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Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Comments

Repost from last thread, but plays into the current one suprisingly well...

RE: the Phils vs. Braves' great pitching staff of the 90s:
I watched a lot of Braves games in those years and what is happening in Philly is similar to what happened there: you get a historically great starting rotation going night after night and you simply are incapable of having a long losing streak.

Now, in terms of regular season success, you can go back and forth about which staff is better, but I think the current Phils staff is more set up for postseason greatness. Why? Secret sauce! (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5541)

Though Maddux was a great pitcher, he really was more of a finesse pitcher, and never really did as well in the playoffs as the regular season (I think for that reason). Ditto Glavin, who was a good though certainly not great strikeout pitcher. It was only Smoltz who was a strikeout machine, and he really had the most consistently good playoffs performances among the three.

Fast forward to the current staff, and you see all 3 of our aces have strikeout rates similar to Smoltz in his prime. If you buy into the idea that K rate is a good predictor of postseason success, you have to think this staff will perform quite well.

For this reason, I give the edge to the current Phillies staff over that Braves staff for greatness.

the Brew Crew is probably the scariest matchup. Giants second. I'd love to play Arizona though, they don't scare me even a little bit.

having said that, the Phils could very easily cruise right through to the WS, no matter who we face.

We all know anything can happen in the playoffs, especially a short series. The grumpy, pessimistic fan in me says the d-backs are the easiest ride, but the cheerful, optimist says let the Phillies face whichever teams are perceived as the toughest so that there will be no taint to the ultimate victory.

(surprisingly) interesting article from Grantland of all places:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/6843869/the-polio-vaccine-cold-fusion-advanced-pitching-stats

The Brew Crew puts the most fear in me. They, along with the Giants and Braves have good starting pitching, but the Brewers have a lot of All Stars in their batting lineup, too. The Phils are familiar with Atlanta and have a big chip on their shoulder for a Giants rematch, but Milwaukee slips under the radar and they may be the biggest threat. I vote for Milwaukee.

Is it a positive or a negative that Prince Fielder would probably eat every cheesesteak in the stadium by the fifth inning?

Conshy Matt:
I think you can make another less scientific study and just look at pictures of the pitcher in mid-delivery (the ones in the article) and by looking at those two guys you can tell right away they will never earn their income.

I'm appalled at the subject matter of this article. On Beerleaguer, you are not allowed to suggest that there is such thing as a worst matchup for the Phillies. You are only allowed to point out that we are the worst matchup for everyone else.

Prince Fielder is a vegetarian.

Brewers on paper are the worst matchup and would probably be the worst to play in a short series, since their offensive firepower could win a game or two against any pitching.

Don't the Brewers absolutely stink on the road? If you're starting a short series with two games at CBP first, that would be very helpful.

The Giants pitching matchup with the Phils is not favorable to us,particularly if we face them in a 5 game series in which Lincecum pitches twice.In a 7 game series, the Phils are the clear favorite. This isn't about the Giant's hitting, because they stink. But Rollins, Howard and Ibanez are hopeless against Lincecum. As for the Brewers, look at their road record. The Phils would handle them with no problems.The Braves are always tough, but the Phils are the better team.Problem number one is Lincecum and Cain.

RG, well they aren't smiling, a la Cliff.

heather: eh good point, didnt think of that.

Contenders Road Records:

PHI: 34-22
ATL: 33-27
ARZ: 32-27
STL: 33-29
SFG: 29-29
MIL: 24-35

Absolutely not worried about any of them.

Any team with good, dominating pitching worries as much as I feel like being worried. But I'd rather not worry about it at all until the Phillies have 100% clinched a playoff berth.

The only thing that worries me is the Phillies health. If that's not a problem, there are no problems. And that includes the WS.

To me Brewers and Giants are a tossup for worst matchup.

On paper the Brewers are a better team with better offense, and in theory, should be a tougher fight for any team. And they may be hungrier than the Giants, who caught some of that lightning in a bottle last year which probably will not be replicated.

However, the Giants are battle tested and the playoff experience of the Phils might not be as big an advantage with them. I keep coming back to the last, most recent four games that Lincecum and Cain pitched against the Phils. Phils scored a grand total of 5 runs, of which I believe 4 were earned. They lost 3 of those games; the one game the Phils won entailed an almost flawless, lockdown effort by Cole.

On paper the Phils are a better team than the Giants; heck, on paper they are arguably the best team in MLB. I understand on paper that Halladay > Lincecum, Lee > Cain, etc. But you have to be able to score more than 1.5 or 2 runs per game to have a reasonable shot at winning. Based on what the Phils have actually done against these guys, the thoughts of a short series are not pleasant.


Breweres scare me the most. Giants pitching scares me, but I'd love to see the Phils whup them real good in the NLDS, then clobber the Yankees in the WS.

Would rather play the Giants than the Brewers. The best matchup for playoff veterans is playoff rookies - Arizona.

My thoughts about the matchup issues are well-known on Beerleaguer. Good pitching usually neutralizes good hitting. The Brewers have 3 good starting pitchers and a decent, but thin, bullpen. The Giants have 3 better starting pitchers and a tremendous, deep bullpen. And, unlike the Brewers, the Giants' pitchers all have playoff experience, which counts for a lot in my book. Because of their pitching, the Giants would be tough in any short series. They would be tougher still in a 5-game series, because you'd be facing Lincecum in Games 1 and 5 &, the shorter the series, the greater the likelihood of a fluke offensive performance from someone like Cody Ross.

That said, I'm much more confident in predicting that the Brewers will make it to the post-season than I am in predicting the Giants will make it there. The Giants are built for a short series, but not so much for a 162-game season.

I think the Giants are the worst matchup because their starting pitching is much better than any of the other teams on that list, and Phils struggle with Lincecum and Cain.

Also, Phils don't seem to like to play small ball and won't manufacture runs...just sit around and run station to station or wait for someone to pop one. When you have a good pitcher that doesn't work very often.

"Phils don't seem to like to play small ball and won't manufacture runs...just sit around and run station to station or wait for someone to pop one."

Have you been watching the team this year?

I'm going to 2 of the brewers/phillies games in Milwaukee in September. Should be a good playoff preview. Only downside is that when it's raining and the dome is closed, it's sort of like watching a baseball game in a shopping mall.

Put me in the not worried camp. We're the class of the league, and we're heads and shoulders above all the other contenders who together fall into a basket of 2nd tier teams. Each offers some individual matchups that are unfavorable, but none are as unfavorable as the matchup advantages that the Phils have.

Put me in the, 'I have tremendous confidence in this team but I refuse to count eggs and call them chickents' camp. Regardless, assuming there is no historic collapse, I'd take any opponent in the field. My preference would be Pittsburgh but, they're not going to be in it.

Oh... and anything can happen in a short series... blah, blah, blah... standard disclaimer.

"Have you been watching the team this year?"

Yes? Have you? Or have I somehow missed all of Uncle Charlie's sac. bunts or suicide squeezes?

Also, the ghost of Gene Mauch is cackling at the headline.

"the shorter the series, the greater the likelihood of a fluke offensive performance from someone like Cody Ross"

Counting on a scrub to get hot at the right time and carry your pathetically anemic offense doesn't sound like a good formula for winning consistently in the post-season when facing the best pitchers in the league. It worked for the Giants last year on their way to the World Series, but let's be honest, they got extremely lucky. If not for Brooks Conrad and an epic defensive meltdown in the NLDS, the Braves would have been facing the Phils in the NLCS.

The Giants don't scare me...they are worse than the Phils in every area besides the BP. Pretty sure the Phils win that series 7 or 8 out of 10 time.

There is a wide continuum of possible styles between "small ball" (which apparently means the rarely useful suicide squeeze, and the sac. bunt, which in fact the Phillies have used plenty) and doing nothing but "sit around and run station to station or wait for someone to pop one", which is not at all the team's style of play this year.

The worst matchup for the Phils is the team with a few insanely bad guys who have stunk over their careers who get ridiculously hot for no good reason and hit anything thrown by anyone regardless of where, how or how fast its thrown.

The second worst macthup is anybody if the Phils get ridiculously cold offensively.

If both things happen at the same time even the Giants can beat them.

Bring on whomever it is - the only way to win the WS is to beat the best and right now the Phils are the best, so teams should worry about facing them not vice versa.

WS 2011 or bust!!

In a short series, I think the Phillies match most evenly with a team not even listed there, the Braves. The Giants would be a close second. The Brewers have a scary offense, but I don't think the Phillies would have a problem with their right-handed starting pitchers. St. Louis and Arizona are too marginal to pull off an upset. One team I look to make a late charge into the race is Cincinnati.

It'd be nice to see the division and wild card race go down to the wire, so the Phils are the only ones with the luxury of setting their rotation.

Altho the Phillies dont even need to worry about setting their rotation since their 1-3 are all beasts.

RS: Braves weren't included because they can not meet the Phillies in a best of five.

"One team I look to make a late charge into the race is Cincinnati."

what?? they are 10 games out of their divisions and 11.5 out of the wildcard. care to rethink that RSB?

I'm puzzled. Why is everyone so afraid of the Brewers?

Are Fielder-Braun-Hart scarier than Pujols-Holliday-Berkman? And defensively, now that the Cards have Furcal and shifted Theriot to 2B, isn't that a much better INF defense than Fielder-Weeks-Betancourt-McGehee? By a lot?

And is Gallardo-Wolf-Marcum really better than Carpenter-Garcia-Lohse? In a short series?

And please don't quote partial-season stats to me. They are meaningless in post-season.

I do agree that the D'backs would be the best team to face. Their park inflates their offense (as does the Brewers park).

Easy. Giants especially in a 5-game series where the Phils would have to face Lincecum-Cain & the Giants' offensive shortcomings are masked a bit more than in a potential 7-game series.

Way too early to size up opponents for the playoffs, it is really dependent on the Phillies health and if the bats are hot or cold.
We are in such a good streak of ball right now, it's easy to forget the angst about a team hitting slump.
All that being said,to me, the Giants pitching is more worrisome than the Brewers hitting.

In a short series, I think the Phillies match most evenly with a team not even listed there, the Braves.



The Braves aren't listed because the Phils can't play them in the NLDS.

R: I am too lazy to look up the stats, so unless you're super motivated to do so, there's really no point in continuing this argument since it'll just end up being a "my eyes tell me..." stuff.

But at any rate, my eyes tell me they don't run as much as they used to (getting older + no Lopes), they don't employ the sac. bunt often, they don't use the suicide squeeze, the hit and run isn't put on very often, and hardly anyone chokes up on the bat with two strikes.

If your eyes are telling you something different, I'll guess we'll agree to disagree (for now.)

People talk about the Phils getting ridicuously cold a the wrong time, but the reason they (or any other team) got cold last year was the Giants pitching.

Reds were best offensive team last year. Did they "Get cold" at the wrong time or did they run into a buzzsaw pitching staff? You can get cold during the season over 10-15 games becuase everyone at the same time is not firing on all cylindres, but in the playoffs it's the other team's pitching that shuts you down.

clout: I am not afraid of the Brewers, but I think they are better then the Cardinals.

Carpenter at 36 leads the league in hits allowed and averages just under 10 H/9. Lohse is about as mediocre as you'll find for a Game 3 starter.

What clout said at 1:33.

I was at the the Giants game last night. The Pirates played a great game. The Pirates and Reds will need to make a charge together against the Brewers and Cards. I can see this happening. The Giants won the short series in Philladelphia and sucked since. Vogelsong struggled and was overthrowing at the end. He has had one memorable season. Beltran was out of the lineup with a right wrist injury sustained in Sunday's game. He's delicate. I still don't want to face the Giants in a short series especially if they eek out a division title with a .500 record.

Heather -
No one in baseball in this millenium "chokes up on the bat with two strikes." I'm not sure anyone chokes up on the bat at all but maybe some scrappy guys like Eckstein do.

There are very, very few times to "sacrifice" bunt except for when a pitcher is batting, because otherwise you're trading a 35% chance to not make for a less than 5% chance to not make an out.

I know that we all grew up in little leagues where the prevailing wisdom among our coaches (dads of kids on the team) was that you need to "create runs" with strategic changes in how you approach hitting. But gradually, in the past 30 years, most big league teams have figured out that hitters can hit better if they're trying to hit.

I had heard about Fielder's vegetarianism and I know two fat vegans. If any of you is in this camp, please reveal your secrets. I still wonder how Buddha got that fat on rice.

killbillrain -- the only flaw in that logic is the Phils struggled to score against the Reds, too. They really only put up runs in Game 2, thanks to a rally gift-wrapped by the right fielder.

But for whatever reason, I have more faith in the lineup this time around.

crotch: "for whatever reason"

Hunter Pence.

Raul's-Carbs, and lots of em!

They all scare me. I'm sorry if that makes me a bad fan. Maybe I'm just a realist. The Phillies can beat ALL OF THESE TEAMS, so don't get me wrong. But anything can happen.
1. The DBacks shelled the Phillies earlier this year. Plus they have a manager that they will do anything for in Kirk Gibson. They can win a short series.
2. The Brewers have hitting and quality pitching (and could get hot anytime). If they figure out the other half of their infield they could do well in a short series.
3. OK St Louis....anything could happen.
4. Los Gigantes think they can beat the Phillies. That's dangerous. They have last year to try to crawl into the Fightin's heads. Plus as we saw last night the Phillies BullPen is somewhat suspect; if there is a low score towards the end of a game and our starters are pulled then the edge goes to Giants. Maybe...I'm neurotic.
5. The Braves can play. No doubt about it. They may seem less threatening now because we haven't played em for a while, but as I said before, anything can happen.

Look. Anything can happen. Until the Parade is visible from Patterson Ave. I'll probably still worry. It's the fan in me.

brewers would not scare me. first of all, they would start on the road which they are just terrible. 2nd, they would start grienke in philly. I saw him start at Yankee Stadium this year and he basically crapped his pants and was just abysmal. i'm pretty sure he would not fair well. their offense is a concern. i think they hit doc pretty good. it would be the giants even though their offense is so much worse than last year it's a joke

"The Phillies can beat ALL OF THESE TEAMS, so don't get me wrong. But anything can happen. "

That's the reason none of them scare me. I know the Phils are better yet they could lose to any of them. If they play the Phils brand of baseball (otherwise known as winning) then I'm not concerned about who they play.

No matter who the Phillies are playing in the NLDS, if they lose Game 1 with Halladay at home, I'd imagine most of you are going to be freaking out heading into Game 2, particularly if Cliff Lee is going through one of his mortal phases at that time.

The Phillies have been terrific at winning Game 1's in the playoffs in recent years, but if they would lose the opener to the Brewers, Cardinals, Giants or Diamondbacks, I guarantee that all of the "None of these teams worry me" fans will be the first ones lining up at the top of the Walt Whitman Bridge.

Either way, the Phils get swept. Season=Over.

There's no doubt that Giants in a 5-game series is the most concerning of the bunch because if the rotation is set, you face Lincecum-Cain-Bumgarner-Vogelsong-Lincecum

Beating them 3 out of 5 means beating Lincecum or Cain at least once... and the Phils have had difficulty doing that in the past couple years.

And is Gallardo-Wolf-Marcum really better than Carpenter-Garcia-Lohse? In a short series?

Posted by: clout | Tuesday, August 09, 2011 at 01:33 PM

Err, Greinke? He's their best starter, and his ERA is finally starting to sink down to his excellent FIP. His 11.3 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 is a ridiculous combination.

Old,
That makes sense. The two I know eat a ton of pizza (with fake soy cheese).

"Counting on a scrub to get hot at the right time and carry your pathetically anemic offense doesn't sound like a good formula for winning consistently in the post-season . . . Pretty sure the Phils win that series 7 or 8 out of 10 time."

I didn't say the Giants can or should count on it. I said the shorter the series, the greater the possibility of it happening. And saying the Phillies would win 7 or 8 out of 10 series against the Giants is simply zany. I wouldn't expect the Phillies (or any team) to win 8 out of 10 series against the Nationals, let alone against a team that has played us dead even over the last 4 years, and near-even again this year.

"I guarantee that all of the "None of these teams worry me" fans will be the first ones lining up at the top of the Walt Whitman Bridge."

I can only speak for myself, but I guarantee you're incorrect.

My odds for the Phils in a 5 games series against:

Giants -300
Diamondbacks - 310
Brewers -325
Cardinals - 350

I would also like to see one of the division races and the wild card race to make it to the last day of the regular season so that the sceery pitchers have less of a chance of pitching twice in the opening series.

CJ: Your 2:27 post says pretty much exactly what I said the other day -- to which you responded by calling me a "wet blanket." So, on behalf of the Beerleaguer Wet Blanket Elite (comprised of Jack, MG, G-TownDave, Heather, Willard Preacher, and a few others you'll soon meet), welcome to the community.

I wouldn't expect the Phillies (or any team) to win 8 out of 10 series against the Nationals, let alone against a team that has played us dead even over the last 4 years, and near-even again this year.

Posted by: bay_area_phan | Tuesday, August 09, 2011 at 02:33 PM

The Phils are 75-40 in the regular season. If you average that into 3 games series, they have won 37 of 38 series. They actually lost one three game series since the beginning of June. The Phillies are easily a 90% or more favorite against the Nationals. The Giants? 7 of 10 is more likely but 8 of 10 is not out of the realm of possibility.

Wet Blanket Elite? What happened to the Pissy Pants Posse?

People always talk about how good the Giants pitching is but fail to mention how awful their lineup is. They're the 2nd worst offensive team in baseball. I have a hard time seeing them producing enough runs to beat Halladay-Lee-Hamels-Oswalt-Hallday 3 out of 5 games.

People are just way too scared of a team with a -12 run differntial.

Dave: I used the top 3 pitchers by IP, but certainly Grienke, not Wolf, should be in there. His season stats, however, are meaningless. Unless you think players' post-season always reflects what happened during the season.

The smackdown of the Giants at Phone Co. Park did little to allay anyone's fears of the Giants. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I am.

Andy:

Your screed against small ball was tangential to the main point I was addressing with another poster. I stated this team played very little small ball. Another poster said they did.

Your post seems to support the point of view that they don't.

Whether they should or not is a different question. You can debate the specific small ball strategy without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I'm not advocating teaching Ryan Howard how to regularly get a single via the Baltimore chop. But, for example, advocating a guy choke up on the bat when a well placed out will win you a ball game is pretty sound strategy.

"And is Gallardo-Wolf-Marcum really better than Carpenter-Garcia-Lohse? In a short series?"

A) Yes, that first trio is better. B) As others have pointed out, Zack Greinke belongs in there, not Randy Wolf.

"His season stats, however, are meaningless. Unless you think players' post-season always reflects what happened during the season."

What does that even mean? I guess other teams shouldn't be worred about Halladay or Hamels in the playoffs, since obviously the fact that they've been amazing pitchers this year means nothing.

Whitey: If the odds are -300 or more in a short series, you should not be betting on that team.

I'm not sure I'd take the Phillies at -300+ to beat the Nationals in a short series, let alone another playoff team. That's just stupid.

Odds won't be anywhere near -300 for an NLDS series.

"The Phils are 75-40 in the regular season. If you average that into 3 games series, they have won 37 of 38 series . . . The Phillies are easily a 90% or more favorite against the Nationals."

I am quite sure there's something egregiously wrong with that analysis, but my mathematical reasoning is not good enough to immediately pinpoint what it is. Suffice it to say that we have won 2 of 3 series with the Nats. That sounds very much in line with what I would expect. 90% sounds like the stuff of NBA series, not MLB ones.

BAP - so you think the Nationals would beat the Phillies 5 out of 10 times in a 5 game series?

Interesting

Slight tangent:

Does anyone read Fangraphs? I used to really enjoy the articles over there, but more and more recently, I'm getting a bit annoyed/tired with them. For example, one of the latest articles is about Aubrey Huff and his penchant for having alternating good bad/years. But basically all it is is a list of stats: "See, here is the % of LD he hits in his good years vs. his bad years!"

There's a lot of BABIP handwaving and basically a shoulder shrug as to why it happens, the mechanisms involved, or even a more detailed analysis than what I myself could come up with given 2 hours and access to baseball-reference.com

So the million dollar question I'm wondering is whether the article quality is actually declining over there, or if Fangraphs has remained the same and I'm basically growing out of what they have to offer.

Anybody else have any insight or noticed anything similar?

I got $5 Marcum doesn't make it to the playoffs uninjured. I also wouldn't count on Wolf or Gallardo for post season grit. Randy has been hitting people again.

The Best NLDS opponent is the one who looks the weakest come the playoffs. Since we don't know which team that is, we should postpone the discussion until then.

I'm terrified of the San Diego Padres going on a run and making the post-season. Sure, their offense is god-awful, but look at their amazing pitching! Heck, they've even got a better run differential than those terrifying Giants.

Mark my words, if the Padres and the Giants make it to the playoffs, the Phillies might as well not even play the game.

We see the Dbacks next week, the Brewers in a few, and the Braves a couple more times.

I actually hope the Giants are standing in the way of the Phils in the playoffs - payback will be sweet.

Watching some starts by Greinke also tells me I don't fully comprehend DIPS theory. I comprehend it intellectually, of course, but having watched his starts and how ball after ball was getting squared up...and people were saying he was just getting unlucky. Now, don't get me wrong, I can understand how a guy can get a bit unlucky having bouncing grounders get by Betancourt, McGehee, or Fielder (the Brewers have a truly hideous infield). But when a guy is getting tattooed because player after player is squaring up the ball and hitting line drives, my mind rebels that Greinke is just getting unlucky.

Not that I'm arguing, because guys a lot smarter than me have put a lot of thought into it. I guess part of what makes these new stats hard to process is they often contradict the evidence of our eyes, and there's no real way to explain them beyond that with a lot more statistics and math knowledge than what I now (or probably ever could) possess.

Chris: I didn't remotely say that. You're just making stuff up.

Jack: I stand corrected. You're right. What happens during the season tells you what will happen post-season. Carpenter's off to a bad start so he'll suck and Grienke won't allow a run. You're right.

In fact, we can look at last season when Chase Utley had an .832 OPS during the season and absolutely destroyed the Giants while Cody Ross was a meek .735 in-season and did absolutely noth...oh, wait.

heather: Grienke's ERA+ last season was 99 and it's 95 so far this season, but his K/9 is absolutely impeccable and that makes him unbeatable, according to Jack. That's the same stat that proves Kendrick can't pitch in the major leagues, as Jack has noted many, many times over many years.

I suggest you ignore ERA and H/9 and pay attention to the important stuff. Grienke won't be touched in post-season.

"...we've got high apple pie in the sky hopes..."


I would love to be comfortable with thinking the Phils will get to the WS. But I am not setting myself up for fall. Last year hurt too much. I think we have a dam good shot but there are some decent teams out there that could get hot at the right time while we get cold. Its baseball yall.

"Choking up" is not "sound strategy" if no one ever does it.

There's a serious "fallacy of the excluded middle" in the contention that either "season stats are meaningless" or "players' post-season always reflects what happened during the season." I don't think either of those things is true, nor do I accept that one of those things must be true. Season stats can be meaningful and useful without always being an accurate guide to what will happen in the post-season.

The proof that anything can happen in the post season can be summed up by this one phrase-
"The 2010 San Francisco Giants".

Clout: So on the one hand, a player's OPS bears no relation to what he'll do in the postseason (see: Utley and Ross). On the other hand, a pitcher's ERA bears total relation to what he'll do in the postseason (see: Greinke).

Did you not drink your coffee or something today? Because normally your posts at least make sense, despite being pedantic and usually hopelessly archaic. Today you just don't sound like you have a clue what you're talking about.

Bap- it was a joke...I thought the clout-ian framing and mischaracterization made it obvious, but if not then my bad.

Any news on Vic's suspension appeal?
If MLB times it right and and suspends him before the team heads home, they can save some travel time and send him home to HI from LA for a short vacation after the Dodgers series.
Kind of a "Thank you, Mr Sellig"
gesture from the team to the MLB braintrust.

The same group that invented new rain out rules during the WS a couple of years ago.

And clout thinks BL has a corner on Moronocarcy.

If you follow Clout's logic to its endpoint, there is no difference between starting Michael Martinez at 2B in the playoffs and starting Chase Utley. The fact that Mini-Mart has a .577 OPS and Utley has an .849 OPS means nothing when it comes to the postseason. Mini-Mart for life!

How did Scott Mathiesson clear waivers? Doesn't he throw the ball, like, a gazillion miles per hour?

Andy: what do you have against choking?

harh!

All DIPs theory says is that pitchers with the following peripheral profile (SO/9, BB/9, GB%, etc.) will generally have an ERA that closely resembles this, whatever that is.

xFIP is generally a pretty good tool at predicting a player's ERA based on his peripherls. Is it perfect? Of course not, and it never claims to be. But consider this:

Kyle Kendrick career ERA: 4.46
Kyle Kendrick career xFIP: 4.67

Zach Greinke career ERA: 3.85
Zach Greinke career xFIP: 3.72

That's less than a 5% margin of error in both cases.

Here are a couple others, just from our staff:

Hamels ERA: 3.38
Hamels xFIP: 3.41

Doc's ERA: 3.26
Doc's xFIP: 3.16

Lee's ERA: 3.76
Lee's xFIP: 3.98

Just because xFIP says Greinke is a 2.31 pitcher this year doesn't make it so, but when the divide's that big, I'm leery to except that Greinke has been as bad as he looked.

I think we could talk about this forever. Let me offer up my acute insights, but tell me if you'd heard this before:

1) The Phillies are the best team in the National League.
2) The Phillies would probably win the majority of the series it plays against any of the better National League teams.
3) The Phillies could lose any given series it plays against any of the better National League teams.

Admittedly, I'm merely scratching the surface of this rich and fertile topic. Questions abound: Could Prince Fielder hit a home run during a playoff series? Could Carpenter go 7 and give up 2 runs? Might not the sun rise in west on the day of game 3?

Heather:
Part of what I see happening at fangraphs is a big enough critical mass of commenters and readers has built up that embrace what they're doing at fangraphs with the blind zeal of former nerds who stumbled upon their very own In Crowd. The response over there to the Buster Olney WAR flap was an example of this. Especially in the comments, there was a lot of fairly condescending "see, this is called POSITIONAL SCARCITY, because there aren't many good hitting 2nd basemen as there are 1st basemen" kind of thing. I mean, yeah, duh -- I get that. But there was absolutely no one questioning the actual numbers of the positional adjustments. I bet a lot of folks there don't even know what they actually are. It's like the idea that a catcher is automatically worth +12.5 runs, while being a right fielder is -7.5, is set in stone and never to be questioned. When Fangraphs is good is precisely when they DO question assumptions. I just wish they did so towards their own more often.

Another part of it is also a sort of snarky, smart-alec-y style that seems prevalent there. I don't think it's bad, per se, and folks like FJM have deployed that kind of voice to great and hilarious effect, but sometimes I think the medium starts effecting the message, and the analysis ends up kind of shallow and/or masturbatory.

I think that some stuff there is still great. I like Joe Palikowski. Jonah Kerri is good too. I really like whoever the guy is who does player interviews there. Those seems to be on a slightly more humble, earnest tip than most of their stuff.

'"Choking up" is not "sound strategy" if no one ever does it.'

Ah, the old "appeal to popularity" fallacy.

Odds won't be anywhere near -300 for an NLDS series.

Posted by: MG | Tuesday, August 09, 2011 at 03:04 PM

-300 was the series price for the Phillies - Red last year. I used that as my baseline and that might be a little too low.

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