April 15, 2009

Some Globe Baseball Writers Are Unfamiliar With How Baseball Teams And A Baseball Season Work

Tony Massarotti, Tuesday, April 14, 2009:
There really is just one question: When? When is it officially time to start wondering? When does this become something more than just an ill-timed anomaly? When does a slump become a baseline performance?

Two more days? Two weeks? Two months? ...

In the bigger picture, there is still nothing to worry about. In the shorter term ... the Red Sox have done little thus far to answer so many of the questions they took into the 2009 season. ...

There is a high probability that we all forget this as soon as the Sox start stringing together quality at-bats and victories, which they are capable of doing at any moment. Had this season-opening streak taken place in June rather than April, we would chalk it up to nothing more than a meaningless midseason slide. ...
It's clear that Mazz would like nothing more than to run up on the nearest hilltop and start flapping his arm and screaming "PANIC!!11!!!", but some small part of his brain resists -- or he's merely feigning resistance so as to not appear to his readers like he's thinking on an 8-year-old level. I can't tell which.

Nick Cafardo, Sunday, April 12, 2009:
They [Texas Rangers] clobbered Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, Fausto Carmona, and Carl Pavano, looking like a team that could surpass the major league-high 901 runs they scored last season. And their pitching looked as if it might be better than the staff that posted a dead-last 5.37 ERA in 2008.

But after the Cleveland series, the next day in Detroit they were dismantled by the Tigers, 15-2, giving rise to the obvious question, "Which team are they?"
A team looked good one day and then looked bad the next day? WOW -- what the bloody hell is going on?

For good measure, Cafardo also asked:
With all the modern science to aid them and the strict pitch counts, why do so many pitchers still get hurt, compared with the old days?
Oy. (You may have noticed that Cafardo did not site any facts or figures regarding the number of injured pitchers in 2008 or 2001 or 1983 or 1959 or 1890. Did Nick notice? (And as we noted in the Fidrych post, not every manager believes in strict pitch counts.))

It doesn't have to be this way -- old dogs can learn new tricks -- but Adam Kilgore, perhaps not coincidentally, a younger writer at the Globe, brings far more intelligence (and common sense) to the paper's coverage:
Why not to worry

April lies. One month – let alone one week, which is what has elapsed in the Red Sox' season – is an inadequate measure of a team. If the Red Sox were playing an NFL season, they would be about halfway through the third quarter of the first game. Maybe 2-5, Boston's worst seven-game mark since 1996, is unsettling, but there’s a good chance it's a mirage. ...

[S]even games is such a ridiculously small sample size to base any kind of conclusion on. ... Dustin Pedroia is not going to finish with a 52 OPS+, and Lester won't have a 1.82 WHIP, and the Red Sox aren't going to hit .180 with runners in scoring position, etc. You can go on and on. It's just too soon to worry.
And after last night's 12-inning loss, it is still too early.


Dr. Jeff said...

This article
, by Jeff Passan on yahoosports, is about how the Indians, after starting 1-6, should panic.

Dr. Jeff said...

By the way, do pitch counts (as reported) always include foul balls with 2 strikes? If you add up the balls and strikes and balls put into play etc. you would get a lower number. Are 2-strike fouls entered into the official scorecard somehow?

Benjamin said...

It's too early to worry about the season, but it isn't too early to suffer. And I don't like suffering.

By the way, do pitch counts (as reported) always include foul balls with 2 strikes?

Yes, of course. Where'd you get the idea they wouldn't?

Jere said...

I'm guessing the good doctor knows that every pitch "counts" in terms of wear on the pitcher's arm--maybe he just was wondering like if in the actual stats they consider every pitch a "pitch," since pitch counts weren't even kept at all until recently. Or something.

Hey, did anyone see Tony Mazz's NESN pre-game interview yesterday? TC says, "the injuries are mounting" or something, and Mazz gets this huge smile on his face. I really think the guy in general likes to stir up shit/sell papers. This is why fan blogs are better, at least in some areas--the reporters all have an agenda, they WANT chaos and panic because they need storylines. The fuckwads on sports radio come right out and say it all the time--they sheepishly say, "well, that would be good for US" (if Manny/Pedro goes to the Yanks, if Papi goes into a year-long slump, etc.)

Dr. Jeff said...

Obviously they count for the pitcher, but if you are keeping score at home, usually the B&S are tallied but not the fouls. So I didn't know if they showed up in the official scorecard, or if it only was tallied by the team (the pitcher with the clipboard?).

Jere said...

On the scorecard, you can add little dots on each at bat for foul balls. Allan, how do you track foul balls on your card?

redsock said...

I use dots for throws to first, actually.

Somewhere on the blog is a jpg of The Steal on my scorecard, so you could see what the individual boxes look like. No idea where though. Maybe I'll upload a scorecard soon.