Musings on the World Series

Posted 11/02/2010 by sportsphd
Categories: Baseball

This was basically a fun Series to watch. Neither team involved were ones that I cared about, and neither had won the Series in my lifetime. Both had enjoyable teams with a number of players that I like on each side. The games were essentially well-played, except for the Rangers bullpen in Game 2. This is about all I can ask from a World Series that does not involve the Twins. A few random thoughts:

In Texas, only one run was scored without the benefit of a home run in the 3 games played. Congratulations to Edgar Renteria and Andres Torres in the 7th inning of Game 4 for proving that home runs are not the only way to score.

Fox flashed a stat last night that only four players had the clinching hit in at least two different World Series: Lou Gehrig (1932, 1936), Joe Dimaggio (1939, 1949), Yogi Berra (1950, 1956), and Edgar Renteria (1997, 2000). [Berra also scored the winning run in 1958, though he didn’t drive it in.] Which of these is not like the others?

Now each of the original teams that moved has won a title in their new city:

  • St. Louis Browns > Baltimore Orioles (1966, 1970, 1983)
  • Washington Senators > Minnesota Twins (1987, 1991)
  • Boston Braves > Milwaukee Braves (1957) > Atlanta Braves (1995)
  • Philadelphia Athletics > Kansas City Athletics > Oakland Athletics (1972, 1973, 1974, 1989)
  • Brooklyn Dodgers > Los Angeles Dodgers (1959, 1963, 1965, 1981, 1988)
  • New York Giants > San Francisco Giants (2010)

Of course, a number of expansion teams have moved as well with less success.  And in the A’s attempt to be a part of the Yankees farm system while in Kansas City, they also did not win a title.

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Oops

Posted 11/02/2010 by sportsphd
Categories: Baseball

Congratulations, San Francisco.

World Series Predictions

Posted 10/27/2010 by sportsphd
Categories: Baseball

Tags: , ,

The Rangers in 5

Predictions, Round 2

Posted 10/15/2010 by sportsphd
Categories: Baseball

Given my AL pennant winner just lost, let’s try this again:

Phillies over Giants
Rangers over Yankees

Predictions and a Recap

Posted 10/05/2010 by sportsphd
Categories: Baseball

First I’d like to revisit my preseason predictions, and then I’ll lay out a few going forward:

AL East – New York Yankees
AL Central – Minnesota Twins
AL West – Texas Rangers
Wild Card – Tampa Bay Rays
NL East – Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central – St. Louis Cardinals
NL West – Colorado Rockies
Wild Card – Atlanta Braves

Overall, it was a good year for completely unscientific picking. I flipped the AL East and Wild Card but nailed all four teams. In the NL I missed both the Central and the West, picking teams that finished second and third. All told, not bad.

Sadly my joy ends there. I picked the Cardinals to win it all. Oh well.

To reboot my predictions given what really happened, I’d break it down like this:
Rays over Rangers
Yankees over Twins
Phillies over Reds
Giants over Braves
Rays over Yankees
Phillies over Giants
Phillies over Rays

Your predictions?

When a Win was Really a Win

Posted 09/11/2010 by sportsphd
Categories: Baseball

In a recent post, Sports Illustrated writer Joe Posnanski suggested, in passing, that it might be time to revamp the win stat. The idea strikes me as reasonable, but I don’t want to weigh in on it any detail right here. I would like to note briefly that changing the definition of stats is not unheard of, and then I would like to talk about my favorite historic pitching staff.

First, stat definitions change over time. To give two prominent examples, the stolen base changed in 1898. Before that year, you were credited with advancing from first to third on a single with a stolen base, and the same thing was true going second to home. Now, of course, stolen bases can only occur in the absence of a hit. Second, the modern home run dates to 1931. Prior to that, home runs could be credited on a ball that bounced over the outfield fence; now that is a double. Stats change, and the win stat could be one of those.

Now to turn to the point of the post, the 1904 Boston Americans (Red Sox). A standard criticism of contemporary wins is the effect of the bullpen. When a pitcher only goes 6 innings, the players who pitch the final 3 innings have extraordinary impact on wins, both for the team and for the pitcher. This is undoubtedly true now, but it was not always the case. Note the Red Sox:

Pitcher G GS CG
Cy Young 43 41 40
Bill Dinneen 37 37 37
Jesse Tannehill 33 31 30
Norwood Gibson 33 32 29
George Winter 20 16 12

I don’t think the bullpen cost this team any wins. Above are the only five players to throw a pitch for the team that season. They completed an astonishing 148 of the 154 full games that year. (They started 157, but 3 of those games were suspended.) We don’t know how this staff would have performed in the postseason, though they were the defending champs of the first World Series. The 1904 Giants ducked them, refusing to play the Series. The matchup of this staff versus the Giants 1-2 punch of Iron Man McGinnity (35-8, 170 ERA+) and Christy Mathewson (33-12, 134 ERA+) could have been epic. Now we can only speculate. (Kevin Graham of DMB World Series Replay gives the mythical series to the Giants, 4-3.)

My All-Time Favorite Team

Posted 09/07/2010 by sportsphd
Categories: Baseball

I recently saw this post by John Sickels, who runs a fantastic prospect blog for those who follow such things, and I thought I would duplicate it and get some thoughts from everyone else.  Below is my favorite team, i.e. my favorite players that I actually saw play, by position:

C – Joe Mauer
1B – Albert Pujols
2B – Chase Utley
SS – Roy Smalley
3B – Jim Thome
OF – Kirby Puckett
OF – Gabe Kapler
OF – Brett Butler
DH – Paul Molitor
SP – Brad Radke, Greg Maddux, Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer, Tim Wakefield
RP – Dennis Eckersley, Joe Nathan, Billy Wagner, Paul Assenmacher, Eric Plunk

The list is nothing if not idiosyncratic. What’s yours?