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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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My factual evidence would be guys like Reggie Jackson and Manny Ramirez, whose career post-season numbers went substantially up, despite facing much better pitching in the post-season.

One of these is not like the other:
.846->.885
.996->.937

Repost:

lorecore, determining the "best team" is a very subjective argument.

I don't personally think the 2008 Phillies were the best team in baseball.

I'm also damn certain that the 2010 Giants were NOT the best team in baseball.

Hearing the Kevin Jordan/Omar Daal stories makes me almost glad that I lived in KC from '96-'01. Of course, I got to follow the Bob Boone/Tony Muser managerial exploits close up.

repost:

If the Astros with the worst record in the league made the playoffs and won the World Series, I would see the point.

But these playoff teams are all within 10 or so games of each other and played completely different schedules during their 162 regular season.

How is putting those most successful teams into a round of series against each other not a legtimate way to determine which is best? What other way would you like introduced?

Trivia Question/Answer:

What was the last National League team to win at least 100 games in the regular season and then go on to win the World Series? The 1986 Mets.

The stat perspective I liked that the Phillies posted... and I can't be sure its accurate since it was TMac providing the info and I only listen with half an ear...

But the Phillies have improved their record EVERY year during their division run. I forget what stretch they had used... whether they used the 89 wins as a starting point or whatever... but no team who won at least 5 straight divisions improved their record EVERY year.

One of Davey's Mets messes

HammRadio - I look forward to the 142-20 2017 phillies!

Sorry, see somebody beat me.

You are correct HammRadio - I read that online as well regarding 5 straight winning seasons where the number of wins improved each year. If I remember correctly, no team in Major League History had ever accomplished that feat. Amazing!

Hamm, I have heard but didn't confirm that the Phils are the first team to have 5 straight increased wins starting from above .500 also.

Here's what you need to know about the Phillies winning (at least) 100 games:

The 2 prior Phillies teams to do so were eliminated in their first Postseason series.

lorecore @1:35 makes a good post. "Hotness" in the playoffs is probably correlated with the health of a team. To the extent that it is correlated with regular season records (and I think it is), then the aggregate wining % of the regular season opposition needs to be taken into account, as well as injury factors throughout the season for both for the team you're looking at as well as how injuries affected the opposing teams that it faced up against during the regular season.

In other words, computing a correlation that would be predictive would be next to impossible.

We can be sure that the team that wins the most games in the playoffs will win the WFC, and that the team that wins the most games in the playoffs will assigned the attribute, retroactively, of being the "hottest" team in the playoffs.

lorecore, there is no way (short of making all teams play some theoretical robotic team that plays at the same talent level every game, and having each team play this robotic team many, many times) of determining a "best team".

There's always going to be room for debate and interpretation.

If you, as I do, remember Ted Kazanski, you gotta love this season no matter what happens next.

clout:
"BAP: If I understand you, there are players who possess a skill called clutchness, which is the ability to raise the level of your game at will, depending on the circumstances."

I think this is a little off--certain players have the innate ability to not be affected by clutch situations or maybe even perform better in said situations due to (probably) some kind of adrenaline rush. It's a biological factor, but not something that can be raised "at will," per se.

"Those who possess the clutchness skill can be identified by their post-season statistics and the small sample size of such stats is to be ignored in these cases."

I don't know BAP's feelings on this, but while the small sample sizes are unreliable, they're all we have to go on and I don't think that people's emphasis on them are going to change (makes me think about all of that talk last year before the World Series about how Cliff Lee might be one of the best post-season pitchers of all-time). In any case, they're fun to look at.

Bringing in Guillen to manage is a good business move for the Marlins- at least as far as off the field stuff goes. Guillen is going to appeal to the demographic in the area, he has a ring, and he gives them a personality to market as they open a new stadium.

On the field though it will be interesting to see how his personality meshes with the relatively young Marlins team. I think they will like Guillen because he has a tendency to stick up for his players. He will call them out if they screw up but he will also praise them in the media as well which prevents the criticisms from becoming too piercing sometimes. The first thing he needs to do though is sit down with Hanley and find out where his head is at as far as it goes with the team.

Fatal: True, but what do you think is a better measuring system:

Winning the most games on an unbalanced 162 game regular season schedule

Or

Winning the 4th most games during that regular season + winning 3 straight series against the other most winningest teams in the league?

That said, I remain disgusted that the St. Louis Cardinals were even able to make the Postseason, let alone win the World Series, after accumulating a pathetic 83 wins in the Regular Season.

gtown..good point, I guess '4th most wins' doesn't hold true all the time.

Being the best over 162 games is a lot more of an accomplishment than being the best over 7.

"lorecore, there is no way (short of making all teams play some theoretical robotic team that plays at the same talent level every game, and having each team play this robotic team many, many times) of determining a "best team"."

So how could we prove which team to be the "best" team?

Compute the run differential advantage of one team for a given year over all other teams in MLB - statistically controlling for the run differential of their opponents plus strength of schedule of their opponents - and compare the results against all other teams for given years in the history of baseball?

Still wouldn't work - because you have to account for any number of players having anomalous years, plus unquantifiable differences in the changes in the game and physical attributes of players over time.

And then you'd have to factor in the unquantifiable component of "team chemistry."

In other words, the "best team" is a meaningless term - certainly if you consider teams across different years.

Even trying to determine the "best year" that any given one has had would be next to impossible - as a best run differential for any one year - even if controlled for aggregate winning % of opponents - could only be a reflection of overall mediocrity in one particular year. Would the team with the best run differential, controlled for overall winning %'s of their opponents, really have had the "best year," if they played in an era where there were more teams and thus the talented players were more dispersed among different teams?

I know - waaaaay too much coffee today (combined with not enough sleep the last couple of nights).

lorecore:

"but what do you think is a better measuring system:

Winning the most games on an unbalanced 162 game regular season schedule

Or

Winning the 4th most games during that regular season + winning 3 straight series against the other most winningest teams in the league?"


I can't speak for fata - but my answer would be "yes."

Repost:

I think winning the WS clearly is a bigger accomplishment than winning the most games during the regular season. You're playing the best teams, you use only your best players, the pressure is on, every move counts, and the regular season is only a stepping stone to get there.

The regular season is so long that there are loads of other factors to deal with, including injuries, slumps and trades. You play good teams, you play bad teams, and the team you start with often isn't the same as the team you end with.

A good example is the power rankings that all the websites have. There's usually at least a half dozen teams during the year that hold the top spot. The best team in June isn't the best team in August or September. You're picking the best team at a moment in time and that may or may not be the team with the most wins at that time. Just because a single team holds the top spot at year end doesn't mean they've been the best throughout.

Putting aside the length of the regular and post-seasons, there's no difference between coming out on top at the moment in time at the end of the regular season and at the end of the post-season, but the post-season is where it counts.

Old Phan:

World Series = a series between 2 teams that had to make the playoffs in the first place, then win two straight series against the other most winningest team in the league.

Do you understand that concept and realize that its more than just 1 random sample of a 7 game series?

"I think winning the WS clearly is a bigger accomplishment than winning the most games during the regular season. You're playing the best teams, you use only your best players, the pressure is on, every move counts, and the regular season is only a stepping stone to get there. "

Suppose a couple of teams had a few key players injured at the end of the regular season and then lost in the first round of the playoffs?

Would winning the WS against depleted teams be a bigger accomplishment than having the best regular season record against teams that didn't have their best players injured?

'Catching Hell' on Bucknor/Bartman tonight on ESPN looks worthwhile catching at 8 PM.

Lorecore, if I'm just going by record and those are my only two measuring sticks, I'll choose the data pool with 162 data points in it over the one with 11-19.

Obviously, though, the best way is to incorporate both, look at the team's record against certain caliber teams, look at splits, look at injuries, trade acquisitions, etc.

In the end, the goal is to win the WS. I'd take a season of 83 wins and a WS victory over a 101 win season and no WS victory.

I'd rather be the 2006 Cardinals than the 2001 Mariners...but I'm weird like that.

Phlipper, baseball-reference.com has a stat called "Simple Rating System" that incorporates run differential and strength of schedule.

2009 yanks come to mind

NEPP - it kind of sucks that a system exists where the 2006 Cardinals can win a WS while the 2001 Mariners don't even get to the WS. But I don't have an alternative plan.

Edmundo: I must have read the wrong line on Manny's post-season stats.

But, irrespective of Manny, I do believe some players are more clutch than others. clout thinks hitting a baseball is like rolling a set of dice & that the whole concept of clutchness in athletics is as preposterous as the concept of clutchness in Yahtzee. But he reaches this conclusion only by defining "clutch" in terms that no player could ever meet -- namely "the ability to raise the level of your game at will."

In my language, being clutch means having a mental toughness (if you will) which enables the player to very often come through in big moments. And I define "big moments" much more narrowly than any of the metrics which claim to measure "clutchness." Batting with 2 men on base in the 6th inning is not a "big moment."

Unless this team at least makes the World Series, I imagine they will go down as a disappointment years from now whether that is fair or not.

Curt Schilling was clutch.

Clutch exists.

"In fact, if you look at all of the 100-game winners during the Wildcard era, you see that regular season success doesn’t always indicate playoff success. It rarely does."


Let's break this down:


"Of the 20 teams to win 100 games since 1995, only two have won the World Series: the 2009 Yankees."

So, two out of the 20 teams won the WS - 20%. Given that a purely random explanation for winning the WS would indicate that a given team has a 1 out of 8 chance of winning the WS, teams with 100 wins are more likely to win than just chance.


"Four 100-win teams lost a World Series: the ’04 Cardinals, ’03 Yankees, ’99 Braves and ’95 Indians. Each of these led Major League Baseball in wins, each of them fell just short."

So, again, a 40% (4 out of 20) chance of making the WS - which is better than a random 2 out of 8 chance that teams that won 100 games would make the finals.


Somehow - I think my logic there is flawed, but I'm not sure what it is.

Oops. 2 out of 20 = 10%, less than a random 1 out of 8. That would be a place to start for figuring out my error.

"So, again, a 40% (4 out of 20) chance of making the WS - which is better than a random 2 out of 8 chance that teams that won 100 games would make the finals."

Wow! 4 out of 20 = 40%? Ok, no more posts until I get more sleep and cut down on the coffee.

Bastardo's woes:

After watching video of Bastardo, Dubee said Friday he believed he was tipping off his slider. That may be true, but seven walks suggests Bastardo has lost command of his slider, something he admitted following the Phillies' 9-4 win over the Mets on Sunday.

"I can't command my slider," Bastardo said. "I don't feel the slider going to where I want it to go. It stays spinning. It's breaking, but it's not the same action. It's spinning to the side. It's not going down."

Bastardo said the slider "feels weird" when it comes out of his hand.

"My confidence is good," he said. "I can still throw my fastball to both sides of the plate. . . . I have to make a little bit of an adjustment with my slider

Manager Charlie Manuel wants Bastardo to be more aggressive with his fastball.

"He's doubling up on sliders, not his fastball," Manuel said. "If you remember earlier in the year he was a dead fastball pitcher. He pitched off his fastball. We've got to get him back there."

Read more: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20110926_Phillies_Notes__Bastardo_s_problems_go_beyond_pitch-tipping_theory.html#ixzz1ZBAfWAJq

Cholly's generally right. Bastardo has been too slider-heavy but the issue has been that Bastardo hasn't been able to consistently throw his fastball for strikes the past month.

"it kind of sucks that a system exists where the 2006 Cardinals can win a WS while the 2001 Mariners don't even get to the WS. But I don't have an alternative plan."

Well, one alternative, which worked fine for 65 years, would be to just split the teams into two leagues with no divisions, and the teams with the best regular season record in each league meets in the WS.

MG: "Unless this team at least makes the World Series, I imagine they will go down as a disappointment years from now whether that is fair or not."

100% true.

I believe I've read that Pyth W/L is a better predictor of playoff success than pure W/L record.

Anyone know if that's the case?

Cholly is a terrible manager. He should know that 100 wins equals a curse and thus should have encouraged his team to continue losing into the playoffs.

A sample size of 20 is another place to begin.

"Bastardo said the slider 'feels weird' when it comes out of his hand."

"'My confidence is good,' he said."

Anyone who can make two statements as diametrically inconsistent as those two ought to be posting on Beerleaguer.

BAP - Bastardo is fibbing I bet about his confidence and I bet the pitch f/x would show that he hasn't been able to locate his fastball on the corners with regular consistency the last 4-5 weeks.

"A sample size of 20 is another place to begin."

True that.

BAP-A big "Amen" to your earlier post:
"Well, one alternative, which worked fine for 65 years, would be to just split the teams into two leagues with no divisions, and the teams with the best regular season record in each league meets in the WS."

I know it will never happen because money rules all decision making for MLB.
But that would put meaning back into being league champions again and the World Series would be played with fewer snow games and Eric Bruntlett/ Elmer Fudd caps.

Little Ollie: "Putting aside the length of the regular and post-seasons, there's no difference between coming out on top at the moment in time at the end of the regular season and at the end of the post-season, but the post-season is where it counts."

Putting aside the gunshot to the head, there's no difference between Lincoln's experience at the Ford Theater and catching "Moneyball" at the cineplex.

I am convinced that 100 wins are not a Playoff Curse for this team. 110 wins would have been and they chose wisely to go low.

clout - guess you missed my point!

Little Ollie: My point is that 162 games will tell you more about how good a team is than 7 or 5 or 16.

BTW I totally agree with BAP on this:

"Well, one alternative, which worked fine for 65 years, would be to just split the teams into two leagues with no divisions, and the teams with the best regular season record in each league meets in the WS."

The leagues may not always be equal in talent, but the chances of an inferior team getting into the playoffs and having a hot streak are far, far less than in the current system.

I will say that it will be pretty damn disappointing if the Phils had the best team in baseball for 2 straight years (2010 & 2011) and didn't even make the WS either year.

Can we agree that the postseason and the regular season both have their own sets of merits and both should be celebrated in their own rights?

I agree with the idea of doing 2 leagues and the winners going to the WS. It would make a truer champion but is that really what we want? Would the beseball season be as exciting as often if this were the case. We must remember that this is entertainment and not a quest for the truest champion.

It won't be disapointing because they had the best record, but it would be disappointing because they are clearly better than the other NL contenders and about an even match with the Yankees.

The NBA probably has the truest champion of the major North American sports. It also has the least watchable playoffs.

OK, tell me if I'm wrong on this: Bastardo is a guy who has in the past had trouble with his command. He is inconsistent. Like many, many young pitchers. But no one on BL is allowed to acknowledge that, so his recent inability to place his fastball and slider must be attributed to one of the following:

1. Loss of confidence.
2. Tired arm.
3. Charlie's misuse of him.
4. Tipping his pitches.
5. Throwing too many sliders.

I'm going to be a proponent for either:

a) a post-postseason where the two [possibly burnt-out, loser-in-the-postseason] record holders face each other, or

b) a pre-postseason series where they do so

If only the series wouldn't extend the postseason into November..!

clout -- yes, I got that. It sounds like it makes sense, but a lot happens over the course of a season in terms of injuries and change in personnel. So when you get to the end the team with the most wins may not be the best at that point. Many here are very concerned that the Phils aren't the best at this point in spite of having the most wins. All I can say is the Phils had the best season.

I do think the playoffs are a good test of which is the best team. You play the best teams and the stakes are high. It's a bit of a snapshot but gauging which team is the best during the regular season is also a snapshot at any particular time. If the team can't get it together during the post-season then it doesn't matter that they won a lot of games.

Reading this reminds me of how crazy things were with Bartman and the Cubs. Amazing how people reacted, but I'm sure Philly would have a similar reaction these days.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=110927/PatLooney

For those who think the Phils should lay down these last two games... read this... http://jstolnis.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/the-phillies-mission-win/

Little Ollie: What you say is a bit contradictory. Any one day in the regular season can be a snapshot of a team at any given time, so (and correct me if I'm wrong) in your logic there can never be a true determination as to which team is the best because of injuries and roster changes unless a team stays injury-free and doesn't trade any throughout the season. Furthermore, athletes are more tired at the end than in the middle, right? So that's a factor that screws things up, too.

Little Ollie: "I do think the playoffs are a good test of which is the best team."

I would agree with that statement if you add these words "for two weeks in October."

You're riding that Bastardo/command horse pretty hard, aren't you Clout?

Meanwhile, I've seen no one, even here, dispute the notion that Bastardo has had command issues in the past. What you fail to be able to notice is that his problems recently far exceed what could be expected from "command problems". He is getting simply hammered.

No one expected him to continue to be absolutely unhittable. But is it too much to hpoe for the occasional scoreless inning?

It is perfectly rational to look for reasons outside of "command", like those in your list, but I realize you find it much more entertaining to play sad gotcha games with Beerleaguer posters.

R: I am here to learn, which is why I ask questions.

Why are you here?

100 wins is great. I know I thought that with this pitching staff it would be a foregone conclusion. I believe I predicted 103 wins at season's beginning.

What is amazing to me is the recent losing streak. With this staff, should that ever happen? But I guess that happens when you don't put your best players on the field, for whatever the reason(s).

We still have to hit to win. Hopefully the offense stays on track. It would be a shame to waste great pitching performances in the post-season.

R: I am here to learn, which is why I ask questions.

Posted by: clout | Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 03:49 PM

Bwahahahahaahahahaha

That's rich!!

2 leagues & no divisions would certainly be the purest means for getting the 2 best teams in the WS. But I'd be ok with the 4-division format they used from 1969 to 1994. The LCS series do provide for good drama & there are a lot more teams today than there were 50 or 60 years ago. So giving a few more teams a shot to get into the playoffs does make some sense -- and certainly makes the regular season more interesting. But 8 playoff teams is too many &, if we add 2 more WCs, we'll be approaching NBA territory, in which the regular season is practically meaningless.

Muuurgh - that's exactly my point. At the end of the year all you know is which team had the best season, not which team is best.

clout - you work hard to get to those two weeks (closer to four), you play the best teams, that's when it counts, and that's why any player will tell you he prefers to win the WS than to have the best record.

clout: As head Beerleaguer idiot, I feel compelled to defend my fellow idiots. As such, it's only fair to point out that reasons (excuses?) (1) & (4) on your list came courtesy of Charlie & Dubee.

My thought is that practically no one disputes Bastardo is suffering from a lack of command. What we're doing is speculating on the possible underlying reasons for said lack of command.

Are the Phillies head & shoulders above the other PS contenders right now? For example, I'm wondering whether our superior SP is offset by the Brewers' healthier & more potent lineup - & whether, all things considered, it's a pretty close match, even if the Phils have a edge.

GBrett, the Brewers line up does have Fielder and Braun, but it also has Betancourt, McGehee, Lucroy and sometimes Gomez. That's lots of black holes.

They also have an impotent defense.

In fact, before the Phillies clinched (and maybe still) the PHils had scored more runs per game than the Brewers.

From the article that John Stolins posted:

"the Phils are undefeated this year with their entire starting lineup together"

Now that's amazing. Can anyone shed light on this? I imagine this lies in solely the Hunter Pence era--is that the case?

I will say that it will be pretty damn disappointing if the Phils had the best team in baseball for 2 straight years (2010 & 2011) and didn't even make the WS either year.

I don't think "disappointing" would express the feelings of the fan base at large strongly enough. I'm hoping we won't have occasion to find a more appropriate word.

Bastardo last had an ERA below 1.00 on July 22, the day Danys Baez was DFA'd. Coincidence?

Fata, Corey Hart has 25 doubles, 25 HR, & a .287 BA. Rickie Weeks ( who I understand is coming off injury and may not be hitting as well as a result of being rusty) stands at 26 doubles, 19 HRs, and a .271 BA. It just seems to me they are deeper than Braun & Fielder (who are both extremely good!).

It looks like their pitching is good too. SP not as great as ours, of course, but pretty good. BP looks solid.

I haven't looked into the Diamondbacks, but I was curious about the Brewers because I heard MLB Network say last night they are as balanced a team as any going into the playoffs (Mitch Williams said it) and "dangerous" (Dan Plesac).

I guess all this really does is affirm the oft-quoted to get to the WS, you have to play good teams, and you have to play well. I certainly don't think the Phillies are taking anything or anyone for granted.

And as far as the PS v. regular season - I agree that having 100 wins is very special. But it's clear from listening to players speak that they are focused on one prize only - and it ain't having the best record in the majors.


I would agree that the Brewers have the best balance in the league.

Their lineup, rotation depth, and back of bullpen are all easily above average.

However, not sure a jack-of-all-trades approach wins out when you face a team like the phillies who have unprecedented rotation depth to go along with a good offense and (at least over 162 reg season) a good bullpen.

If our offense performs as it capable of, we have damn pretty good balance too. That said, I believe we're the favorites in the NL to get to the WS.

Stolnis linked to a post onhis own site.


Interesting 'fact' he posts:

"...the Phils are undefeated this year with their entire starting lineup together..."


If this is true, then it would seem to confirm that the Phils ought to be the favorite going into the postseason.

Also, if it's true, it makes me feel much better about their chances.

Still, it's crapshoot time.

"In fact, before the Phillies clinched (and maybe still) the PHils had scored more runs per game than the Brewers."


Yes, but isn't Team OPS+ a good measure of the relative strength of their respective offenses? Wouldn't that take into account ballpark as well as opposing pitching factors?

"Well, one alternative, which worked fine for 65 years, would be to just split the teams into two leagues with no divisions, and the teams with the best regular season record in each league meets in the WS."

If that rule had stayed in place, the Phillies wouldn't have won the World Series in 1980 or 2008.

Kutz: Actually, if the old rules had stayed in place, we wouldn't have had to wait until 1980 to have a Phillies-Royals World Series. It would have happened in 1977.

And I'm not even sure you're right about 1980. The Astros finished 1.5 games ahead of us that year -- the 0.5 game, being a 1-game divisional playoff with L.A. Meanwhile, the Phillies clinched their division on the 2nd-to-last day of the season, then started the likes of Orlando Isales, the Vukoviches, and Luis Aguayo in the finale (which we lost). If they had started the regulars and won the game, and if we assume all else would have been the same (a dubious assumption), the NL pennant race would have ended in a 3-way tie.

The only thing that makes me feel good is that no one has a one-two starting pitcher punch like Halladay and Lee. No one has a #3 pitcher as good as Hamels. I feel good going into the playoffs despite the yucky feeling of this 8 game slide. I think there is enough pride to give the Braves a hard time during these last two games.

new thread!

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