Mid-Week Games and Shared Players

by JohnBowen

Cardinals @ Pirates (Andy Van Slyke)

Rays @ Orioles (Aubrey Huff)

Cubs @ Reds (Corey Patterson)

Marlins @ Braves (Gary Sheffield)

Blue Jays @ Red Sox (Marco Scutaro)

Nationals @ Mets (Brian Schneider)

Indians @ Rangers (Juan Gonzalez)

Phillies @ Astros (Hunter Pence)

Rockies @ Brewers (Dante Bichette)

Tigers @ White Sox (Kenny Williams)

Twins @ Royals (Harmon Killebrew)

Angels @ Athletics (Jose Guillen)

Diamondbacks @ Dodgers (Luis Gonzalez)

Yankees @ Mariners (Tino Martinez)

Padres @ Giants (Kevin Mitchell)

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165 Responses to “Mid-Week Games and Shared Players”

  1. Raul Says:

    Kenny Williams? LOL He doesn’t even count as a player. You might as well start popping off the names of security guards at the gate.

  2. John Says:

    He played for both teams…as a player.

  3. Raul Says:

    I’m aware he was on the rosters.
    He was never a “player”.

  4. Mike Felber Says:

    OK, a question especially for you Chuck. Though I am interested in everyone’s opinion, I want to know what a cynic re: relievers feels about the best closer ever.

    Let us assume that Rivera was just as dominant as a starter as a closer. I realize that there is no cause to assume this, though we also have no reason to assume that he would not have been very good once he acquired his poise, & most notably developed the cutter. I want to see just what the thinking is on how facing all batters a few times a game would affect productivity.

    Let us further assume ERA + also is generally a good stand in for dominance & pitching quality. His defenses have a negative career rating. Now almost nobody thinks pitching a full season & facing the top of the order so much would not significantly effect his ERA + (a stratospheric 205). Again, assume endurance was not a problem, so that this variable will not effect the question.

    Guy has 15 years as a starter with no signs of slowing down. Instead of a little over 1200 IP, averaging a typical 78 IP per 162 games, he has what, maybe around 3000 over 15 years would be typical today, right? About 2.5x more IP than in real life.

    WHAT would his ERA + be? Let us delineate standards of excellence. Pedro is the best ever at 154, & there are a few players well into the 140’s, some with many more IPs. Walter Johnson is highest combining both, 147 with approaching 6000 IP. On the low side of guys who are having HOF careers: over Mo’s hypothetical now 15 year career as a starter, he realistically would need an OPS + in the 120’s to be realistically considered for the HOF, almost certainly dipping into the teens assuming future later declining final years.

    So if Mo could start as well as close, assuming 15 years in the role, WHAT would his OPS + be? the question basically seeks to know difficult it is to dominate on both ends of a game The extreme would say that Rivera would lead all starters by a significant margin too. But that seems unlikely, unless we assume that the average level of starter skill is not significantly greater than closers. The other extreme is that Mo would not even be an HOF level pitcher-also seems very unlikely, seeing as we already said he would not have trouble with IP or injuries/endurance.

    This question also throws in whether Mo having only one great pitch & his others being virtually all variants of heat, albeit tremendously effective, would hurt him more as a starter.

    So what would his 15 year ERA + be? What would be the toll of facing better hitters, & many more IP? Is an ERA + 2/3 of what it is now realistic?

  5. Chuck Says:

    “I’m aware he was on the rosters. He was never a “player”.

    Sounds a lot like John and Shaun’s own playing experiences.

  6. John Says:

    That’s cute, Chuck.

  7. Chuck Says:


  8. Chuck Says:

    I’m not ignoring your question Mike, just that I fell asleep halfway through it and I have some driving to do tonight so wanted to wait until I got home.

  9. John Says:

    Heading up Dugout Central’s Reader-Relations Department…Chuck Johnson, everyone.

  10. Raul Says:

    And away we go…

    Tampa 4
    Boston 1

    Top of the 6th.

  11. Raul Says:

    Who the hell is Kyle Weiland?

    The Stone Temple Pilots dude?
    Nevermind, that’s Scott Weiland.

    I never liked STP though.

  12. John Says:

    Looking at #4, Rivera’s just kind of in a class by himself as far as pitchers go.

    No, that doesn’t mean he’s the greatest pitcher of his generation, as the geniuses from Baseball Tonight were discussing the night he got to 600.

    By the very nature of his role, he is made way less valuable than those lofty rate stats would suggest.

    But he’s soooo good at that role. The difference between his career ERA+ and the ERA+ of Trevor Hoffman is the same as the difference between Trevor Hoffman and Denny Bautista. His WHIP has not been bested by any pitcher in the live-ball era.

    He’s tough to peg because he really has no comparison. Limited role, but sooo good in that limited role.

    It would be like a pinch hitter who only gets 150 AB a year, but comes away with 100 hits, 15 HR and 15 doubles.

  13. Raul Says:

    Seis a Uno.
    Tampa Bay.

  14. Chuck Says:

    Keith Law on Twitter

    “The Moneyball Movie is 133 minutes, the A’s playoff run didn’t last that long.”

    Keith Law is a dick, but that was fucking hilarious.

    And accurate

  15. John Says:

    6-1 now.

    Cliff Lee is working on a 1-0 shutout of the Marlins. He has 9 strikeouts through 7, including 2 of DC’s favorite player.

    If he keeps it up for another two innings, it will be his eighth shutout of the year.

  16. John Says:

    Keith Law’s a dick.

    But at least he’s a dick who’s occasionally right…unlike Buster Olney.

  17. Raul Says:

    LOL @ Chuck

    8 shutouts is impressive @ John. In this era, I suppose.

  18. Raul Says:

    3-2 count. Hellickson, after giving Ortiz a change-up in the dirt, gives him a fastball down the pipe and Ortiz pops it up to LF.

    It dropped after being in the air forever.

  19. Raul Says:

    Why did Hellickson throw Ortiz a 3-2 fastball?

    Because you don’t walk batters with a 6-1 lead.

    I guess players DO pitch to the score.

  20. John Says:

    It would be the most since Tim Belcher had 8 in 1989. I just wished the Phillies had saved him for the Cards…sigh.

  21. Raul Says:

    Wow, Youkilis looks like a different guy without that beard.

    Struck out, though.

  22. Raul Says:

    I think Tim Belcher is a pitching coach or something now.

  23. Raul Says:

    The Sox are gonna have Drew Bledsoe in the booth. They say he’s going to be inducted to the Patriots’ HOF this weekend.

    Bledsoe was a talented QB. A little bit of a shame that he’s forgotten because of Tom Brady.

    Hell of an arm on Bledsoe.

  24. Raul Says:

    Hellickson goes to 117 pitches on 5.2

    He just walked a guy and with 1st and 2nd, 2 outs…it’s right to get him out of there with the 6-1 lead.

    Still, I’m glad Tampa left him in there to try to complete the inning.

    Some other teams might have taken Hellickson out after the Ortiz at-bat when he was around 105.

  25. Raul Says:

    1 pitch by Jake McGee and Crawford lines out to LF to end the inning.

  26. John Says:

    “Why did Hellickson throw Ortiz a 3-2 fastball?
    Because you don’t walk batters with a 6-1 lead.
    I guess players DO pitch to the score.”

    a) Weirdly, he threw him 3 balls.

    b) The most-often cited justification for Jack Morris’s HOF candidacy is that he only had such a high ERA because he was pitching to the score, and that when the game was on the line, he always came through with the W.

    The following are Jack Morris’s career splits:

    High Leverage: .695 OPS-against
    Medium Leverage: .692 OPS-against
    Low-Leverage: .694 OPS-against
    Margin Within 4 Runs: .693 OPS-against
    Margin more than 4 runs: .699 OPS-against
    Margin within 3 runs: .691 OPS-against
    Margin within 2 runs: .691 OPS-against
    Margin within 1 run: .684 OPS-against
    Game tied: .692 OPS-against.

    Notice anything about those numbers? They’re all pretty much the same number.

    I’m sure pitchers pitch are always pitching to the score to some extent (pounding the zone more, mainly) but the results are essentially negligible.

    So, no, wins are not a good barometer of pitching effectiveness.

  27. Raul Says:

    Not counting today (and Hosmer has 2 hits today), he is hitting .317/.344/.550 with 7 homers over his last 30 games.

  28. Raul Says:

    I’m not talking about Jack Morris, though.

  29. Raul Says:

    BJ Upton just crushed one.

    ESPN the Ocho.

    Tampa 8
    Boston 1

  30. Raul Says:

    5-hit game for Ian Desmond today.

  31. John Says:

    No one said you were, but that’s where the wins vs. rate stats vs. run support vs. pitching to the score argument comes up the most.

    Can you think of an example of a pitcher who was radically different in close games than in blowouts in terms of how he pitched?

  32. John Says:

    Cliff Lee has made it to the ninth, still up 1-0. He’s got an out but is already down 2-0 to Mike Stanton

  33. John Says:

    Oops, he just lost it on a HR … to Jose Lopez.

    Brand new ballgame with 2 outs in the ninth.

  34. Raul Says:

    I really don’t know if numbers support it.

    A pitcher could be up 5-0 and give up 2 homers because he’s got a nice lead and he was challenging hitters with fastballs.

    Now if he ends up giving up 4 runs, his numbers will look poor.
    But that doesn’t mean he’s a bad pitcher, and it doesn’t mean he was wrong in the pitch selection.

    That’s the point, that I think people try to make.
    It’s not something that’s always quantifiable.

  35. Raul Says:

    Jose Lopez? Is there a more generic latino name than Jose Lopez? LOL

  36. Raul Says:

    These Boston commentators are awful.

  37. Raul Says:


  38. Raul Says:

    Michael Young is having a good year in Texas.
    They probably struggle without him had they traded him away.

  39. John Says:

    @35, haha, is your name Raul Jackson or something?

    @34, that’s just my thing. If a guy gives up 4 runs when given a 5-run lead, he has effectively let the other team back into the game.

    I think pitchers generally have the score in mind, and there are different extents to which a pitcher takes this into account…but pitchers aren’t up there lobbing batting practice just because they have some breathing room.

    What the numbers show is that pitchers tend to produce roughly the same results whether they’ve got a large lead or not.

  40. John Says:

    Look at the season Napoli is having in his role.

    He’s not going to qualify for rate stat titles, but he’s currently hitting .310/.410/.614.

    Outstanding pick-up – and, might I add, the Angels would be leading the division, probably comfortably, if they had never went ahead with that trade.

  41. Raul Says:


    My last name is actually Garcia – it’s my mother’s name since they were never married and split.

    Had I been given my father’s name (Rodriguez), I probably would have killed myself.

    No lie…when I was a senior in HS, I was in phys-ed class and the teacher rolled off FOUR people named Jose Rodriguez.

    It would be like telling people you’re John Smith.

  42. Raul Says:

    Yeah, and if they don’t make that Vernon Wells trade they might have been able to make a run at Pujols/Fielder.

    Unlikely, but they’d have a shot.

  43. Chuck Says:

    Giving consideration to John for Prince Fielder telling the Brewers and the city of Milwaukee to kiss his enormously fat black ass,

    Mariano and his cutter is no different than Hoffman and his changeup or Wilhelm and his knuckler or Page and his screwball.

    When you have one pitch, you can only be effective for a very short period of time no matter how good the pitch is.

    As John mentioned yesterday on another thread, after four times around, a Hall of Famer such as Bob Gibson is not much better than league average.

    A guy like Mo or Hoffman in the fourth would be Gibson in the eighth.

    There is a reason why relievers are relievers..teams put a limit on their innings or batters because the more they pitch, the more they hurt their teams.

    Relievers are a perfect example of why ERA+ is a dumb stat.

  44. Chuck Says:

    The shutout would have been Lee’s seventh, not eighth.

    What do you call Ian Desmond having a five hit game?


    I know Jim Riggleman hated Desmond, and whether that had anything to do with Mike Rizzo jaming his cock halfway up his colon I can’t say, but with STRONG rumors coming out that Washington will throw an open checkbook at Jose Reyes, well, makes you think, right?

  45. Chuck Says:

    Trivia question of the day.

    Asked on the Red Sox NESN broadcast.

    Winner gets $100 from Shaun.

    Contact John for his email address.

    Sorry, Bob, you’re disqualified.

    Not because you probably watched the game, but because you’re a Red Sox fan.

    Nothing personal, just generalization.

    That and this site was founded by an ex-Yankee player, and Raul is 6′4″.


    (Mike Pagliarulo was born and still lives outside Boston)


    Not worried, not like he reads the site anymore.


    Oh, sorry, you still waiting for the question?

    Who was the first player in ML history to hit for the cycle in both leagues?

    Name is a point.

    Each year is a point.

    Each team is a point.

    Calling Shaun an asshole is double points.

    Believing Tim Raines is a HOFer qualifies you to be Sarah Palin’s Vice Presidential running mate.

  46. Mike Felber Says:

    When i mentioned pitching to the score re: Morris, I was not suggesting guys do not adjust their strategy to many game situations. Though John pegs how productivity does not vary much between carious scenarios. I was saying that the belief that he let up or tried less hard, when the game was not close was hogwash. That would be an insult to him. Though he was not a HOF pitcher independent of context, Like Catfish had great run support. Parks also matter.

    Everything you say above is very possibly right on Chuck-except that it shows that ERA + is a dumb stat. If you said comparing relievers & especially modern closers to starters with rate stats, or in ERA +, that would be very fair. But most understand that situations & total IP means that Mo’s ERA + is not comparable to starters. But as a general indication of pitching skill-& even more so if you take defense into account-I think it is an excellent stat.

    So my question stands. OK, even if you do not believe it is a good measure for starters (though I have no idea why): With his 1 pitch, 120 over 15 years equals barely HOF level, 154 is Pedro, best albeit not heavy in IP over a career…

    I suppose you think that Mo would only be an AVERAGE starter, maybe 100 ERA +, right?

    Som m

  47. Lefty33 Says:

    Bob Watson did the cycle thing first in both leagues.

    When I don’t remember when. I do remember that he scored MLB’s 1,000,000th run.

  48. John Says:

    Well, Chuck’s had a couple.

  49. Lefty33 Says:

    “Well, Chuck’s had a couple.”

    Of Kegs?

  50. Chuck Says:

    My wife’s having surgery tomorrow morning.

    I’m as sober as a Jehovah’s Witness.

    Bob Watson is correct.

    With Houston in 1977 and Boston in 1979.

  51. Chuck Says:

    “I suppose you think that Mo would only be an AVERAGE starter, maybe 100 ERA +, right?”

    No, Mike, not right.

    Especially today in this era of specialization.

    Look at the Yankees rotation.

    Freddie Garcia?

    Are you kidding me?

    The guy’s throw about 1600 pitches for the year and he’s hit 90 once.

    Think about that for a second.

  52. John Says:

    Hope everything goes well tomorrow, Chuck.

  53. Chuck Says:

    OK, time’s up.

    Garcia is six years younger than Rivera, he’s pitched six fewer seasons than Rivera, and he’s pitched twice as many innings as Rivera.

    Garcia knows what it’s like to lose command of his best pitch in the third inning and struggle for seven or eight batters until it comes back.

    Rivera doesn’t.

    Garcia knows what it’s like to walk to the mound for the first inning knowing your team played fifteen innings the day before and the bullpen is shot, and no matter what happens this game is yours.

    And, by the way, it’s September 20th and you’re team has a one game lead for the playoffs.

    Rivera doesn’t.

    It’s hard to find an analogy that fits your question.

    Try this.

    CC Sabathia is in the ninth inning of a 2-1 game, and has thrown 115 pitches.

    He walks the first guy and gives up a hit to the second, and is now at 121 pitches.

    Girardi brings in Rivera..he gets a double play and a strikeout, throws seven pitches, and is a hero?

    That mindset cannot be justified.

    Rivera’s also never been in Sabathia’s situation, either.

    Coming in fresh from the bullpen and trying to escape a two on, no out jam in the ninth far different after 120 pitches than zero.

    Don’t you agree?

    As a closer, Rivera is the best ever.

    As a pitcher, he fucking sucks elephant balls.

    Inarguable fact.

  54. Chuck Says:

    Thanks, John.

  55. Mike Felber Says:

    Rivera never pursued starting except at the very start of his career before the cutter. So it is arguable if he would have been any good or very good. COULD he adjust to those situations? He certainly seems to have the cool, but the single great pitch might well mitigate against him.

    Thanks for all the feedback Chuck, i appreciate it, & I really do not presume to know the answer. It is pretty extreme to presume that he could not even be a mediocre starter, but I can see your case.

    Surgery. My best wishes to your wife & family Chuck. I hope it is nothing too serious.

  56. Raul Says:

    “Rivera never pursued starting except at the very start of his career before the cutter. So it is arguable if he would have been any good or very good. COULD he adjust to those situations? He certainly seems to have the cool, but the single great pitch might well mitigate against him.”

    In a sense, pitchers don’t pursue starting any more than hitters pursue starting.

    Pitchers pitch. Hitters hit.

    Your ability (and management) determine whether you’re in the bullpen or a platoon player.

    Mariano Rivera isn’t a starter because at the time, the Yankees didn’t think he could excel there.

    Consider Joba Chamberlain. Both Mariano Rivera and Joba Chamberlain came up as starting pitchers. Both, due to team needs were moved to the bullpen. Both excelled in the bullpen. The difference is that Rivera was never moved back into a starting role because John Wetteland was gone.

    Joba Chamberlain was moved back into a starting role and ultimately failed there — though I’m willing to concede he’s young enough that another team may give him another shot. It’s quite conceivable that had Rivera been moved back into a starting role that he would have suffered the same fate as Joba.

    To Rivera’s credit, however, he has excelled tremendously in his bullpen role over the years.

  57. Raul Says:

    How impressive were the 1998 Yankees?

    Well, they scored 965 runs.
    And allowed 656. A differential of 309 runs.

    The 1936 Yankees scored 1,065 runs and allowed 731 — a difference of 334 runs.

    I don’t know how many teams outscored their opponents by 300+ runs but I would guess that there aren’t many.

  58. Mike Felber Says:

    It is conceivable Raul, but given his great ability as a closer, I can but Chuck’s caution that Mo could have much more struggle when having to go many innings with 1 main pitch, but I think his odds to do well in that role were good. It is just hard to believe that there would be zero carryover-that someone the best ever in one pitching role would completely tank in another, that there would be no carryover-but I do admit that it is not at all inconceivable.

  59. Mike Felber Says:

    Who would you rather have: the best team of all time, or the most average team of all time, except you could pick an all time best pitching staff?

  60. Bob Says:

    Well, am I disqualified on any Sox question from here on in?

  61. Bob Says:

    Yeah, Chuck. Hope your wife is okay.

  62. Lefty33 Says:

    Ditto Bob’s sentiments.

  63. John Says:

    “CC Sabathia is in the ninth inning of a 2-1 game, and has thrown 115 pitches.

    He walks the first guy and gives up a hit to the second, and is now at 121 pitches.

    Girardi brings in Rivera..he gets a double play and a strikeout, throws seven pitches, and is a hero?

    That mindset cannot be justified.”

    Doesn’t Sabathia get…the “win” ? What higher honor is there than that? He’s literally given credit for accomplishing the team’s goal. He also gets paid way way more money. I don’t think he’s missing out on glory here.

    “As a pitcher, he fucking sucks elephant balls.
    Inarguable fact.”

    I can argue that fact. Batters hit .211/.263/.290 against him. He’s a machine year-in and year-out, albeit in a limited role.

    Also, Rivera’s been in the league for 16 years. Batters have seen him over and over again, watched tape, and they still can’t do anything with his cut fastball. I’m perfectly willing to buy that he might not be able to hack it as a starter because of his limited repertoire, but I’m not gonna use his 10 bad starts in 1995 as definitive proof.

  64. John Says:

    “Who would you rather have: the best team of all time, or the most average team of all time, except you could pick an all time best pitching staff?”

    Well, let’s call the best team of all-time the 1998 Yankees, though there are several Yankee teams that would qualify (and the 1998 Yankees, in addition to being World Champs, had a better run differential than the Mariners of 2001).

    They won 114 games.

    In terms of WAR, the top 5 pitching seasons of all-time are:

    Walter Johnson (1913) – 12.4
    Steve Carlton (1972) – 12.2
    Bob Gibson (1968) – 11.9
    Dwight Gooden (1985) – 11.7
    Sandy Koufax (1963 or 1966) – 10.8

    An average team would win 81 games, so you replace 5 average pitchers with these guys, and you get 49 extra wins (these guys are worth 59, but an average rotation would be worth 10). So that would leave you with 130 wins, but I think you would have to cut some wins off because those 5 guys started more than 162 games total.

    My guess is that you’re looking at about 125 wins. I’ll take the pitching.

  65. Raul Says:

    BTW, that’s a lot of CGs @ your pitching staff @ John.


  66. Raul Says:

    Mike Silva’s take:


  67. Mike Felber Says:

    Sounds like a very good analysis John. I thought the question might be too easy. Someone who thinks early guys benefit from much enhanced quality of play might take my avatar out, but a substitution would only cost you about 2 games. More powerfully, my question allows you to stock all the best relievers too. So it would not be close.

    So you might very well not use all the same players as above, such as putting in Martinez even though he barely cracked 10 WAR, since you could bring in great fresh arms. Though these guys above would have been even better with not much over 200 IP like Pedro in 2000. Still, I would put Pedro in rather than Koufax, since we are allowed great relievers too.

    It stands out how great Gooden was that he is that high, with “only” 276.2 IP, & without leading the league in any major pitching quality category other than ERA +: not WHIP, K’s/BB, HRs, hits per 9-well except for the 16 CG. Seems like he was especially efficient at preventing runs scoring that year, & hit well too for a pitcher.

  68. Raul Says:

    Happy 66th birthday, Ed Sprague Sr!
    Happy 56th birthday, Robin Yount!
    Happy 53rd birthday, Orel Hershiser!
    Happy 52nd birthday, Tim Raines!
    Happy 51st birthday, Mel Hall!
    Happy 51st birthday, Mickey Tettleton!

  69. brautigan Says:

    After reading that blurb by Silva, I dislike Law even more.

    Not because a person can change, but because all of the people he crapped on to benefit himself.

  70. Mike Felber Says:

    Then again, it leads to another fun & practically pointless academic exercise. If you got to cherry pick the best starter years ever, how many wins could it add to have the best relievers even, compared to exactly average firemen? Those guys were already so good in their best years, even in their last times through the order they are likely to be better than almost all relievers fresh.

    So the only significant impact would be replacing them on the infrequent occasions when they started to struggle. Then, hos much would having Hoyt Whilhelm, of course Mo, & an all universe cast of relievers add? Let us disallow for the sake of argument using other great starters as relievers, which I assume usually would work very well.

  71. Raul Says:

    Wondering if I can translate Mike’s crap into simple sentences.

    “Then again, it leads to another fun & practically pointless academic exercise. If you got to cherry pick the best starter years ever, how many wins could it add to have the best relievers even, compared to exactly average firemen? Those guys were already so good in their best years, even in their last times through the order they are likely to be better than almost all relievers fresh.

    So the only significant impact would be replacing them on the infrequent occasions when they started to struggle. Then, hos much would having Hoyt Whilhelm, of course Mo, & an all universe cast of relievers add? Let us disallow for the sake of argument using other great starters as relievers, which I assume usually would work very well.”


    “Another question. If you picked the best pitching seasons ever (starters and relievers) how many games would you win?”


    There, that was easy.
    The answer is: A lot.

  72. Bob Says:

    1.Raul, you are the height of wit!!!
    2. T.G.I.F.!!!

  73. brautigan Says:

    Matt Garza was one strike from getting the complete game win and Carlos Lee hit his second HR of the day off of Garza.

    Kudos for Quade. I like the idea of letting Garza finish what he started, even though Garza did not get the win.

  74. John Says:

    I think Quade just had more faith in Garza than Marmol at this point in the year…hardly surprising.

  75. Mike Felber Says:

    Except that your “improvement”, barely more succinct than my question laid out in full in my 2nd sentence, is not accurate. I am not asking for a # of games won total. I asked how many MORE games would be won when comparing 2 teams, both with the same best starter years possible, one with average relievers, one with the best possible fireman years. Those are not similar questions, & mine tries to get out the value that it is possible to add under these circumstances.

    And my very few lines of “crap” argues why it would be less than most would imagine, & eliminates starters from filling the closer roles.

  76. Chuck Says:

    Thanks for the wishes, everyone.

    My wife is fine. She had a cyst removed from under her rib cage. The surgery went fine, although she did have a reaction to the anesthesia in post-op and had to be re-sedated.

    She was in the OR fifty minutes, in recovery five hours.

    Long day for everyone, but things are good.

    “I can argue that fact. Batters hit .211/.263/.290 against him. He’s a machine year-in and year-out, albeit in a limited role.”

    Out of all the readers, the one guy I would expect to understand what I was saying was the former pro pitcher.

    So, then let me ask you, from your own experiences and of your teammates…at what point does a guy go from being a thrower to a pitcher.

    Because, in my book, a guy that makes seventy appearances a year and throws sixty innings isn’t a pitcher.

    It doesn’t matter how good his cutter is, it’s still one pitch, and throwing fifteen pitches an outing or four hitters is just putting a limit on the odds something bad will happen.

    Let’s take starting out of the equation and ask a different question..

    Do you think Rivera would have been a successful if he was used the same way Gossage was?

  77. Raul Says:

    If Rivera was used like Gossage, he could have been successful, but probably not dominant.

    In recent memory, I think Scot Shields.

  78. Mike Felber Says:

    Very glad that your wife is fine Chuck. These things can be more enervating than consequential. But we are very fortunate for modern medicine. Recently being very sick for the 1st time in my life reinforced that.

    Rivera averages 78 IP a year over his career. Though I defer judgement on how good Rivera would be as a starter & respect your points, such as 1 great pitch would be tough to dominate with over most of a game, I do think you are shortchanging Mo on credit here.

    A “thrower”: when folks say this they/the words overwhelmingly mean just tossing heat. NOT locating very well, or a pitch like the cutter which takes much skill & has a great deal of movement. He has great control, & almost certainly is making adjustments that help his success.

    Perhaps he would be less successful if used like Goose was. The main reason could be it is hard to retain 205 ERA + dominance over increased IP. But it would be much easier to just step up to his 118 IP 162 game average (includes the one starter year when he hit 224 IP), than starting games & hitting 200 or so IP.

    You can say limited pitching limits the odds bad things will happen. But when it happens over 1200 + IP, 6 full seasons today, & even more stellar in ~ 2 seasons of closing work during the post season, there is no chance that is just luck or a a product of a small sample size.

    You can ADJUST the OPS + you need for calling a reliever dominant, fair enough. But since tons of guys have done it, including being used just like he is, & nobody even approaches Rivera in ERA + (& there is no + defense to mitigate how impressive that # is):

    Rivera is uniquely talented at a very common role. He is not just a “thrower” absent refinement, finesse or smarts.

  79. Chuck Says:

    The Royals are the first team in ML history to have each of their starting outfielders reach 40 doubles for the season.

  80. Chuck Says:

    I just saw something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

    Watching the Mobile/Tennessee playoff game.

    Bang bang play at first, Mobile runner called out, Turner Ward is the Mobile manager and comes out from the third base dugout to argue the play.

    The camera is on the argument when you hear the crowd roar..Ward turns around, kind of gives a “what’s going on” shrug of his shoulders, and bolts out of the camera shot, leaving the first base umpire basically with his mouth open in mid-argument.

    On his way back to the dugout, the runner said something to the home plate umpire and got tossed, so Ward went from one argument to another with different umpires.

  81. Raul Says:

    Sounds like something Earl Weaver would have done.

    Reliever comes in the game with a 7-6 lead.
    Gets out of the inning with no runs scored. Credited with a hold.

    Rivera comes in the game. Does the same thing. Gets credited with a save.
    601 for Mariano Rivera.

  82. Mike Felber Says:

    That is 1 reason saves, like wins, have limited correlation with pitching quality. Though nobody who comes in as infrequently & in similar situations as Mo approaches him in preventing runs scored.

  83. John Says:

    Saves are stupid.

    In 1996, Rivera had one of the best seasons ever by a reliever. He had 5 saves.

    Joe Borrowski led the league with 45 saves in 2007, & he was worse than replacement.

  84. Raul Says:

    The Win is a valid measure of a pitcher when it comes to Career Wins.
    Probably more than Career ERA.

  85. Mike Felber Says:

    No way Raul. And career ERA + is better than just ERA. Do we have to show you all the pitchers who were somewhat better & worse than their W-L total reflected? Do you think that “Neutralized stats” are meaningless? Granted, things will tend to average out more over a career than one season, but you still have pitchers who have much better or worse run support, & parks, than average. And of course relievers effect things more now for the last 30 years than anytime in the past.

    Of course, better pitchers tend to win more. But it is not “all other things are equal”. We could always have a thread where we show the hurlers whose record is most divergent with their actual contributions. I’ll bet their are players whose W-L are more incongruent with their actual quality than catfish & Morris with their 105 ERA +. But they are good starts, especially since both had + clearly + defenses over a career to pad that ERA +, in addition to great run support.

    There will be similar examples of pitchers whose run support & park-& sometimes defense- gave them a significantly lower W-L than they would have had under league average conditions. Gibson did not have much higher W-L % than the above 2 gentleman. Walter Johnson was the best over a career & considering peak value than anyone-he did not quite crack a .600 W-L%. Whitey Ford was excellent, but not a near best in modern times .690%! Don Gullett had a .686!! Spud Chandler with a .717 was surpassed by only 1 19th Century pitcher-could it have anything to do with pitching for the Yankees also, between ‘37-’47? Clearly his career could have been longer & he would continue to benefit disproportionately from his run support. Home park did not hurt him either. Johnny Allen & Dick McBride-both on either side on .655, .113 & .112 ERA +.

    Most are not this variable, but there are more like these, & even when the difference is not that great, a swing of say 10% more or less wins than neutral conditions would predict is not unusual. Makes a huge difference for someone like Blyleven. Shorter & 19th Century careers seem to have the biggest divergence.

    But check this one out: Vic Raschi. He has gotta be one of the most extreme examples one can find. 105 ERA +, good defenses behind him: & a just superb .667 W-L%! He was never near the best pitcher in any year. Yet he beats out Christy Mathewson & Roger Clemens in W-L, dwarfs my Avatar & beats most all of the best pitchers in history…

    Ah, this is too easy.

  86. Raul Says:

    I wasn’t talking about adjusted stats.

    I was talking about two specific, basic stats that people use to evaluate pitchers.
    ERA and Wins.

    The career wins list is a lot more impressive than the career ERA list.
    That’s common knowledge.

    That it’s reversed in the short term is the point.

  87. Raul Says:

    If you were given 2 players: one with 270 wins and another with a 3.30 ERA and you had to choose who was the better pitcher based on that alone, you’d be a complete moron to pick the 3.30 ERA pitcher.

    It’s absolutely stunning how some of you saber people belittle others by assuming that a person just says “oh, this guy was 18-4 so he was better than Felix Hernandez.”

    No one takes an approach that simplistic.
    Get a clue.

  88. John Says:

    In what scenerio would you have just one or two pieces of data?

  89. Chuck Says:

    “In what scenerio would you have just one or two pieces of data?”

    I know where you’re going, and I think we’re all getting tired of the Raines HOF debate.

  90. Raul Says:

    “In what scenario would you have just one or two pieces of data?”


    Which is why you people criticizing RBI and Wins and other shit are being fucking assholes as if someone just looks at those and says “ok, I’ll judge off that…”

  91. John Says:

    Anyone who thinks Felix and Greinke didn’t deserve Cy’s was only looking at wins.

    Ditto anyone who thinks Howard deserves to.be a perennial MVP candidate.

  92. Raul Says:

    You don’t know that they were looking at wins.

    And even if they were, that you’re going to denigrate a statistic because a few assholes are that narrow-minded is just as stupid.

  93. Raul Says:

    Speaking of being assholes, the Bills are losing to the Raiders.

    and the Packers are losing to the Panthers.

    If you lose to the Raiders, they throw you out of the league.

  94. Raul Says:


    That’s impressive. Ralph Davis, owner of the Bills is not at the game today. It’s his first missed game in 52 years.

  95. Raul Says:

    Greinke has 5 strikeouts through 3 innings.
    I don’t know when he came back but Rickie Weeks is in the lineup.

  96. Raul Says:

    Tampa Bay is aiming to cut down Boston’s Wild Card lead to two games.
    They lead 3-0 on Tim Wakefield with David Price going for them.

    After today, Boston has 7 games remaining against the Orioles and 3 against the Yankees.

    Tampa will have 7 against the Yankees and 3 against the Blue Jays.

    Looks like Boston will hold on.

  97. Raul Says:

    Yankees down 2-0 on two Adam Lind homers.

    Not including Freddy Garcia’s game right now, he’s sporting a 4.91 ERA in the 2nd half of the season.

    Bartolo Colon is at 4.64 in the 2nd half.

    So you’re looking at CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and…why so serious?

  98. Mike Felber Says:

    You are setting up Straw Men Raul, assuming what many will say based on cliches. Lets take what you say individually.

    I do not know what you mean when you say the career wins list is “more impressive” than ERA. That is a shift in your argument-you were saying that the at first arguing it was a “more valid of a pitcher”.

    If you mean by impressive what you were getting at & what is relevant, how good a pitcher is, absolutely not. If you just mean that many folks will find high wins more impressive, sure, though that does not mean much. In fact, these folks & you are looking more at total wins than W-L %. If it is just what you say, wins, someone could have a near .500 record, or much worse, & be very impressive.

    When you say “reversed in the short term”, if you mean more people now see ERA, even non-adjusted, as more meaningful than wins-yes. But there is no indication that folks will go back to seeing just total wins as being most important, that is not intelligent thinng, & people ARE getting smarter about statistics overall.

    It was never “a few” people who looked at stats like total wins, RBIs, & runs as most important. Throughout the history of baseball, & still today to a lesser extent, fans & sportswriters have overrated guys whose park, line up, run support, defense & other contextual factors was high. And vice versa.

    We could provide you endless examples of guys getting undeserved awards & even HOF votes, or higher career placement than they deserved, due to these factors. And not necessarily ONLY look at them, but so many value those raw #s, those who do almost never look at context, so weigh it heavily.

    Some DO look at things very simplistically., Others not quite JUST look at wins, but weigh them as if in themselves contribute to showing exactly how good a pitcher is. Instead of considering what led to wins.

    Notice I did not need to call anyone I differed a moron or asshole. But as to the 270 wins vs. .33o ERA: yes, if you have only that, pick the former. Since as I took pains to indicate, of course wins CORRELATE with quality pitching. They just do not show how good or bad someone is. And someone who gets many wins is likely to be very good, so the ODDS are the 270 wins man will be better. The .330 guy very likely do this over a much shorter career, so even if he is ALSO a .330 pitcher, he will have contributed more & very likely had a higher peak.

  99. Mike Felber Says:

    I meant to type that you said a “more valid MEASURE of a pitcher”.

  100. Raul Says:

    Wow, Jason Campbell just launched a pass like 70 yards. Over threw the receiver but an impressive throw.

    21-17. Oakland leads but Buffalo is back in the game.

  101. Raul Says:

    I’m not setting up straw men any more than you are by wondering how many games a team would win with the best pitchers ever.

  102. Mike Felber Says:

    And to clarify: the even if the 270 wins guy had a .330 ERA, he was likely better than a random guy hitting .330: since pitching that long you are LIKELY very good. While just looking at ERA, the average pitcher has a much shorter career, so was likely not as good, did not have declining years that brought down his rate totals, thus had a lower peak.

    Though we do not know much at all, & nothing with any degree of certainty, just what the broad odds are, without ERA, park, length of career…Which is why adjusted ERA & other peripherals/FIP stats are so important.

  103. Mike Felber Says:

    Raul, about the Straw Men: I was addressing the 1st responses you made to my post: # 86 & 87. You seem to be going back to your post # 71, when you completely misread & presumed to abbreviate what I said. Which again was NOT how many wins all the best pitchers would win in neutralized contexts. It was how many MORE wins would a team which had the best relievers win compared to one with average ones, if both had the best starters ever.

    And you did not even try to answer the question you had, not me. You just said you thought they would win “a lot”.

  104. Raul Says:

    True, I did say they would win a lot.

    Mostly because I think trying to peg a specific number would be arbitrary.

  105. Chuck Says:

    David Price was hit on the chest with a line drive in the third inning. He finished the inning and pitched the fourth and really struggled.

    He’s been removed from the game and taken to a Boston hospital for XRays.

  106. Raul Says:

    The Chiefs are losing to the Lions.

    I’m concerned for Cameron.

  107. Raul Says:

    Cory Hart belted his 25th home run of the season.
    Very good considering he missed like a month.

  108. Raul Says:

    Wow. Hope David Price is ok. The baseball can come back pretty fast

  109. Raul Says:

    That should be Corey Hart.
    Apparently Cory Hart is a Canadian singer.

  110. Raul Says:

    Actually they’re spelled the same.

    The Bills now lead Oakland 31-28.

  111. Chuck Says:

    Mike, what I take from comment #98 is that sabermetrics and advanced stats are really no better at determining greatness than the normal, back of the baseball card stuff we all grew up with.

    Which is what us baseball people have been saying all along.

    To Raul’s point, I completely agree to what he said about choosing the 270 game winner over the 3.30 ERA guy.

    To win 270 games, you have to be a pretty darn good pitcher.

    The park you play in may help, it may not. The players around you may help, then again, they may not.

    It’s a blind number..you could have pitched for the early ’60’s Yankees, or you could have pitched for Tony LaRussa.

    The 3.30 ERA doesn’t tell us anything.

    Randy Johnson’s career ERA was 3.293, he was 137 games above .500 and won five Cy Youngs and will be a first ballot HOFer.

    Fritz Peterson’s career ERA was 3.298 and finished two games above .500 at 133-131 and never received a Cy Young vote.

    If you pick just on ERA, you’re an idiot.

  112. Raul Says:

    The point is that no one looks at one statistic and bases any opinion on 1 thing — except the people who use “WAR”.

    On a career level, Wins tell you a lot about a pitcher. In a single season, Wins don’t tell you very much.

    Just like on a career level, ERA+ tells you something about a pitcher. But in a single season, ERA+ is just a meaningless.

  113. Mike Felber Says:

    I agree with the vast majority of you rpost Chuck. But do you realize that we said virtually the same thing? Above, i said that to get so many wins, you likely would need to be very good. Maybe great. And that a .330 ERA without indication of era or length of career is pretty meaningless.

    But ERA + & length of career means a great deal in considering how good a pitcher is, certainly more than just wins, or W-L%.

    My only disagreement with you is that my comment in #98 indicates the opposite of what you think-that “back of card” stats are clearly inferior to modern metrics in determining quality. I think most baseball men know that today. W, W-L%, R, RBIs, are hugely context dependent. And average has always been overrated by most in what it says about how productive a hitter is & oft-OBP tells more there, & for overall offense, OPS +, esp. weighted (more heavily, ~ 1.8: 1 valuing OBP) is a vastly better arbiter of overall offensive value than 1 or any combination of average, RBIs, &/or Runs.

  114. Raul Says:


    If you can’t look at Willie Mays’ baseball card, see the slash stats and career runs and rbi and not know what kind of player he was, then you simply don’t know baseball.

    You don’t stick a thermometer in every steak to know if it’s cooked.
    Some shit is common sense.

  115. Mike Felber Says:

    Wins have SOME correlation to pitcher quality Raul, but very inaccurate. You are not even considering %. Actually, I think you mean wins when a guy wins a great deal. That is the only circumstance when it means much: a guy who has 100 wins if likely to be better than 10, & 200 more than both, 300 + guys the best on average.., Mainly because you are not going to be in the league as long if you are not as good.

    ERA + tells youa great deal about how good a pitcher was even in one year. If you mean how good he is over a career, of course you need career stats to see that. But if we are looking at what it says about one season, there IS some variability in how accurate it is: because of the luck of defenses & BBIP stats.

    Still, even before considering these factors it is usually not too far off, & significantly better than wins or W-L%, since it accounts for most of the variables that allow a pitcher to give up runs or not.

  116. Raul Says:

    ERA+ is one stat and even then it doesn’t mean anything on a 1 year basis.
    No one stat means anything.

    David Robertson has an ERA+ of 386.
    So what?

    Jair Jurrjens has a pedestrian 13 wins.

    Neither on their own are indicative of anything. No matter how complex or simple.

  117. Mike Felber Says:

    Raul: Please, more attention to the particulars of what i am saying!

    Of course guys who are amongst the best players ever are going to stand out! But that is a profoundly inexact measurement. When you consider era, park & line up, Mays is gonna be at least a little better than the average player in the live ball era when you adjust his #s. Playing through a pitchers era, & a lot at Candlestick Park. Though recall that othrough the vast majority of baseball card history, OBP & Slg. was not listed.

    But if you look at guys who played on either side of 1930, or during the steroid era, before even LOOKING at their home park, they will appear somewhat better than they were by traditional stats. Put them on a good hitting team too & they will appear MUCH better than they really were.

  118. Mike Felber Says:

    Right on # 116 Raul. BUT: you need to do less to ERA + to get it reflecting pitcher quality. Just consider IP. Meaning how much one pitched! ERA + reflects quality well over the time one pitches-which is all it is supposed to do Wins does not. Though most have thought it does throughout baseball history.

  119. Mike Felber Says:

    Big mistake in what i meant to say in #117: I meant that Mays is going to be at least a little better than his already very high traditional #s indicated, compared to live ball era players, when adjusting for era, park & line up. Not that he is just a bit better than an average player!

  120. Raul Says:

    It doesn’t matter that you have to consider Innings Pitched in addition to ERA+.

    You would consider Innings Pitched in tandem with Wins.
    You would consider ERA in tandem with Wins.

    You would pair up any saber stat with another stat.
    Just like you would pair up any traditional stat with another stat.

    That doesn’t make Wins any worse than any other metric.

    I’ve made the same point like 6 times now.
    And you can’t say that the same linking of one stat with another does not apply to ERA+ or anything.

    There’s no reason to denigrate the Win as an individual statistic when every statistic on it’s own is flimsy.

  121. Chuck Says:

    “But ERA + & length of career means a great deal in considering how good a pitcher is, certainly more than just wins, or W-L%.”

    ERA+ is based on length of career.

    Just like WAR.

    Because they’re counting stats.

    Just like wins.

    “know that today. W, W-L%, R, RBIs, are hugely context dependent.”

    Agreed..just like ERA+ and WAR.

    “weighted (more heavily, ~ 1.8: 1 valuing OBP) is a vastly better arbiter of overall offensive value than 1 or any combination of average, RBIs, &/or Runs.”

    Not even remotely true.

    Sabermetrics overrates Nolan Ryan.

    Truth is, he’s one of the more underrated pitchers.

  122. Mike Felber Says:

    Respectfully Raul you have been imprecise in addressing what I say. But we are getting closer to the truth here between us.

    Again, yes, you need at least total chances, reflected well in IP, to make sense of ERA +. But can you not see how it is still much better than wins as an arbiter of overall performance? ERA (+ is better) is a relevant RATE stat that measures pretty well quality while you pitch. Of course if you pair wins with it you get a good picture: ’cause wins tells you minimal info about how good you are-save for gnerally for the extremely few who win right around or over 20 games (& even then it is not very accurate).

    So wins NEEDS a relevant stat that measures overall performance, obviously something that shows adjusted runs allowed does this: wins is NOT adding any value!

    While ERA + tells pretty accurately the whole story of who was good, so shows a lot by itself, unlike wins. You just need to know how much someone pitched to say how much value they added, & usually very accurately.

    I NEVER said that how much you play is not important: that would be like saying that a guy who bats once & hits a home run is by far the best player ever! Virtually no saber guys would not automatically consider total playing time: that is exactly what stats like WAR & Win Shares closely account for.


  123. Mike Felber Says:

    ERA + is a rate stat Chuck. It measures how much above or below average you are in giving up earned runs, adjusted for context like era & park. Should have defense too.

    That it adds up these RATES over a career does not make it a counting stat! That would make every rate stat a counting stat. Of course a “rate” needs to be measured over a standard time, like 9 IP. And any rate stat can be calculated over a career. But that is not the meaning of a counting stat, which uses simple measures of outcomes produced: HRs, RBIs, R, Ks, BBs…

    ERA + is not based on career any more than one game, it is calculated based on runs allowed against league average & adjusted for context, regardless of whether <1 IP, or over 6000.

    You also supplied no reason whatsoever why weighted OPS + is not greatly better than counting stats, together or individually, in offensive defining total value.

    I am not sure what you are saying re: SM & Ryan. You say that it overestimates his value, yet you agree that he is underrated? Huh? You mean SM gets it right that he is undervalued, but even so assigns him TOO much value? Please clarify.

  124. Chuck Says:

    Nolan Ryan is underrated.

    Sorry, but I only speak one language.

    Don’t know what else you want from me.

  125. Mike Felber Says:

    You also said “Sabermetrics overrates Nolan Ryan”. So I ask again-you mean that he is underrated overall, but SM overcompensates in the other direction?

    If so, Let us go by B-R.com as a prominent example of the SM trend, that built maybe the most prominent WAR system.

    Ryan is #5 all time in IP. Which is relevant for WAR, ’cause it is a rate stat that adds up each year. In career WAR, Ryan is 16th. And they have him leading the league in WAR never, once for pitchers, & one x each for 2nd, 3rd & 4th. That does not sound excessive at 1st glance to me.

    The new “Fan Elorater” system has him at #17 all time. This I can see being a bit high: since peak value should be at least 1/2 of greatness in my mind, & Ryan had a good, not great for HOF pitchers, peak value.

    So the actual visitors to the site may overrate him, point in favor of your argument. But where would you have him all time amongst pitchers?

  126. Mike Felber Says:

    Here, i will try to be fair by giving some critiques of their rating results. 1st, going to the page showed Ryan up to # 15 all time. Understand they dinged the steroid guys which I have no problem with.

    Batters: I think they mean to rate the overall game of position players.
    Nonetheless, Gehringer is too high at #21. Henderson just ahead of Rose (26 & 27)? The difference should be bigger. Morgan at # 43 is WAY too low. As is Dick Allen at 147.

    Pitchers: Koufax is too high at #5. He just did not have the career value to justify that. Grove is too low at #9, he was superb relative to the era & his peers. Blyleven is a low at #34. Kevin Brown absurdly low at #82, unless he was penalized for presumed PED use.

    Other opinions of these ratings are welcome.

  127. Chuck Says:

    “Other opinions of these ratings are welcome.”

    Careful what you ask for.

    In terms of career WAR, Ryan ranks 16th.

    In terms of career ERA+, he’s in the 300 range, right along side such notables as Juan Guzman, Barry Zito, and the immortal Ice Box Chamberlain.

    Big discrepancy, don’t you think?

  128. Mike Felber Says:

    Yes, but not as much as it superficially seems by just looking at those stats. WAR can be accurate, or at least this version in this instance, & still a player rank much higher than career WAR indicates. Ryan pitched forever, 27 years, only Neikro in modern times had more IP, so his career WAR is EXPECTED to be much lower than his ranking. The same phenomena applies to Warren Spahn, to a degree Lefty.

    Saber guys will also look at peak WAr, & i think we agree that finding peak value is very important too. Your friend John Q. had suggested averaging career WAR & best 7 years. That is pretty decent-I might make at least a part of it best 3 years too.

    By this reckoning, Ryan would leapfrog over many players who have a better ERA + than him. Because of his peak value, & the value of being good over a very long career. So we consider how good someone was at their best & what they added over a career.

    Checking Ryan, he had a bit of a negaive defense over a career. Still Chuck, I agree that Ryan being rated 15 all time is too high. (By Elorater: understand that career WAR OR ERA+ alone does not indicate how good someone is. I asked how high you would rate him.

    How about more like 25 all time? That is where Glavine is by this rating system, & considering career length, ERA +, that he had excellent defense: I would put Glavine lower than Ryan, considering best years (IP figures into this), career & defense.

  129. John Says:

    “‘In terms of career WAR, Ryan ranks 16th.

    In terms of career ERA+, he’s in the 300 range, right along side such notables as Juan Guzman, Barry Zito, and the immortal Ice Box Chamberlain.”

    Right, and WAR’s a counting stat.

    If you pitch one inning, give up no runs, and then never pitch ever again, your ERA is 0.00. Your ERA+ is actually infinity. Obviously, your WAR is 0.0.

    Nolan Ryan, of course, pitched for 27 years and threw over 5000 innings. No one in any camp thinks he’s on par with fricken Juan Guzman.

    “ERA+ is based on length of career.
    Just like WAR.
    Because they’re counting stats.”

    ERA+ is not a counting stat. You’ve got to be kidding me.

    “You would consider Innings Pitched in tandem with Wins.
    You would consider ERA in tandem with Wins.”

    Or, you could stop being a luddite and ignore win/loss, and instead look at the million other tools you have available to you. Who gives a shit how many times a guy went 5+ IP and got more runs scored for him than against him? That’s meaningless. What if position players got “wins” based on whether or not they had more R/RBI’s than the opposing player who played their position? Wouldn’t that be, I dunno, retarded?

    “That doesn’t make Wins any worse than any other metric.”

    Aside from the fact that it means literally nothing, and fails to tell you something substantive.

    “If you can’t look at Willie Mays’ baseball card, see the slash stats and career runs and rbi and not know what kind of player he was, then you simply don’t know baseball.”

    Wouldn’t need runs and rbi. The baseball card wouldn’t, for example, tell me that he was the greatest defensive player, certainly at his position, and maybe of all-time. And besides, this is why people hate statistics. The idea that a baseball card alone can tell you how great a player is…that’s some nonsense.

    Mickey Mantle drove in 100+ runs exactly 4 times in his career. Joe Carter did it 10 times, including 6 in a row. You really wanna place any kind of meaningful value in a statistic like that?

    “On a career level, Wins tell you a lot about a pitcher.”

    That Jamie Moyer is about as awesome as Bob Feller?

    “To Raul’s point, I completely agree to what he said about choosing the 270 game winner over the 3.30 ERA guy.”

    Once again, in what batshit insane world do you not get to look at all a pitcher’s statistics? The world is on the brink of destruction and your only option to stop the cyborg invaders is to use human baseball players, that you can choose from any point in history to play against a team of cyborgs (presumably, of course, programmed by Billy Beane and other people who hate baseball to just go up there and draw walks)…but the internet has been knocked out and you have to rely on the tattered, incomplete remains of old baseball cards?

    “Randy Johnson’s career ERA was 3.293, he was 137 games above .500 and won five Cy Youngs and will be a first ballot HOFer.

    Fritz Peterson’s career ERA was 3.298 and finished two games above .500 at 133-131 and never received a Cy Young vote.”

    But, you could look at WAR and find that Randy Johnson is at a rather sturdy 91.8 and Fritz Peterson is at 16.9…but for some reason, that causes people to gouge eyes, proclaim witchcraft, and just generally freak the fuck out.

    Or, because Cyborgs aren’t destroying earth, you can notice that Johnson had an ERA+ of 136 compared to Peterson’s 101 in twice as many innings while striking out the most batters per 9 innings of any pitcher, ever, in the history of time.

  130. Raul Says:

    None of that changes the fact that your bullshit complicated metrics need other stats to have a leg to stand on.

    That’s true for any stat.

    Bill James once said that he planned to write a book about the greatest team of all-time. He would take the Big Red Machine and 1998 Yankees and all the others.

    He decided not to write the book because at the end of the day, the 1927 Yankees win and who the fuck doesn’t know about the 1927 Yankees?

    That’s precisely the point with you saber assholes and your arrogant statistics.

    You’re running around in circles and at the end of the day, you don’t know shit that you didn’t know before you started.

  131. Raul Says:

    In other news, about 11 games remain for most teams in the regular season.

    The Tigers are 14-3 in September.

    The Texas Rangers have a 4.5 game lead on the Angels and play them in the final series of the regular season — a 3 game set. Texas leads the head-to-head 9-7.

  132. Raul Says:

    The Brewers’ magic number is down to 4. They have 3 games each against the Cubs, Marlins and Pirates.

    Tony LaRussa, you’re fucking out. Kenny Powers is now a free agent.

  133. Raul Says:


    John, time to get on that playoff preview article.

  134. Mike Felber Says:

    Can you combine, project & confine all your anger to your limitless animus for Tony LaRussa Raul? Would make you nicer & less like the names you call those of a different (purely academic) ideology than you. Why are those who believe in SM assholes? Just because they disagree with you? Most all who advocate for them have been polite to you. And stats are not by themselves arrogant, & has been pointed out many times, traditionalists just rely on different stats.

    Now for substance. That to figure out a saber stat you need more than 1 measure does not show that it is BS. If any complexity makes a theory dubious, regardless of how it explains phenomena & the evidence for it. Let’s write off Einstein E=MC2, the nuclear energy/weapons & quantum theories it led to, & endless modern technology, abandon nano-medicine breakthroughs, chaos theory…

    Another matter submitted for general interest: Bertrand Russell wrote: “The theory of relativity is probably the greatest synthetic achievement of the human intellect up to the present time. It sums up the mathematical and physical labors of more than 2,000 years. Pure geometry, from Pythagoras to Riemann, the dynamics and astronomy of Galileo and Newton, the theory of electro-magnetism as it resulted from the researches of Faraday, Maxwell and their successors — all are absorbed, with the necessary modifications, in the theories of Einstein.”
    Article here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,866292-3,00.html

    The Bill James example seems especially inapplicable. James established NUMEROUS things that folks did not know or commonly believe. He just did not write that book because he agreed with that best team ever conventional wisdom. Though since James believed play quality improved over time, I suspect that he might well believe that while the ‘37 Yankees were best just plugging in their #s, they might not be the best in absolute terms.

  135. Raul Says:

    Bertrand Russell was a god among insects.
    So was Emma Goldman.

    But I’d rather keep my personal ideologies to myself.

  136. Mike Felber Says:

    ‘27 Yanks of course. But given the advance in physical skills, while Ruth & Gehrig would be great, I just do not think that they would best, say, the ‘98 Yankees in absolute terms. The pitching/reliever deficit would hurt them. but I would expect no team in anything from so far back to be competitive. The nature of baseball means that they might be, or at least would be in the proverbial ballpark.

    Can you imagine a B-ball, track & field or football team from then? They would be like a good HS team compared to the pros today!

  137. Raul Says:

    As James wrote about comparing teams across generations, it’s a two-way street.

    You can’t assume it’s a vacuum.

    If the 1927 Yankees played the 1998 Yankees, you would have to give the 27 Yankees all the benefits of technological advances. Better equipment. Better medical care. Better everything.

    Likewise, (or perhaps conversely), you would need to remove a lot of the benefits from the 1998 Yankees to bring them down to the 1927 Yankees.

    And you’d also have to assume the game was played differently.

  138. Mike Felber Says:

    Elorater also has Double XX too high: 9th? Considering total game, should not be above late teens.

  139. Chuck Says:


    John walks into an ice cream parlor that only sells vanilla and chocolate.

    He then rips the clerk a new one for ten minutes complaining they don’t have strawberry.

    Don’t complain about what you don’t have.

    You have two choices.

    Pick one.

  140. Chuck Says:


    I’m not a big fan of “Elorator” either, but I think the 17 for Ryan is pretty accurate.

    I could see him a few spots higher, maybe 13, 14, but certainly not much lower.

  141. Bob Says:

    The latest Elias rankings projections are up and 26 players are at the level of a Type A free agent, although Carlos Beltran cannot be offered arbitration.

  142. Bob Says:

    James Darnell, a high draft choice of the Padres in 2008 is going to miss the Arizona Fall League due to surgery on his labrum.

  143. John Says:

    “None of that changes the fact that your bullshit complicated metrics need other stats to have a leg to stand on.”

    That’s true, but the “bullshit complicated metrics” at least tell you SOMETHING.

    All a win tells you is that a pitcher made it 5 IP and had other people do better than people did against him.

    Did he pitch a 1-0 shutout?

    Did he give up 7 runs in 6, but get 9 runs of support?

    How meaningless is that?

    You look at WAR, or ERA+ in conjunction with IP, and you can get a very good idea or roughly how good a pitcher is.

    James Shields and Ivan Nova have the same number of wins.

    They are not “approximately as good.”

    “John walks into an ice cream parlor that only sells vanilla and chocolate.
    He then rips the clerk a new one for ten minutes complaining they don’t have strawberry.
    Don’t complain about what you don’t have.
    You have two choices.
    Pick one.”

    Or, he goes to an ice cream store that doesn’t suck.

  144. Chuck Says:

    “James Darnell, a high draft choice of the Padres in 2008 is going to miss the Arizona Fall League due to surgery on his labrum.”

    Diving for a ground ball against the Dbacks on Friday…hell of a play, too.

    He was going to the AFL to learn to play the OF, so it sucks all round for everyone, if he played well he would have a pretty good chance of making the team next year, especially with Chase Headley coming back.

  145. Raul Says:

    If the season ended today:

    Texas vs New York
    Boston vs Detroit

    Arizona vs Philadelphia
    Atlanta vs Milwaukee


    The big matchup there is Atlanta vs Milwaukee.

    Who’s the upset pick?
    Probably Texas over New York. An upset only in that NY has the better record.

  146. John Says:

    I agree.

    The Yankees, by virtue of their record and run differential are the clear favorite, but you’ve just gotta wonder about that pitching. Colon and Garcia have both come back to Earth in the second half (luckily for the Yankees, the bats have been nuts).

    How would you set the rotation at this point?

  147. Mike Felber Says:

    You are right Raul, to be fair, there is no one game that is more fair to play. You would with both rules, equipments, travel conditions, 81 games each. And the .27 Yanks would get all modern benefits: EXCEPT that since the postulate is that they would play with the bodies & conditioning they had, there is no reason to give them training that would aid their physical skills for months or years. They would get the technology, but not, say, weight training in advance of the mythical season. We would be comparing who they were under conditions separated by over 6 decades.

    James did recognize that the average player has gotten better.

    Chuck, you have Ryan higher than me, He was a unique pitcher, always challenging hitters, seemingly never pitching to the score or “to contact.” He was superb at giving up few hits, though as WHIP reflects, a high rate of walks gave back that value. He also was great at Ks & did not give up many HRs-I was surprised how few. I would rate him lower due to valuing peak value highly.

    But his endurance, especially as a power pitcher, was extraordinary. A power pitcher being good & his last 5 times leading the league in Ks are 5 straight years ending at age 44, is incredible. And he did it clean with conditioning & guts.

  148. Raul Says:

    Sabathia is on schedule to start Game 1, which should start on Friday, the 30th, I believe.

    Hughes got rocked against Boston at the end of August but has bounced back well – albeit against Baltimore and Seattle. He had back spasms so his last start just got bumped to tomorrow.

    Garcia and Colon have posted ERAs in the mid-to-high 4.00s since the break and I have little confidence there.

    Burnett is out. At least, I have serious concerns. If he puts up 2 good starts this week, who knows, though. Gonna be hard for the Yankees to accept 16 million on the bench. Burnett does have good numbers against the Rangers batters though.

    Probably looking at Sabathia, Colon and Nova — only because the Yankees never have faith in young pitchers when it comes to the playoffs so Colon might get a shot. I think Nova probably deserves to go 2nd though. Talk about missing Andy Pettitte right about now…

  149. Raul Says:

    What is interesting will be whether Posada gets left off the postseason roster.

    In my opinion, he probably should be left off.

    Criticize Montero all you want, but he’s a better bat than Posada. Even if Jorge offers some switch-hitting benefit.

    Thing is, Cervelli is out. And any injury to Russell Martin screws the Yankees because Montero is not going to catch in the playoffs. Not even for a second.

    So maybe Posada does get on as a last resort…say…instead of using Montero or Romine as the backup catcher.

  150. Raul Says:


    I forgot about the whole “yankee legacy” thing.

    Guess they won’t want Posada’s Yankeeography to show he was dropped from a potential WS Championship team. He’ll on the roster for sure now.

  151. John Says:

    Watching the Yankee game.

    Burnett was solid through 3 but surrendered a run in the 4th and imploded in the 5th.

    My fantasy team is in the championships, despite me paying almost no attention to it. Counter-intuitively, I’ve decided to pay attention.

    I’ve conceded batting average. I went ahead and picked up Ben Revere to try and win stolen bases, and he’s rewarded me with 2 today (and was just robbed of a third…blown call by the ump).

  152. John Says:

    I dunno about Posada. Seems like it wouldn’t hurt to have a starting catcher and two guys who can kind of catch and kind of hit in case of injury. I mean, Posada has never been a good catcher or game-caller, but at least he’s done it as a professional, at the big league level.

    Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler would run circles around Montero.

    5-4 Yankees, so 602 might be coming up in a couple innings.

  153. John Says:

    Perfect bunt single by el capitan – Twins 3B was too far back, and Jeter recognized it.

    Granderson up now…hit his 41st HR in the first.

  154. Raul Says:

    Jeter has played very well in the 2nd half.

    Enough for me to shut up about him.

  155. Chuck Says:

    Posada’s the backup at first for Tex, so he’s on the roster regardless.

    Martin is on, Cervelli’s on if healthy, if not it’s Romine, Montero’s off.

    I don’t think they can carry both anyway because neither was on the 40 man roster as of September first. Obviously they could get an injury exception for one of them, but like Raul said, no way the Yanks risk carrying Montero just for his bat and having to catch him if Martin gets hurt.

    Besides, Girardi doesn’t like him anyway.

  156. Raul Says:

    Here’s what I don’t understand…

    Even if we accept that teams save their relievers for the playoffs, what excuse is there NOT to have your closer go 2-3 innings in every playoff appearance?

    Let’s suppose Sabathia goes out in Game 1 and it’s the 8th inning.
    4-2 score. Sabathia gives up a leadoff double and he’s at 118 pitches. How can anyone but Rivera come in the game at that point?

    Right? But no, you’ll always see the set-up man in there. Why? Saving Rivera for Game 2 and 3?

    There is no Game 2 and 3.
    And you’ve got 6 months rest to rest. Who give a sh*t?

    …temper check…

    I’m fine now. Sorry.

  157. John Says:

    Sox lost…Rays deficit now down to 1.5 games.

  158. Raul Says:

    Yeah I commented on the other article. Sox play another one tonight.

    Unlikely they lose with Lester on the mound, but let’s see!

  159. John Says:

    Red Sox nation is going to root hard for the Yankees this week…

  160. Chuck Says:

    Boston sucks, Boston sucks, Boston sucks….

  161. Raul Says:

    Yeah I think NY has 6 or 7 games against Tampa.

    The thing is, if Tampa dominates the Yankees and Boston wins, NY could be out, no?

  162. John Says:

    That could happen.

    Highly unlikely.

    Rivera just got 602.

  163. Chuck Says:

    I really don’t know how Mo continuously pitches under such stress, dude’s got icewater in his veins.

    I mean, it’s inhuman to expect someone to retire three hitters with a two run lead.

  164. Raul Says:

    Mookie Wilson. Now that’s pressure.

    Well, before the wild pitch…

  165. Mike Felber Says:

    It makes no sense not to go with closers for longer periods to shut down crucial playoff & other games. Absolutely Raul.

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