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Tuesday, May 02, 2006


madson has a nasy curve ball but he never throws the damn thing. i would like to see him, myers and floyd throw the breaking ball more often. who does marzano want into the rotation? franklin or does he want hamels up (like i do)? i'm not a fan of those new stats - Bobby is not the second most clutch player in baseball. stats lie.

Why don't you like the stats tim? Because they don't arrive to your pre-approved conclusions?

This whole "clutch" hitting scenario in baseball is annoying. Hitting is hitting, plain and simple. 1st inning homeruns count as much as 9th inning homeruns. Now, I understand the concept of clutch hitting, but to try and formulate it is absurd. It all seems to subjective and opinion based to me. Yankee fans will argue that Jeter is clutch, but stats show he is not. Who the hell really knows? Can't we just be happy knowing a player is good and not further judging them on clutch-ness? Burrell is a very solid left fielder. As far as being clutch, I'm not sure, but I know he hits and like I said before, all hits matter!

Shore at The Good Phight has some interesting clutch stats from a large longitudinal data set drawn from Retrosheet.

So.... Madson's problems occur when he faces the lineup for the second time, eh?

Runs surrendered per out recorded for Madson:
Innings 1-2: .51 runs/out
Innings 3-4: .2 runs/out
Innings 5 on: .18 runs/out

It seems to my untrained eye that the problems have been in the early innings, not the late ones.

That clutch stat is useful as a descriptive metric for what Burrell has done this year, but the sample size is WAY to small to come to any conclusions abuor overall cluthciness. Burrell hit well according to that metric in 2005 and according to Shore's data.

Do you supposed some of those early-inning numbers are skewed by the 9 runs he gave up to Washington in the first and second inning on April 14?

Yes, I do, in fact, suspect the 9 runs he gave up in 1+ innings has something to do with that stat. But, if he's prone to give up 9 runs the first time hitters see him in a game, isn't that saying that he'd be worse as a reliever than as a starter?

My point: Whatever the merits of moving Madson to the bullpen, contending that his problem is with the second time the hitters see him doesn't hold water.

To me, he's had 2 outstanding starts, 2 moderately bad starts, and one horrendous start. I don't see how it's time to give up on him in the rotation quite yet.

"But, if he's prone to give up 9 runs the first time hitters see him in a game, isn't that saying that he'd be worse as a reliever than as a starter?"

Sure, but I'd rather look at the previous two seasons as my basis. The "second-time through the lineup thing" is just a way of saying hitters figure out his pitches. Think about his pitches: Mediocre fastball, good changeup, curve he doesn't use and couldn't control last night.

I'm not ready to give up on this experiment yet, but he needs to show something soon.

the "clutch" stat from the hardball times is interesting, but i think they are perverting the idea of clutch in baseball. clutch is not a stat, but if it were it would have to include average with RISP and 2 outs, hits past the 7th inning in close games, magnitude of game in which hit occurred, etc (some things may not even BE measurable). the "clutch" stat is fine, but i don't think avg RISP and HR w/ runners on equals clutch.

Any one of Madson's three pitches can be an out pitch if he's mixing and locating them effectively. His changeup was his primary out pitch in 2004 - he got many strikeouts with it. The guy's just out of whack right now. He needs some sideline work to get his game plan and his mechanics on track. To me, the last thing you want in a relief pitcher is a guy who doesn't know where the ball's going, and that's where Madson is at right now.

I don't buy the idea that he's more hittable or predictable the further he goes into games. I don't think he's pitching intelligently on the whole and I don't think he's pitching with much conviction. The whole key is being able to use his curve effectively, because without it he then only does have the two pitches. He's got to get straightened out, but the bullpen is not the place where it's going to happen.

I just want to add something unrelated about Chase Utley, because there was a moment in the game last night that was more or less lost in the the second or third inning, Utley was hitting with runners on first and second and was putting together a tough AB against Willis. Deep in the count, Willis busted him hard inside and Utley, mostly in defense, swung along with his body to avoid the pitch, and his bat snapped right at the handle. On the very next pitch, he not only hung in there, but he *pulled* a fastball in the hole for an RBI single. That guy never ceases to amaze me. He is one fearless cat.

Well said, Rick.

john marzano also said in the offseason that the phils number one priority should be to re-sign billy wagner at any cost. how's that blog comin, marz?

My idea of 'clutch' is a guy who doesn't go away from a game plan and get caught up in the adrenalin of the moment when he comes up to hit in an important situation. The best clutch hitters are ones who want to be up there in a tight spot, and it does set them apart because most players, like most anyone else human, are susceptible to issues of confidence and awareness of expectaions. They hear the crowd most acutely and let the environment heighten the tension. The ones who can block it out, or still more impressively, feed off of that environment, will always be in a minority. The two best examples of this playing right now are Pujols and Ortiz. Lenny Dykstra was a rare Phillie example of this moxie, and Utley has it all over him, too. They might fail, but they aren't going to go quietly.

While it's technically true that first-inning homers count the same as ninth-inning homers, there's a reason why games decided in the late innings reveal more about a team than what happens in the early innings. Would Bobby Thomson's homerun on the last day of the season be as universally recalled if it had come against a last-place team in May? 'Pressure' is not a myth. These are the more memorable games, the more intense situations, and if you don't have a majority of players who respond well under those conditions, your team will be a loser. It's the kind of thing that often builds on a team during a season, one way or another. A team with an un-championship-like roster can sometimes get on a collective roll with late-inning heroics, like the '89 Cubs or '93 Phillies; or a team that's great on paper can be done in by a lack of response late in games that snowballs and builds and winds up affecting the unit as a whole as well as its individual players - a team much like...oh, let me see now...

First of all, I don't know what goes into those statistics. But even trusting their accuracy, it's difficult to gain any conclusions from them. Yes, Burrell is right at the bottom, but look at all the other great players in the negatives too--Adam Dunn, Jason Bay, David Wright, Carlos Delgado, Ryan Howard, among other solid players. The only factor I see that almost all the players share is a propensity to strike out a lot. Which makes a lot of sense, as striking out is an action which cannot possibly drive in a run.

I also don't buy that Madson's biggest problem is a shortage of pitches. With a small sample size grain of salt, here are the runs per batter he's allowed in his first, second, third and fourth times through the order this year.

1 .267 RPB .211 ERPB 45 BF
2 .159 RPB .146 ERPB 41 BF
3 .191 RPB .191 ERPB 34 BF
4 .000 RPB .000 ERPB 9 BF

48% of the runs scored against Madson have come during his first time through the order. Granted, in his last two starts, it was the third time through the order that gave him the biggest problem. I'm going to wait and see if that trend sticks in his next couple starts before backing Marzano's theory. One can't draw conclusions with just two starts.

Well, if Abreu is amongst the league leaders in the "clutch" category ... that means Burrell doesn't have as many opportunities b/c Abreu knocks them in. Burrell has been playing his role well ... he is providing a power bat to buffer Abreu and Howard ...

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