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Saturday, August 21, 2010


Not to wish the rookie ill, but I hope the Phillies are able to figure out Strasburg!

Don't know if this was mentioned on last night's game thread, but for those who listen on the radio and have heard the commercial ad naseum...Wasn't Franzke's joke, "Is it 'Fern Green?'" after he and LA compared watching Marquis pitch to watching paint dry, funny? I burst out laughing. Clever.

I don't wish the rookie ill at all. I just hope he gets pummeled. In the nicest way possible, of course.

Probably one of the least likely days left for the Phils to gain a game on the Braves. Gorzelanny has pitched well but the Cubs are scuffling and the Braves have Hanson on the mound (their best pitcher). Phils have Kendrick up against Strasburg. At least we're at home.

In other words, today feels like a potential loss?

"Gaudy," according to the American Heritage Dictionary: "Characterized by tasteless or showy ornaments; garish."

There is certainly nothing "tasteless" about a high win total. But it is "showy," in the sense that it stands out to the casual fan but is fairly empty when compared to at least 5 or 6 other measures of a pitcher's performance.

And, yeah, I meant Felix Hernandez.

"Ryan Howard has just been activated. Ross Gload to the DL."


Zolecki (via Twitter): "The Phillies have activated Ryan Howard from the DL. They placed Ross Gload on the DL (strained right groin) to make room for him on roster."

More injury shenanigans for the Fightins. If Gload was unable to play, why not just put him on the DL from the beginning? It's as if r00b has a short bench fetish or something.

The Phillies have not faced Strasburg, and that is never good. My biggest concern is the SP for the Phillies. Here are the respective starters tonight and tomorrow, with their historical stats vs. the Nats, and their stats vs. players who are on the Nats today:

Kendrick: .316 .378 .510, 173 PA, 6.93 ERA

vs current Nats: .383 .441 .767
(69 PA)

Zimmerman .538 .625 1.077, 1 HR

Harris .385 .429 1.000, 2 HR

Kennedy .444 .500 .667,
Oswalt: .226 .284 .343, 226 PA, 3.72 ERA

Vs current Nats: .251 .332 .491, 202 PA

Vs Dunn: .274 .391 .575, 4 HR

Kennedy: .429 .467 .643
With 1 HR

Zimmerman: .250 .267 .750, 1 HR

Take some of the individual faceoffs with a grain of salt because of sample sizes.

We could speculate about how W/L may be meaningful or we could actually see what happened. Doc has had a better season.

Sopist - in no way am I suggesting that blanket valuing of W/L should trump all other measures. What I am saying, however, is that it certainly can be a valuable indicator of a pitcher's performance, and in particular contributions to his team - and that it can emphasize elements that don't get caught in other ways.

Do I think that Ubaldo has had a better year than Doc? No way. However, I do think that Doc makes a stronger case for having performed, recently, so well when he's had limited run support. He could have performed only slightly worse according to various measures and lost some of those very same games he won. In those situations, the W/L measure was actually more informative than other measures.

For example, as measured by whip or BB/9 - last night would not seem like a particularly good game for him. But when you consider that he won a game when his team only allowed one run, the W/L statistic become meaningful.

Howard was activated, IMHO, for one reason:

Charlie wants the power in the lineup vs Strasburg. One bif dinger could make the difference tonight, though I really think it will boil down to which KK shows up:

Will it be "Good" KK, who can keep the Phils in the game until Strasbur's pitch count gets elevated and they can go after the Washington bullpen (although last night wasn't a great indicator), or will it be the KK who elevates the ball and gets pummeled?

Yeah, Dunn has good career numbers in 87 PA against Oswalt. Besides that your talking about small samples. Kennedy is 6-14 and Zimmerman is 3-12. No one who's faced him more than 10 times has done much of anything.

Gtown - Gload started the game a few days ago and PH in another. He is "able to play." The DL stint comes down to the fact that he's not quite 100%, Howard is a LHB, and Sweeney is a backup RHB at first. Would you rather carry 2 backup 1B, one of whom doesn't add much besides his bat, or send Brown down? Let Gload heal up.

"Howard was scheduled to play a second rehab game Saturday night, this time at triple-A Lehigh Valley, where they were expecting a sellout crowd. They will have to settle for seeing Greg Dobbs, who cleared waivers and accepted his minor-league assignment Saturday."

Sucks for those fans!

Full Article: Surprise! Howard Activated From DL

sophist: Exactly right. It's crazy to carry 3 guys whose only position is 1B. Gload is a bad outfielder. Brown is the right choice.

flipper - we don't disagree.

Dave - Yeah it has been one of the odder undercurrents to this season is the refusal to send guys to the DL and then play a week with a man down.

It reach the height of absurdity when they carried 13 pitchers for a few games. Remember hearing that no other team in MLB this season had carried 13 pitchers and with good reason.

Howard was probably ready to return a few days ago, but, as Sophist posted earlier, Howard was apparently a little tentative. He wasn't still hurt, but he wasn't going all out. I bet it only took that one game for him to get past his concern.

Yeah, it does suck for those LHV guys who bought tickets expecting to see Howard. Oh well. I'm sure that the Iron Pigs have enough dedicated fans that they can afford to alienate those who bought tickets expecting to see Howard.

The Big Problem probably wanted a crack at The Second Coming. Can't wait to see it!

Sophist: Did you see Gload try to move around when he played the other day? He's not even remotely able to play. I suppose if he had hit a HR -- which is not unheard of -- ol' Ross might have found a way to Gibson himself around the base paths. In any other situation he is a dead duck, either attempting to run the bases or play 1B. He ought to have been placed on the DL from the get-go. It probably doesn't matter much, but the Phillies have carried a player who is physically unable to play on their roster for a week or so before eventually sending him to the DL anyway several times this season. It doesn't take an MD to know that Gload's injury was gonna take more than a day or two off to heal. I don't get the hesitation to make a move.

Phils are actually favored tonight in every betting line (-160 to -175). Go figure. I would have thought the Nats would be slightly favored by a narrow margin.

Gload started a game a few days ago. He made a great defensive play at 1B. How were they a man down?

For me, the W-L record is meaningless, because it is something that the pitcher (as a pitcher) has absolutely no control over. Let's forget that a pitcher could theoretically hit a homerun and pitch a shutout, thus ensuring a win. I mean, just on the mound, the pitcher has absolutely no control over whether his team gets a win or a loss. Nothing he does on the mound guarantees that the team will win or lose. All he can do is put his team in the best position to win any game. That's where all peripherals stats come in, and they tell the tale of how well he pitches and how often he puts his team in great shape to win a game.

To wit, Saber folks seem to take the best approach to measuring pitchers by looking at only things they can control. Better pitchers will do things that Halladay excels at, which is not walking batters often, being economical with their pitch count, having a good K/9 ratio, having a good GB/FB ratio. If a pitcher doesn't give up free bases, keeps more hit balls on the ground where they cn be played, strikes out almost 1 hitter every inning, goes deep into games (thus having to rely on other pitchers), etc, he will be a good pitcher. In a cumulative case sense, Halladay does this better than any pitcher in the NL, Wainwright being a close second.

MG, Nats have something like 3 wins in their last 24 games at CBP. Or something like that.

Gtown - Then why did Manuel start him? I don't think he was 100%, but he was available as a PH and felt well enough to start. I was available and better than Dobbs would have been.

anybody ever sit in the hall of fame club at the ballpark? is it worth the extra cash? $80 on stubhub

Hall of Fame club is really cool. Tons of AWESOME memorabilia from the entire history of baseball in Philadelphia in a private air-conditioned concourse, good food options, not crowded, good views. Personally I think it's a really neat experience.

Sophist: Clearly, we disagree on Gload's usefulness since 11 August. I do not question the Phillies sending him to the DL, I question why they didn't do it much earlier ... say, on 12 August.

Like I said, it probably doesn't make much difference, as Dobbs would probably have stayed on until Howard came back. I'm just thinking w/ the stretch run at hand I'd rather suck up the loss of Gload to the DL immediately & get him back ASAP. Now he won't be available until September, whereas he might have been available, & healthy, a week & a half earlier if placed on the DL directly following his injury.

I would venture the reason the Phils are favored tonight is that Strasburg hasn't gone more than 6 innings since June 23rd (8 starts), and has gone 5.2 or less in 4 of those starts. Added into that is the not very good bullpen of the Nats and the fact that the Phils have a good offense and are home. I would give the Phils an advantage tonight as well. This game comes down to how well KK pitches, and lately, he's been pitching well.

Thanks Marley. I thought $80 was reasonable and we're not taking the kids so we can splurge a little.

yeah really. you guys are bitching about this gload thing when it would be dobbs still on the roster. and howard was coming back tomorrow anyway so it's one day early.

I can't tell whether fatalotti is writing a parody or if he's serious.

GTown, Gload was healthy enough where he was worth a spot on the 25 man bench. Didn't mean he was completely healthy, but not dire enough where he absolutely had to be DL'd. Now, with Howard back and Sweeney a RH option off the bench, Gload can fully commit himself to healing up. Also, it says something about Dobbs, that they'd rather have a half-injured Ross Gload on the bench than a fully healthy Greg Dobbs.

Sophist - KK has been lousy in his career vs. Nats, Strasburg is still Strasburg, and a -160 to -175 money line is typically more than you see for a favorite.

What you don't know about the line is what way it is moving from its original setting point and why it was set that way (if the bookies want money on the dog or favorite).

Strasburg's inability to pitch deep into games (at least so far) does give Phils fans a glimmer of hope tonight. He's only pitched into the 7th three times in his 11 starts and none since June turned to July.

Phils have to Red Sox-Yankees this guy if possible. He's on a 85-100 pitch count. Get him out of the game by the end of the 6th. If they do that and Kendrick throws a QS or thereabout, Phils have a good shot of winning this one.

clout, he's serious.

MG, how many people bet on baseball anyway? Additionally, the Phils are a big, public team and the Nats are not good. Any Joe Fannypack in a Tommy Bamaha T-shirt hanging out in Vegas will take the Phils over the Nats.

In any case, I was just throwing another data point out there.

"Also, it says something about Dobbs, that they'd rather have a half-injured Ross Gload on the bench than a fully healthy Greg Dobbs."

I do not agree w/ the first two sentences of your post, but the one quoted above is a telling point. Even so, I'd rather Gload had gone to the DL immediately in order have him back sooner rather than carry him for another ~10 days in which his presence made no difference, & during which the healing process was hindered/delayed. *shrugs*

awh: So a pitcher has no control over whether he wins or loses a game?


Dave, when the Phils kept Gload off the DL initially they didn't know he'd make no difference. They thought his bat good enough to start him in a game. Maybe you're right and he was certain to be worthless that night, but the team clearly felt otherwise.

We're talking about a 6-7 day difference anyway. He would have been DL'd on the 12th. His last appearance was the 18th.

"How many people bet on baseball anyway?"

Oh, a few names spring to mind ...

Sophist - If I recall seeing figures a year ago, it pales into comparison to football (both college and pros) and college basketball in terms of absolute dollars. Baseball though was ahead of the NBA and NHL.

Sophist - Lines and numbers intrigue me more much more than betting. I bet very small stakes ($1-$5/game) if I do bet at all and only on things I follow very, very closely.

Follow same maxim on individual stocks I own and industries I know very well especially in healthcare space.

MG, I see what you mean. Just seems that the lines in baseball are less revealing given the smaller number of people interested in betting on it. In the NFL a line like that would be corrected by the money coming in.

I wonder what kind of line there is for Tyson Gillies.

Hey I know this is late notice but would anyone like my tickets to see Ryan Howard at the Iron Pigs tonight? I believe I can email them and you can print at home. I was thinking that I was going to go hop around there on my broken ankle and am now thinking better of it. They're only on the lawn, but they are free! Let meknow your email and I'll keep checking back.

According to Matt Gelb, Howard is at CBP already. No lineup yet, though.

whoops jeanine, you spoke just a bit too soon. the big piece is back with the big boys! lets see that rare sight, the team at full strength!

MG: "(if the bookies want money on the dog or favorite)"

That's a bit of a misnomer. Casinos want the same amount of money bet on both sides. Lines move when too much money is bet on one side or the other.

Lines aren't created based on who the casinos think will win. They're set based on a number they think will generate action on both sides.

Sophist: "Just seems that the lines in baseball are less revealing given the smaller number of people interested in betting on it."

You'd be surprised. Sports betting on baseball probably has as much or more money bet in a single year if only because there are so many more games to bet on. Money per game? Sure, NFL has MLB beat... but total money bet? I'd guess it's MLB.

CJ - Money per game is the relevant question for what I'm talking about.

Thanks guys! Didn't even think to check. I feel much less bad about it now.

McCarver says that D. Lee "reeks of class."

The unpleasant smell of excellence?

How often does a relief pitcher go an entire month without giving up an earned run? Will Ryan Madson do it this month? Will Brad Lidge do it as well? I would bet on Madson doing it, but not Lidge. In fact, in the last calendar month, Ryan Madson has only given up 1 run. Yes folks, in the last month of watching Ryan Madson pitch, he's given up 1 run. Incredible relief pitcher.

howard is hitting 4th tonight, vic is hitting 5th, werth is out for brown tonight.

If Chooch were starting instead of Schneider tonight's lineup would be an '11 Phillies preview.

clout: I see what you did there. And I'll admit, I "LOL"ed. Good work. Those extra reps in the Sense of Humor cage are finally starting to pay off.

No, I think Jeanine's tickets are for the Iron Pigs, not the Phils...

Did Andruw Jones have a good outfield arm?

Very auspicious turn of events for the Cubs. Let's hope they tack on another run.

"For me, the W-L record is meaningless, because it is something that the pitcher (as a pitcher) has absolutely no control over"

No control? Slight exaggeration, no?

Cubs defense has cost them at least 2 runs this inning. Fukudome was on 2nd because of a misplay by the LF; bad throw into second got Ramirez to third; D Lee misplays a tougher ball at first and the 2B makes a bad throw to first.

excuse me, mean Braves defense.

Cholly's having so much fun with lineup roulette he's not even pulling out a preprinted form even when he can finally use one.

Old Phan, maybe a bit hyperbolic. Let me refine: a pitcher has little to almost no control over whether he gets a win (under the current rules). He does, however, have a significant amount of control in putting his team in a good situation to win. But a pitcher, more often than not, has little control over whether he leaves the game with a lead, or if his team takes the lead while he's still the pitcher of record. Perhaps they should update the rules of a pitcher's W/L record...

Leadoff walks almost always score.

Yeah, Gorzenlanny is having control problems. Wind mostly blowing at least.

Rollins 6, Polanco 5, Utley 4, Howard 3, Victorino 8, Ibanez 7, Brown 9, Schneider 2, Kendrick 1

vs RHP

You gotta put Ruiz in there!! So much for the opening day 8.

I would say Halladay's win last night was 100% in his control.

rh hitters have a .580 OPS vs strasburg. probably the reason so many lefties

Starting pitchers have more control over who wins a baseball game than ANY OTHER PLAYER ON THE FIELD.

And that's the last thing I'll say about this topic.

Dom in for Werth - here is the first shot to see 2011 lineup

Well, Halladay had nothing to do with Dunn's misplay on Ibanez ball down the line. But the gap between "absolutely no control" and "100% control" is, obviously, huge.

Elite starting pitchers have more control over a game's outcome than any other factor. That would be my guess. But there are lots of pitfalls in SP W/L.

sophist, I hope you are either Jason's mom or his employee, because it seems like you're posting up a storm every time I visit this site. In either case he's getting a bargain -- awesome 24/7 output. is really running out of stuff to write when their second top story is "The Most Important Yankee", wherein they debate who was the most influential to their 14 years of success. Isn't that something you argue about on a blog?

curt - seriously. summer job ends, 1 month til grad work starts again, dog rehabbing from surgery. lots of time for baseball, long-term school work, looking for a job.

I tried to clarify this in my last post, because I certainly misspoke in my first post on the subject. The SP may have the most control over whether the team wins or loses, but not a lot of control over whether he gets the W or the L. Hamels in his two starts against the Mets put the team in incredible shape to win both of those games, yet was saddled with the loss in each game. I fail to see how this is a good measure of how good a pitcher is. I'm open to argument in support of how those two losses on Hamels' record are indicative of his performance in those games, since that L signifies that Hamels was the reason the team lost that game, when, more to the point, the opposing pitcher and an inopportunistic offense were the primary culprits.

I like the early returns on these Derrek Lee and Alex Gonzalez, Rick Ankiel and Farnsworth trades. Not to speak too soon.

Fatalotti - no pitcher is going to win every game he should. funny that you bring up the Hamels loss to Dickey, though, because that's the case of an elite pitcher running into another on a very good run. Just like the Josh Johnson loss to Doc or the Doc loss to Josh Johnson.

Hanson with back to back walks. Hopefully Ramirez can make him pay.

4-0 Cubs. Don't blow this one.

Woohoo, 4-0! Although, this makes me shudder to think about how the Braves will undoubtedly be back in this game late.

Beating up on Hanson with a bunch of singles. 5-0.

go cubs go!

Why are we even thinking about a Braves loss until the game is a final? Did the Cubs get Bruce Sutter back?

BL not loading completley is making this discussion frustrating. I agree that the a team will not win every time a pitcher throws a great game. I'm saying that a pitcher getting saddled with a loss when he goes 8 innings and gives up 1 run is pretty terrible measuring mechanism for a pitcher's perfromance. Would you say that it was Hamels' fault that the Phillies lost that day? If it wasn't his fault, then how does he deserve a loss (other than the trivial answer that that's what the rules of W/L stipulate)? W/L, by istelf, tells you so little about a pitcher, and if you have to look peripherals in order to judge W/L, then why not skip W/L altother, and just look at the peripherals?

Fatalotti: I am choking down an incredible urge to respond in a Conlin-esque fashion. But I will politely say that while it is true that a pitcher does not have TOTAL control over the result of a game, he has more control than anyone else. Not every final score will be dictated by pitching performance, but the majority will. To say a pitcher has little or no control over the outcome of the game is just wrong.

Although if you say that a pitcher's won/loss record tells you absolutely nothing about how good that pitcher is, Jack and numerous others will agree with you (although not I.)

O's are lighting up CL, 7-2 in 5th. 4 HRs.

Billy Wagner says he's retiring after this season. Is Wagner a HOF? Will probably be 4th or 5th in career saves, and he may just have better rate numbers than Hoffman (who'd get in I'd think). He even has more K than Hoffman (in about 200 fewer IP).

The Braves don't mind losing away. It's at home at Empty Stadium that they refuse to lose.

Clout, way to ignore my last 4 posts. I clarified, vociferously at that, that I 100% agree that a pitcher has a lot of control over the result of the game, but little control over whther he (not his team) gets the win or loss on his record. I am against the W/L record as a measuring tool for a pitcher's performance, but I am NOT against the notion that a pitcher's performance has (most of the time) the single's greatest impact on the result of the game.

Also, feel free to respond to me in a Conlin-esque fashion. I will sift through your response, ignoring the vitriol and impertinence, and response to whatever rational argument you make, if any. When I responded to you the other day about ignoring my comments as you felt I was largely nonsensical, I meant that only for the sake of the board. As far as I'm concerned, brandish your sword as you will.

I'd think there are a couple things holding Wagner back.

- No championships
- not the best or maybe even the second best closer of his generation (though I make take him over Hoffman).

And, how anyone can consider W/L a respectable measure of a pitcher's performance and yet look at Oswalt's current record of 8-13 without blinking...well that is just baffling to me. 8-13, by itself, says that Oswalt is a bad pitcher; not just mediocre, but a bad pitcher. Every other peripheral suggests, strongly, that Oswalt is an excellent pitcher, and maybe even a prospective staff ace. How the two differing opinions generated by the different measurements can be coalesced without completely abandoning W/L escapes me.

Brian Startare (sp?) was talking bout BL a little whiile ago. seems to know his baseball. i wonder what his handle is...

I think a pitcher that has a record on either side of the spectrum can tell you a lot about the pitcher's performance. The middle ground (Cole's record, for example) doesn't tell you as much on its own.

Fatalotti - the debate continued because you led off your first post in the fray like this:

For me, the W-L record is meaningless, because it is something that the pitcher (as a pitcher) has absolutely no control over.

That'll set off reasonable disagreement. You're right about Oswalt this season. But note Oswalt's career W-L record. The guy is one of the winningest pitchers of the decade. There's a reason for that.

Ubaldo has 17 wins because he's been a great pitcher. But he has 5 fewer losses than Doc largely for reasons not relating to his (awful) performances this year.

Hamels may be one of the most W/L stung pitchers there is. And I'm not just talking about this year.

Among starters with at least 700 IP, he has one of the lowest win pct. ever. And he's actually pitched on good teams!

Hamels is certainly an exception to the rule. Someday he'll win 20, though.

sorry, that's at least 700 IP and a 120 ERA+ or higher.

How bout that Cliff Lee today. Ouch.

Here's a comparison

Ruth: 122 ERA+, 895.2 IP (141 GS), 55-44
Hamels: 121 ERA+, 1221.1 (148 GS, 15 relief) IP 94-46

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