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Wednesday, September 24, 2003

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Sean Forman Posted: September 24, 2003 at 10:09 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark

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   1. Pete Sommers Posted: September 18, 2001 at 04:40 PM (#72681)
I wouldn't be surprised. I looked at the World Series matchups since 1969 and picked out the ones that seemed, at the start of the Series, like mismatches. (Your list may differ from mine; I didn't use any mathematical criteria to decide what was a mismatch.) Here's how these Series turned out:

1969: Mets upset Orioles
   2. scruff Posted: September 18, 2001 at 07:53 PM (#72682)
Pete, I'd add a couple of mismatches, at least that's what people thought.

'93 Blue Jays defeat Phillies
   3. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: September 18, 2001 at 11:11 PM (#72683)

Hold the phone for a second...the 1974 season produced the third consecutive World Series title for the Swingin' A's. Even though they underperformed their Pythagorean record (97-65) by seven games (!), they still were only one game short of the Baltimore Orioles for the league's best record. They had six All-Stars and the Cy Young Award winner in Catfish Hunter.

Also, in looking at the 1974 season, it's quite a mischaracterization for Sean to say the Dodgers were a "mediocre NL champ". Pythagoras projected a 106-56 record for the '74 Dodgers, a mark they fell short of by four games. They had five All-Stars, the league MVP (Steve Garvey), and the Cy Young Award winner (Mike Marshall).
   4. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: September 18, 2001 at 11:17 PM (#72684)
I believe Sean was referring to the 1988 Series. (Braves-A's would have been a clearer example)
   5. scruff Posted: September 19, 2001 at 12:45 AM (#72688)
Great thoughts Andy. I hope ESPN Classic will show some of those games.

The "rise to the occasion" quality you describe sounds an awful lot like the '96-'00 (and counting) Bronx Bombers, who only really outmanned their opposition once (1998), although they dominated in 1999 anyway. I've noticed the similarities before I actually compared the two teams back in a thread in preseason:

The only difference I can see is that the Yanks were stronger up the middle, while the A's were corner based, although they were good up the middle too. But both teams had great starting pitching, drew plenty of walks, hit for power, and had the premier closer of their era. Both teams had some gaping weaknesses too, mainly 1B/2B for Oakland (when Tenace was catching) and 3B/RF/1B (in the later years) for the Bombers.

Hopefully Steinbrenner's resources will keep the Yankees from suffering the same fate the A's team eventually suffered.
   6. scruff Posted: September 19, 2001 at 01:45 AM (#72685)
From the 1984 Abstract, where James revisited his World Series Projection System:

"Just as a the 1982 season was a textbook in why the systems don't always work, the 1974 season was a textbook in why they do. I had found that teams which had high batting averages usually lost the World Series and playoffs, and sure enough, Baltimore (.256) bowed before Oakland (.247), Pittsburgh (.274) lost to the Dodgers (.272), and the Dodgers, with a team batting average 25 points higher despite having no designated hitter to help them, were destroyed by the Oakland A's. And, while you would have a hard time believing it today, the Dodgers were the betting favorite in that Series."

I guess he didn't say "heavy" favorite, 17 years later (I was 11 the first time I read this) my memory distorted the degree. But I have read elsewhere that the Dodgers were a big favorite in that Series.

James I realize you weren't defending the decision, but I can't ever pass up an opportunity to talk about one of the worst MVP votes of all time.

While that Dodger team was a great team (chosen as one of the 32 teams for BBWeekly's all-time computer tourney 8 years ago, none of the A's champs from 72-74 were taken), Steve Garvey was nothing close to the "true" MVP that year. Joe Morgan was easily the best player in baseball that summer.

Garvey beat Little Joe .312 to .296 in AVG. Their power stats were extremely similar, 32-3-21 (Garvey) to 31-3-22. Morgan drew 120 walks, Garvey 31. Morgan stole 58 bases (12 CS), Garvey was 5-of-9. Morgan compiled these numbers while consuming 76 less outs (383-459). He created 17 more runs (120-103) using 76 less outs and playing GG defense at an up the middle position vs. GG defense at a corner position. A Garvey vote was indefensible.

Although I realize the statistical revolution hadn't yet taken place, couldn't they see similar basic stats (not even counting the BB), give Joe credit for the steals (like they did Brock) and defensive position and slam dunk the vote for the player of the decade? At least vote for Bench? Al Oliver hit 11 HR and drew 33 BB, splitting his time between CF (2/3) and 1B and even he finished ahead of Morgan in the voting.

Morgan gets a 5.3 by TPR, Garvey an astounding -.3. Mike Schmidt led the NL with 7.1, Jimmy Wynn was at 4.8, Cesar Cedeno was 4.5. Morgan actually beat Schmidt 56-44 on bat+sb runs, and I don't really trust the defensive numbers. Garvey was +23 bat+sb runs.

Offensively, using a varation of the offensive W-L James used to use, and adjusting for park and team games, but not position, I get:

Morgan 11.5-2.6, .813 GG 2B
   7. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 19, 2001 at 03:00 AM (#72686)
Don't worry, Scruff, I won't let Garvey into the Hall. And you are absolutely right to rant about that truly dreadful thought.

Don't underrate those A's teams, though. In fifty years of watching baseball I can't recall a team which rose to the occasion better than that one, especially in tight games against top competition. After losing the first game to the O's in the ALCS that year, I believe they won 5-3, 1-0 (Blue's 2-hitter vs. Palmer's 4-hitter) and 2-1 (getting but one hit off Cuellar but winning anyway) over Baltimore, and then beat LA 3-2, 2-3, 3-2, 5-2 and 3-2. Every game was tight, yet even though LA WAS the betting favorite, you'd have to have been crazy to go against a team with the playoff experience and pitching depth of the A's. The Dodgers made every game interesting and exciting, but there was an almost total sense of inevitablility about the final outcome of that Series. Regular season individual stats aside, Oakland was simply a better team. They even produced a Series MVP who went hitless for the entire five games!
   8. Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast Posted: September 19, 2001 at 03:36 AM (#72689)
The 1988 Dodgers were certainly underdogs, but to characterize them as a mediocre team is a little misleading. They had the league MVP, the Cy Young Award winner, four starting pitchers with ERAs under 3.00, and, though it was little remarked upon at the time, one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. They won 94 games, not an embarrassing total for a league champion.
   9. scruff Posted: September 19, 2001 at 04:27 PM (#72690)

They were a good team, but:

League ERA was only 3.45 that year, and the Dodgers played in a major pitcher's park. Two starter with ERA's of 2.91 were hardly anything to write home about. ERA+ was 115. Brian Anderson had an ERA+ of 116 last year.

The offense was awful. Gibson didn't play in the Series, except for the 1 huge AB. They were 10th in the league in BB and Gibson drew 17% of them. They did end up 6th in the league in runs, but I don't see how that would be possible. They must have had an extremely efficient offense. They were great on the basepaths, stealing at a 74% clip, which considering the park and era is way past break even.

For speed I ran basic runs created (SB version) and came up with 587 runs, just 93% of what they actually scored (628).

It was Marshall and Gibson and that was it. The rest of the offense was just BRUTAL. You had 3 players w/OBP's under .300 and 3 more with SLG under .350. Pedro would give you a 3rd good player, but he missed 100 games and the postseason.

The MVP was 4-for-26 in the NLCS because of his injury. The bullpen wasn't even good in the NLCS, blowing a 2-0, 9th inning lead in Game 1 and allowing 5 runs in the 8th inning of Game 3 to blow a 4-3 lead. They did step up in Game 4 though (a 12 inning win), but overall the bullpen was shaky at best. In the World Series it was much better.

Half of their lineup included Alfredo Griffin, Mickey Hatcher, Jeff Hamilton and John Shelby. The rest was Steve Sax, Mike Marshall, Franklin Stubbs and Mike Scoiscia, not exactly what you would expect from a championship caliber lineup.

They were a good team that would have been much better with a healthy Guerrero and Gibson. But the actual team that played in the World Series really wasn't that good. But anything can happen in a short series, especially when you have "Babe" Hershiser completely in the zone, both at bat and on the mound. Match that up with him facing Storm Davis in both starts and it's like the planets were lined up.

The next season the had to play with pretty much the team that went to the Series, only they added Eddie Murray (bad year) and Willie Randolph and Ramon Martinez (1/2 year) and they won just 77 games. Gibson missed half the year and was awful when he did play (just like the '88 postseason, save the 2 big HR)

I don't know what actually happened in terms of the course of the season in '88, but I would assume they jumped to the lead early in the year when Guerrero and Gibson were clicking and then hung on at the end, winning the division by 7 games, being kept afloat with Hershiser's great string. I'd be interested if anyone has their month by month records. But the actual team that played in the World Series has to be one of the worst to win a title.
   10. Jay Jaffe Posted: September 19, 2001 at 04:45 PM (#72691)
Eric, the '88 Dodgers were certainly not an embarrasing team, but by the time they reached the World Series they resembled a M*A*S*H unit, which made them considerably less imposing.

No Kirk Gibson, except for one famous swing. An ailing Mike Marshall (as if the regular model was something to behold). Two players (Alfredo Griffin and Mike Davis) with sub-.200 batting averages for the season, who totaled roughly 1/6 of their WS plate appearances. Davis even batted cleanup in one game, if I recall. Mickey Hatcher playing regularly (and hitting 2 HRs). Franklin Stubbs playing baseball.

Hell, looking at their regulars I see neither the regular catcher nor any of their infielders (including corners) posted an OPS above 700 during the regular season. Pitching, pitching, more pitching, and great play from their bench players pressed into regular duty--those were the keys to the Dodgers' success in the series.

Damn, it feels good to be talking about baseball again...
   11. Jay Jaffe Posted: September 19, 2001 at 05:36 PM (#72692)
Scruff, you beat me to the punch with a more thorough analysis. But one thing your post doesn't make clear is the reason that Guerrero missed the postseason was not injury but an August trade to the Cardinals for John Tudor.

Guerrero was having, by his standards, a sub-par season, with 5 HRs and a 783 OPS in 240 plate appearances--for comparison's sake he had 33 HR and 955 OPS the previous season, and 17 HR, 863 OPS in 1989. It was all downhill from there; in retrospect the Dodgers traded him at the perfect time.
   12. scruff Posted: September 19, 2001 at 08:38 PM (#72693)
Great call Jay. I just assumed it was an injury (why are Pedro's so injury prone?). I remember a lot of that season, but the deal slipped my mind. I filled in most of the cracks in my memory w/BB-Reference, but missed that one.

That's a great challenge deal at the deadline. These days it's always a star for kids in July. Thanks for the correction.
   13. Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast Posted: September 19, 2001 at 11:47 PM (#72694)
Look, I'm not saying the '88 Dodgers were a juggernaut. I'm just saying they were a very good team, better than most people give them credit for. Yes, their offense left a lot to be desired. However, the strength of the team was not its offense, but its phenomenal pitching.

In the starting nine, there was one superstar (Gibson), four pretty decent players (Shelby, Marshall, Sax, Scioscia) and three stiffs (Stubbs, Griffin, Hamilton). On the bench, they had an equal number of stiffs (Mike Davis, Dave Anderson, Tracy Woodson) and valuable role players (Dempsey, Hatcher).

If memory serves, there was never a pennant race. The Dodgers jumped out to a lead in mid-May and they maintained a pretty consistent lead the whole year. And if, as some claim, clutch hitting is a fiction, then someone forgot to tell the Dodgers. Even lousy players like Stubbs and Hamilton seemed to come up with big hit after big hit.

By the time they got to the end of the World Series, Gibson and Scioscia were hurt. So in the decisive Game 5, they fielded perhaps the weakest starting lineup in Series history:

1. Sax (.668 OPS)
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: September 20, 2001 at 01:35 AM (#72695)
If memory serves me correctly, the 1988 Dodgers won something like 1 out of 12 games against the Mets in the regular season, not usually the sign of a standout team. I'd rate that NLCS just below the 1973 Mets-Reds on a list of all-time LCS upsets. Kirk Gibson had many great moments, and a few pretty good seasons, but he ain't never was no superstar. Hershiser carried that team in postseason, in a continuation of a year in which (again, I'm relying on memory) he set some sort of record for consecutive scoreless innings. Another pitcher like that, and those Dodgers might have beaten the '76 Reds or '98 Yankees in a short series.

To my way of thinking, any team that wins the World Series is by definition the best team of that year, but I simply can't think of a worse starting eight since WWII ever to win a Series. Put that team up in a giant round robin regular season, where they play every other post-war champion a dozen or so times, and the only teams they would have the proverbial Chinaman's chance against would be the '59 Dodgers, the '60 Pirates, the '85 Royals, or the '87 Twins. And of those four, only the '87 Twins would have to be considered an underdog.

And Scruff...

Having watched just about every post-season (and many regular season) pitch of both the 1972-74 A's and the 1996-2000 (and counting) Yanks, I don't think there's any question but that the Yankees are the superior team, in that (a) their starting lineup had more real guns and fewer huge holes than the A's; and (b) on both sides of their threepeat, the A's were skunked in the ALCS, whereas the Yankees were perhaps one bad pitch away from being in a position to win their sixth straight Series this year. That said, I think the A's would have given even the '98 Yankees the fight of their lives, with that great pitching depth of theirs (plus Reggie and Rudi and Campy and Sal), and in a short series, there is no way the Yankees could have gone off any more than maybe 5 1/2 - 6 1/2, 6 - 7 absolute tops. Both teams had (have) some kind of intangible factor which is absolutely necessary to keep winning all those close October games. (Perhaps intangibly defined as Darrold Knowles or Mike Stanton.)
   15. SeanForman Posted: September 20, 2001 at 03:38 AM (#72696)
Here is a little something, I've developed for Eventually (actually it is already set up), you will be able to create this summary for any team from 1901 to the present. You can also get the standings on any date in history, produce the best/worst N games for any team for any season, etc. Of course, my next question is how much per year, would you pay for this service? ;-)

   16. scruff Posted: September 20, 2001 at 02:22 PM (#72697)
Sean, I would defintely be willing to pay for such a service. I'd probably shell out $29.95 a year for that without hesitation. More than that and I'd still justify it. But I've also donated a bunch more than that (as I encourage everyone who reads to do) to your tip jar as well, so I might not be the best one to ask. How soon before you actually make this fully functional?
   17. Bob T Posted: September 20, 2001 at 05:55 PM (#72698)
As Sean's post about the 1988 Dodgers season shows, the Dodgers lost 10 of 11 games to the Mets. One game was rained out. I believe that in 1983, the Dodgers had won 11 of 12 against the Phillies and the Dodgers made a quick exit against them in the NLCS. And the 1983 Dodgers were not too much different from the 1988 version. Lots of pitching and some very weak offensive performers taking crucial ABs in the playoffs (Where have you gone, Jack Fimple?)
   18. scruff Posted: September 20, 2001 at 08:49 PM (#72699)
Sean one other question. Would there be a way to get starting pitcher data on the list (I'd pay extra :-) )? If so, would that mean you could set the script to compute run support for starters for past years? Any data that could be added for starting pitcher run support for prior seasons would be a major plus.
   19. Shredder Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:35 PM (#202756)
Umm, Schoeneweis? Was that a joke, or did you mean to put Washburn in there?
   20. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:38 PM (#202757)
That might explain why everyone laughed at my Cy Young ballot.
   21. Nasty Nate Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:43 PM (#202758)
AL East team:
   22. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:49 PM (#202759)
Shredder, do you think that hurts my chances of becoming a major league GM?

"Really? You'll give me Schoeneweis for Ryan Franklin straight up? Okay."
   23. Larry Bowa Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:51 PM (#202760)
NL East Team:

The Philles.

Ok, seriously:

C Piazza
   24. Max Parkinson Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:53 PM (#202762)

Maybe Halladay earned a spot in that rotation, no?
   25. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:53 PM (#202764)
NL Central team (kinda weak, IMO):

C: Kendall
   26. Larry Bowa Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:54 PM (#202765)
Actually, I do know how to spell my team's name. I spelled it like that so that there'd be no "I" in Phillies. Except for the first one.

Maybe Rollins over Cabrera for SS?

And if not for Beckett and his blisters...
   27. Dan Turkenkopf Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:54 PM (#202768)
Why not?

NL East team:

C: Piazza
   28. Nasty Nate Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:56 PM (#202769)
I think you need Andruw Jones on the NL East team.
   29. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 23, 2002 at 08:57 PM (#202770)
Interesting that Jimbo's list and mine were so close -- the only real difference was my desire to include (or mention) Berkman and Pujols. Oh, and for RPs, I would definitely have Dotel and Wagner, then maybe Kline.
   30. Dan Turkenkopf Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:00 PM (#202773)
Wow. . I get distracted in the middle of the post and I miss like 10 posts including my division
   31. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:02 PM (#202777)
Considering that he's never really played the position (until this coming year, perhaps), I'm not so sure if Durham belongs as the CF for the NL West team -- not that there are any great alternatives, either. (Finley?)
   32. Larry Bowa Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:05 PM (#202778)
Oh, forgot relievers! We'll just sign a couple $3 million/year contracts and be done with it.


   33. GMR Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:06 PM (#202781)
My NL East team matched Dan's (#14) exactly except for fourth starter, where I had Wolf instead of Leiter. No big deal. (I even had Furcal/Cabrera/Rollins all down at SS.) If you could get away with Chipper at third, it would be even better. Cliff Floyd is also available to play 1B/OF/DH, since he's now on his third NL East team in the last year.
   34. bunyon Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:08 PM (#202782)
The NL East team sure has good pitching. Maddux, Millwood, Glavine. Man, all those Braves starters are awesome.

What? You're kidding.
   35. Mikαεl Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:11 PM (#202784)
If the goal is to build a team, not just a lineup, Berkman and Abreu/Sheffield should return to the corners where they belong. The runs they'd cost with the glove, compared to Andruw and Edmonds, would more than offset the offensive differences.
   36. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:17 PM (#202788)
IMO, the NL Central has the best OFs -- at least the most depth -- although I agree that the AL West has the best SPs. For overall talent, though, I still like the AL East.
   37. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:19 PM (#202789)
Re: AL West vs NL Central in three years, don't forget Pi?eiro.

The AL West has good starters, good bullpen, and a good infield. Maybe a little weak in th OF, but pretty good defensively.
   38. Nasty Nate Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:22 PM (#202790)
I want my coctail!! FRUIT!!
   39. Danny Posted: December 23, 2002 at 09:50 PM (#202795)

   40. Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day Posted: December 23, 2002 at 10:08 PM (#202797)
For all of the AL West fans:

What, no love for Freddy Garcia?
   41. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 23, 2002 at 10:09 PM (#202798)
Seems to me, Danny, that if you are going to claim that the AL West has a pitching staff "perhaps matching the NL West," that you must be basing this on the whole staff, because if you just looked at the #1 & #2, no one would match Johnson and Schilling.

Not that looking at the whole staff is wrong -- I agree that for these purposes, you have to compare all the players involved -- but if you do that, you cannot then claim that Bonds/Finley/Green is better than the NL Central OF, simply because Bonds is so dominant. Bonds beats any NL Central OFer, but that's it.
   42. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 23, 2002 at 10:22 PM (#202799)
I concur with Vinay; Kotsay should be the NL West's CF.
   43. TFB Posted: December 23, 2002 at 10:22 PM (#202800)
I think Danny's point was that Bonds is so much better than everyone else that an outfield that includes him is better than any other, even when comparing all the players involved.
   44. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: December 23, 2002 at 10:43 PM (#202804)
TFB --

I understand Danny's point -- I'm just pointing out (inarticulately) that perhaps adding up total RARP isn't the most appropriate measure here. (For instance, when saying that the AL West has a rotation as good as the NL West's, much of this relies on the fact that #3 Washburn is better than #3 Perez, #4 Mulder is better than #4 Nomo, and #5 Piniero is better than #5 Schmidt -- which hints that the AL West would fare better in a five game series even after losing Games 1 and 2 to Johnson and Schilling.)

Of course, (a) analyzing pitching is different from hitting, especially considering that SPs only play once every 5 days, and (b) this gets into the philosophical debate of having 1 Bonds and a bunch of stiffs versus a more well-rounded team, but those are other issues. Maybe total RARP is the best measure; I'm just saying it's not quite settled in my head.
   45. Fadeaway: The Baseball History Podcast Posted: December 24, 2002 at 12:09 AM (#202808)
Mark Field,
   46. Mike Posted: December 24, 2002 at 12:41 AM (#202809)
3B Travis Fryman (Would Chris Truby get enough PT to qualify?)

Probably more than Fryman, since he's retired.
   47. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: December 24, 2002 at 01:13 AM (#202810)
AL Central 25 or Under Team--
   48. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: December 24, 2002 at 02:11 AM (#202812)
Cool, I have an evil twin!

Actually, four of them do: Olerud, Percival, Anderson, and... he he... Schoeneweis.

I did misspell Garret, though. That has to count for something.
   49. Mark Field Posted: December 24, 2002 at 02:24 AM (#202813)

No offense, but what were you smoking when you picked Santiago over LoDuca for catcher in the N.L. West?

I guess it was the same stuff that the All-Star voters were smoking. Seriously, LoDuca had an OPS+ of 100, Benito's was 107. I don't know how to evaluate catcher defensive stats, but my observation is that Benito is better defensively.

If Green can play center, then your outfield is clearly better, but now there's no leadoff hitter. I put Durham in CF because the Giants seem likely to play him there and Neifi (gag) at 2B.
   50. John Posted: December 24, 2002 at 09:27 AM (#202818)
NL East
   51. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 24, 2002 at 09:36 AM (#202820)
? Shredder, do you think that hurts my chances of becoming a major league GM?

"Really? You'll give me Schoeneweis for Ryan Franklin straight up? Okay."

Actually, I think it makes you Kenny Williams.

   52. Dylan B Posted: December 24, 2002 at 01:06 PM (#202822)
Well, The AL East has the top offensive catcher, 3b and cf from last year and the second best 1b, 2b, ss, with the 3rd best lf. Only rf would be weak by comparision, but you could always put Damon or Stewart in the outfield over Nixon to make up for that. Only problem with the AL East team is that Damon is the only player above average defensively for his position.
   53. KDub's CellPiece (BLtDH) Posted: December 24, 2002 at 03:18 PM (#202824)
AL Central 25 or Under Team--

And how about Borchard in the OF ahead of any of these guys-

...Milton Bradley, Coco Crisp (is this a joke?), hopefully Alex Ascobar

Bernal, you wouldn't happen to be a Wahoos fan, would you???
   54. Mark Field Posted: December 24, 2002 at 04:36 PM (#202825)

Kotsay and Durham are pretty even as hitters, but I presume Kotsay is better defensively in CF.

I'm sure you're right about the defense, but I wouldn't call them "even" as hitters if we're talking about them leading off. Durham has a career OBP of .352 compared to a league average of .341. Kotsay is .337/.335. In addition, Durham has stolen 225 bases in 300 attempts, Kotsay is 63/97. Still, it's a fair point whether this gain in offense is worth sacrificing Kotsay's almost certainly better defense.
   55. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: December 24, 2002 at 10:42 PM (#202826)
I debated long and hard about John Garland. There is just something about him that I don't like. As for Josh Bard, don't underestimate him. The guy can play. In fact I wouldn't be suprised to see the Indians have Victor Martinez play some 3rd in Buffalo this year.
   56. bob mong Posted: January 03, 2003 at 10:38 PM (#202827)
Here is an AL West team. For my team, I used 2002 numbers (in comparing) and 2002 teams & positions. I didn't move players around (for example, Tejada didn't get moved to 2nd), even in the outfield (I didn't move Ichiro! to CF, for another example), and I tried to construct a team much as a GM would construct a team going into a season. Mostly this mattered when building a pitching staff.

Here it is (hitters that bat lefty and pitchers that throw lefty are denoted with an asterisk (*)):

Starting Lineup:
   57. villageidiom Posted: September 22, 2003 at 06:41 PM (#544092)
IIRC, there are more off-days in the ALDS than in the rest of the playoff series. If so, Pedro could potentially start game 2 and yet still be available for game 5 on close to regular rest. I'm not worried about pushing him or resting him extra so he can start game 1.

Not to count my chickens, but my postseason tickets came in the mail on Friday. Yeah, yeah, the Sox have to get there first... but I'm giddy because I've never held actual OR potential World Series tickets in my hands before. Blows my mind.
   58. Walt in Maryland Posted: September 22, 2003 at 06:59 PM (#544093)
Also with the "not counting chickens" disclaimer, has anyone thought about the possible ALDS rotation, beyond using Pedro for Games 1 and 5, of course.

I'm thinking they should use Wakefield in Game 2 and Lowe in Game 3, rather than the other way around.

Here's why. It's likely to be warmer in Oakland than in Boston, and Wakefield sometimes struggles to get the feel of the knuckler when it's cold out.

Plus, Lowe has been MUCH more effective at Fenway than on the road, so saving him for Game 3 would make sense. And if it does happen to be chilly, he'll be that much tougher.

I guess Burkett would be the best option for Game 4, but I sure hope he isn't the only thing standing between the Sox and elimination. Depending on where the off-day falls, Wakefield could be available to pitch in relief in this game.
   59. Phil Riley Posted: September 22, 2003 at 07:01 PM (#544094)
Vanfleetino, correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to recall that BBWA MVP guidelines mention plenty about judging a player's individual accomplishments, but absolutely nothing about his team. Hence the contention that "the MVP doesn't go to the "best player" in the league, it goes to the player whose contributions to the team are the most indispensible to its success" seems dubious.

That isn't to say that baseball writers, a group of rather limited intelligence, don't vote that way, but even in terms that a sportswriter would understand, Pedro is definitely not the player most valuable to his team this year...

To demonstrate:

The Sox are 18-9 when Pedro pitches this year, 91-64 overall. This means the Sox are 73-55 when he doesn't pitch.

If we erase Pedro's starts, and extrapolate that 73-55 out to 155 games, we get 88-67, or 3 games worse than the Sox are now. So to all appearances, Pedro has added about 3 wins to the Sox' record this year.

Of course, that's not really a valid measure, since the Sox have given him lousy run support and bullpen support. But it does seem that given all the context, Pedro's not all THAT valuable.

   60. Darren Posted: September 22, 2003 at 08:29 PM (#544096)

You're treading a thin line. You're eliminating ARod because the press won't vote for a lastplace team guy. But then you're saying that Mr. 14-win Pedro has a shot.

I don't think Pedro has a shot at winning and I don't think he deserves to win, for different reasons, of course.
   61. villageidiom Posted: September 22, 2003 at 08:56 PM (#544097)
I'm guessing I'm just stating what Darren chose not to, but...

It won't happen because (a) Pedro's Cy Young case will be laughed away, deserved or not, and (b) there's no way a pitcher will get MVP without getting the Cy Young.

It shouldn't happen because, by nearly any measure, you can find plenty of other players who have contributed more to their teams this year than Pedro has. He has contributed a lot, for sure, but others have clearly contributed more.
   62. Dave Cyprian Posted: September 22, 2003 at 10:08 PM (#544099)
One of the top 5 or 10 reasons I have to look forward to the postseason this year is to see a little Pedro relief pitching. All you older wisers may tell me it won't happen based on his newish unsurpassed pampering but we've seen him do it before. A player with the passion to win and the tools to do it is exactly what our bullpen needs. I'm dreaming that Grady's recent "hot hand" remarks about the state of the bullpen wind up passing the ball to our 200 strike-out ERA leader.


P.S. Screw it give Arroyo the start Pedro pitch last 5-8 outs every night!
   63. Darren Posted: September 22, 2003 at 11:58 PM (#544101)
Remember, though, that Pedro's relief stint came on 4 days rest. Maybe in game 7 of the World Series, the Sox would consider using him in relief on 2 days rest. o

What I'm saying is that by the conventional wisdom of the sportswriters who vote on the award, a pitcher who ISN"T the best pitcher in the league should still be able to win the MVP. If Jayson Stark is seriously going to take a look at Shannon Stewart and Garret Anderson for MVP, then why not Pedro?

First, Stark is going against conventional wisdom with those picks. Second, I think conventional wisdom would say that you can't get the MVP without getting the Cy Young. And finally, I still think his wins and IP are too low for the conventional sportswriters.
   64. scott Posted: September 23, 2003 at 03:08 AM (#544102)
Pedro deserves the Cy Young. his ERA, K's, and general brilliance on the mound is obvious. Halladay is a great story and a horse, but not as good a pitcher as pedro this year. Loaiza won't reach 20 wins. if pedro makes 15 wins, he has an outside shot of it.

   65. Phil Riley Posted: September 23, 2003 at 05:05 PM (#544107)
The treatment of Arroyo by Grady is the most obvious sign of his complete incompetence in bullpen management. Arroyo has pitched 3!!! times in a month. Sauerbeck has pitched 3 times in the last week. Even Jones has gotten more appearances.

Grady seems to have categorized Arroyo as purely long relief, and will not even consider him in other roles, despite the fact that his other options wouldn't break spring training camp with the Devil Rays. Most infuriating is his insistence on using Sauerbeck to pitch against lefties, without apparently realizing that the platoon advantage is far less important than the difference between a competent relief pitcher and one who UTTERLY BLOWS.

I wish I understood Sauerbeck's problems. I can understand Williamson's personal situation, and I can understand Todd Jones may be distracted as he deals with his confusion about his sexual orientation. But the heck's wrong with Sauerbeck?
   66. Phil Riley Posted: September 23, 2003 at 10:47 PM (#544109)
That would be the first time someone's been rested a whole month in anticipation of a possible start.
   67. Phil Riley Posted: September 24, 2003 at 01:05 AM (#544111)
Thanks. :)

I can't believe Grady had Arroyo warming tonight, and then sends in Sauerbeck. I just cannot believe it.
   68. tfbg9 Posted: September 24, 2003 at 01:51 PM (#544129)
How cool was that swing by Ortiz last night? He shoulda run it out though, I thought, because it only cleared the monster by about 5-6 feet, it looked like. At the risk of jinxing, it would be nice to get this thing the hell over with ASAP. What a zany year so far!
   69. Nasty Nate Posted: September 24, 2003 at 02:35 PM (#544132)
From the right field grandstand it was apparent right away that Ortiz's ball was not coming back. Walker's looked like a fly out to the track at first.
   70. down in durham Posted: September 24, 2003 at 04:00 PM (#544133)
i got tickets thursday night! is it wrong for me to root for the mariners tonight so i can be at fenway for the clinch?
   71. Phil Riley Posted: September 24, 2003 at 07:07 PM (#544137)
Walker with a clutch, game-tying home run? Looks like the Sox couldn't resist stealing signs last night... shame, shame.
   72. tfbg9 Posted: September 24, 2003 at 07:12 PM (#544139)
It sure looked closer on ESPN.
   73. villageidiom Posted: September 24, 2003 at 07:23 PM (#544140)
i got tickets thursday night! is it wrong for me to root for the mariners tonight so i can be at fenway for the clinch?

Yes. Under the Red Sox Nation by-laws, Article XXVII, Section 4, Part 1, subsections viii through ix, rooting for other teams to win is forbidden except when (a) a victory by said team improves Boston's chances for a postseason berth, or (b) a victory by said team is neutral to the postseason race but accomplishes other generally-accepted goals (for example, beating the Yankees). Thus it is illegal for members of Red Sox Nation to root for Seattle before the Sox clinch.

As chance would have it, I will also be up in Boston on Thursday. As much as I'd like to see them clinch, I'd rather they maximize the number of meaningless games.

Besides, I don't have tickets yet. I'm hoping they clinch tonight, and drive down the scalpers' prices for Thursday...
   74. down in durham Posted: September 24, 2003 at 10:47 PM (#544142)
ok. i see. and the mariners loss makes the whole point moot as it is never appropriate to root against the team.

is it wrong to root for the yankees to beat the twins in order for roger clemens' last game to be a humiliating loss at fenway?

plus is it wrong that i sometimes root for balls to drop in the outfield so that pedro might strike out batters instead of having him get outs on balls hit in play?

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