Pablo Sandoval, coming in behind six separate pitchers
MVTigerHitter - Austin Jackson, the only one with a positive score

LVP - Prince Fielder
LVGiant - Angel Pagan
LVPitcher - Justin Verlander
LVGiantPitcher - George Kontos and Matt Cain had scores of 0; no Giant pitcher had a negative score, which is pretty impressive.
   10. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4287217)
Overall postseason totals...

Top 7 hitters:
Marco Scutaro .192
Raul Ibanez .172
Pablo Sandoval .098
David Freese .076
Brandon Crawford .076
Daniel Descalso .068
Miguel Cabrera .065

It should be noted here that the pre-World Series totals posted in a previous post were incorrect in some cases, thanks to a data entry screwup on my part for the Tigers-A's ALDS; I had somehow managed to copy in only the positive WPA events for each hitter, which obviously throws off the results.

Bottom 7 hitters:
Adam Jones -.084
Angel Pagan -.092
Jhonny Peralta -.097
Robinson Cano -.105
Alex Rodriguez -.113
Nick Swisher -.115
Prince Fielder -.144

So is this enough to anoint Prince as the Next Great Choker?

Top 7 pitchers:
Ryan Vogelsong .159
Doug Fister .149
CC Sabathia .144
Darren O'Day .132
Sergio Romo .115
Justin Verlander .097
Anibal Sanchez .096

If you include hitting, Sabathia passes Fister and Sanchez passes Verlander. Of course, those guys didn't actually have to hit.

Bottom 7 pitchers:
Sean Doolittle -.046
Mat Latos -.051
Lance Lynn -.075
David Phelps -.088
Chris Carpenter -.108
Drew Storen -.177
Jose Valverde -.191

That 7th-worst score, if you invert it, would rank 19th among positive scores for this postseason.

Overall, pitchers combined for +1.081 championships added this postseason, which is a whole bunch.
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4287227)
For comparison's sake, Championship Probability Added by pitchers in each postseason of the Wild Card era, sorted by decreasing pitching dominance:

1996 +1.528
2001 +1.458
1995 +1.338
2000 +1.168
2010 +1.099
2012 +1.081
2003 +.967
2006 +.817
1997 +.740
2007 +.625
2005 +.614
1998 +.589
2008 +.547
1999 +.336
2004 +.063
2009 -.255
2002 -.305
2011 -.846

So this year was very pitching-heavy, which won't come as a huge shock. But it wasn't historically pitching-heavy, whereas last year's playoffs were historically hitting-heavy.
   12. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4287236)
Turning the subject back to our old friend, exciting games... here are the top 6 from this postseason.

6. WS Game 4 - Giants 4, Tigers 3 (10). The Giants win the Series!
5. ALDS1 Game 3 - Yankees 3, Orioles 2 (12). IBANEZ!
4. NLDS1 Game 1 - Nationals 3, Cardinals 2. This one seems to have gone relatively unnoticed. The Cards took an early 2-1 lead, and the Nats kept rallying - they left one runner on in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings, then left the bases loaded in the sixth. The Cards loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh, but the Nats escaped on a force at home and a double play. In the eighth, Washington put runners on the corners with nobody out, but Mitchell Boggs worked that down to second and third with two away before Tyler Moore singled in two against Scrabble. St. Louis got the tying run to second in the eighth before going down. Close game throughout, with the trailing team mounting a lot of rallies.

3. ALDS2 Game 2 - Tigers 5, A's 4. Another one that flew somewhat under the radar, despite being absolutely NUTS. It was 1-1 going into the seventh. The A's took the lead on a Cliff Pennington RBI single. Detroit put two on with two outs in the bottom of the inning; Miguel Cabrera flied to center, where Coco Crisp dropped the ball, allowing both runners to score. In the eighth, Yoenis Cespedes singled, stole second, stole third, and scored the tying run on a wild pitch; Josh Reddick then homered to give Oakland the lead. But the Tigers came back again on two singles, a sac bunt, and a wild pitch (how often do you see two game-tying wild pitches in the same inning?) After Oakland left runners at the corners in the top of the ninth, the Tigers loaded the bases, then won on a Don Kelly sac fly. For those counting at home, that's four lead changes in the last three innings. Not just one of the best games of the year, but one of the best 9-inning playoff games ever played.

2. ALDS1 Game 4 - Orioles 2, Yankees 1 (13). 19 at bats with runners in scoring position through the first 12 innings, and zero hits.

1. ALCS Game 1 - Tigers 6, Yankees 4 (12). IBANEZ! 2: Electric Boogaloo.
   13. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:48 AM (#4287283)
Eric, how does this series compare to recent World Series in terms of excitement? It seemed particularly dull, although the Giants were by far my favorite team in the playoffs.
   14. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4287289)
Eric, how does this series compare to recent World Series in terms of excitement? It seemed particularly dull, although the Giants were by far my favorite team in the playoffs.

It was relatively dull; if you add up the scores for each game, it's the second-worst of the Wild Card era, beating only 2007. It's also fairly close to '04 and '99. In fact, by simple total score, it's the fifth-worst ever, also beating 1963, '66, and '89. And it wouldn't do any better in the alternative method I've toyed around with, which weights the excitement of each game by its championship leverage, because the best game (yesterday's) was also the lowest-leverage.

That being said, I enjoyed both yesterday's game and the Series as a whole. But that largely came from things that my system either wouldn't care for (2-hit shutout) or wouldn't pick up (Sandoval's 3 homers, the double that hit third base, Tim McCarver confusing Barry Bonds and Barry Manilow).
   15. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 12:51 PM (#4287363)
Going a bit further with this - the top postseason series of all time, listed by game excitement multiplied by game leverage:

1924 WS
1980 NLCS
1995 ALDS2 (Yankees-Mariners)
1975 WS
1912 WS
1991 WS
1997 WS
2011 WS
1952 WS
2003 ALCS

All series that went the distance and were notably exciting; it's a reasonable list. The issue that using pure game leverage runs into is that it places (I think) an undue amount of weight on the series lasting its full length, because Game 7 gets twice as much weight as any other. Because of that, the best sweep ever (2005 WS) ends up in a virtual tie with the worst 7-game series ever (this year's NLCS).

If you adjust for that just a little, say by taking the square root of game leverage (which still gives Game 7 1.4 times as much weight as anything else), the top list doesn't change much:

1924 WS
1975 WS
1995 ALDS2
1912 WS
1980 NLCS
1991 WS
2011 WS
1952 WS
1997 WS
1925 WS

But some of the lower-down results jump around a bit. Excellent 6-game series like the '97 ALCS and '99 NLCS move up a lot (from 33rd to 14th and 61st to 22nd, respectively); the '99 NLCS is especially helped because it started out 3-0, and therefore its middle games (including the Grand Slam Single game, one of the best playoff games ever) were weighted very weakly. Also moving way up is the '04 ALCS, which went 7, but had two absolutely classic games in low-leverage situations (3-0 and 3-1).

Moving down, you mostly have 5-game series; adding extra weight to less important games is going to do the most damage to series that have fewer games overall. The biggest drop is the '02 NLDS between the Braves and Giants, which went 5 games and had a good-not-great Game 5 that was preceded by four blowouts. The other big drops ('77 and '82 ALCSs, '72 NLCS, '01 Mariners-Indians LDS) were largely variations on the same theme, 5-gamers that peaked in Game 5 without the rest of the series matching their quality. The biggest tumbles from 7-game series are similar - 1940 WS, 1960 WS, and 1992 NLCS, all featuring excellent decisive games with relatively tepid predecessors. (Not that the '60 WS does too badly either way; it's #21 in the first method, #42 in the second.)

All this, I guess, leads up to a question: How important would the Dugout say that it is for a classic series to go to a seventh game?
   16. BDC Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4287384)
How important would the Dugout say that it is for a classic series to go to a seventh game?

Offhand, I'd say a six-game Series can be almost as good, especially if the sequence is LLWWWW for the eventual champions, and the last four are close games. The 1996 World Series was like that, and to some extent 1981, though Game Six there was a blowout. Both Series were tense and memorable. The two World Series that the Jays won didn't fit the LLWWWW pattern, but they were tense six-game series, too.
   17. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4287391)
All this, I guess, leads up to a question: How important would the Dugout say that it is for a classic series to go to a seventh game?


Given the number of series that have gone a full seven and been classics it is hard for a less than 7 game series to crack any kind of meaningful list. Without spending any real time thinking about it the best sub-7 game World Series of my lifetime that come to mind are 2003 (6 games), 2000 (5 games) and 2005 (4 games). The recentness of these series probably is causing me to forget a series in the 70s or 80s but looking at that list I don't see any series that would crack ahead of any list of series with more games.

What's the worst 7 game WS of recent memory? My recollection is that 1997 was a bit of a snoozer until Game Seven.
   18. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4287394)
Thinking of Bob's theory of patterns I like the 2003 pattern of WLLWWW. There is an ebb and flow to such a pattern with the 2 lead changes in the series. I think that works a bit better than LLWWWW from a dramatic standpoint.
   19. Mike Webber Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4287416)
What does Billy think of the Royals acquisition Chris Volstad?
   20. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4287445)
Thinking of Bob's theory of patterns I like the 2003 pattern of WLLWWW. There is an ebb and flow to such a pattern with the 2 lead changes in the series. I think that works a bit better than LLWWWW from a dramatic standpoint.

Game leverage agrees; basically, the leverage is going to be at its highest when there are as many splits as you can have for a series of a given length. So, for a 5-gamer, leverage will be maximized when the first two games are a split; for a 6-gamer, when the first two are split and so are the second two, and for a 7-gamer, when the first three pairs are all splits.

The best 6-game World Series according to both methods have been 1992, 1980, 1935, 1993, and 2003. After that, the methods diverge pretty sharply in their selections. The worst, according to both lists, was 1930.

As a basis for comparison, when the leverage is weighted fully, 1960 ranks 21st and 1980 ranks 40th; when it's given partial weight, those rankings switch almost exactly, to 42nd and 20th. So, which would you prefer - a 7-gamer that has an excellent final act, but only one particularly decent game leading up to it, and two emphatically dull blowouts (including a Game 3 that's the second-worst playoff game ever), or a 6-gamer with three legitimately terrific outings and only one that's not especially competitive?
   21. The District Attorney Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4287463)
Peter Gammons @pgammo

V Z B V C? V Bbbffffffdbbfffbfffffbffffbffwebffff D B mfkli
   22. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4287488)
Best Series of other (non-full) lengths:

5: 2000, 1941, 1933
4: 2005 (by a HUGE margin), then a virtual tie between 1950 and 1914

Best-of-7 LCSs
4: 1995 NLCS (there are only 6 4-game sweeps to choose from)
5: 1996 ALCS (MAIER!), 1987 ALCS, 1991 ALCS
6: 1997 ALCS, and then it depends on the weighting. But the next four are 1986 NL, 1999 NL, 1993 NL, and 2009 AL, in some order.

Best-of-5 (old LCSs, LDSs)
3: 1995 AL (CLE-BOS), 1969 AL, 2009 AL (MIN-NYY)
4: The methods diverge immediately; the less-weighted one picks 1995 NL (ATL-COL) as the best, while the fully-weighted one puts it outside the top 5. But both have 2003 NL (FLA-SFG), 2009 NL (PHI-COL), and 2004 AL (NYY-MIN) in the top 4.
   23. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4287514)
By my reckoning, the worst seven game series ever was 1920 - but that hardly counts because it was a best-of-NINE.

In a best of seven, the worst World Series to go the distance was 1987. It's tied for the worst best-of-seven postseason series, period - tied with the 2012 NLCS.
   24. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4287526)
By my reckoning, the worst seven game series ever was 1920 - but that hardly counts because it was a best-of-NINE.

Agreed.

In a best of seven, the worst World Series to go the distance was 1987. It's tied for the worst best-of-seven postseason series, period - tied with the 2012 NLCS.

I have this year's NLCS as the worst on its own, and by a fairly healthy margin. 1965 grades out as the worst 7-game WS by one method, and 1968 by the other - actually, 1967 is right in that group as well. That's an odd run of unspectacular 7-game series in a very short period of time. Anyway, '87 isn't a classic, exactly, but it does have its three best games in 5, 6, and 7, and all of those were at least pretty good. It's below the median 7-gamer, but still among the top 50 playoff series ever.

Of course, even by the method that's somewhat less friendly to them, all 7-gamers outside of this year's NLCS are above the median score for postseason series.
   25. JJ1986 Posted: October 29, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4287629)
6: 1997 ALCS, and then it depends on the weighting. But the next four are 1986 NL


I'm surprised this isn't the other way around. Each series had 4 one-run or extra-inning games, but game 6 in 1986 has to be one of the best playoff games ever.
   26. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 29, 2012 at 05:35 PM (#4287665)
I'm surprised this isn't the other way around. Each series had 4 one-run or extra-inning games, but game 6 in 1986 has to be one of the best playoff games ever.

Game 6 is top-notch (although I probably have it ranked slightly lower than most people would; it's in 28th by my system, mostly because not much happened in regulation. Still, that's 98th percentile, which is pretty respectable...) It's better than any game of the '97 ALCS - but if you do a combined ranking of the games in the two series, the '97 entry has games 2-5 on the list (Games 3, 4, 6, and 2, respectively). I'm especially fond of Games 3 and 6 for Mike Mussina's remarkable pitching performances: a combined total of 15 innings, 4 hits, 4 walks, 1 run, and 25 strikeouts - and two no-decisions, because the Orioles scored nary a run while he was on the mound, and lost both games after he left.

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