April 26, 2016

Announcers Say The Darndest Things

In the bottom of the first inning of last night's game, NESN's Steve Lyons said:
If you get 10 hits, you should win a ball game.
This struck me as very silly, since the object of a team is to get runs, not hits. I understand, of course, that if a team gets 10+ hits in a game, it likely means they have scored at least a handful of runs, possibly (or probably) enough to win the game. But it's still an odd thing to say.

I checked this season's games with Baseball Reference's amazing Play Index. There have been 152 instances in which a team got 10 hits and won, and 47 instances in which a team got 10 hits and lost. That's a .764 winning percentage. In 2015, teams with 10+ hits went 1299-534, .708. So teams with 10+ hits win roughly three out of every four games. Maybe (gulp) Lyons wasn't so silly after all.
I must give thanks to Lyons for noting in the top of the third inning, with Mookie Betts on second base, that "a single most likely would drive in a run". I swear Lyons emphasized the words "most likely", indicating that a run would not be guaranteed to score. I desperately want to believe that Lyons was directing his comment to NESN's Dave O'Brien, who regularly says, with a runner on second, that a hit "will" drive in a run or a hit "means" a run - as though that result is codified in the rule book.

Last night, O'Brien watched as Christian Vazquez had to stay at second even as Rick Porcello bunted for a single. Will that cause him to reflect on (and then correct) his choice of words in the future? I doubt it.
O'Brien also said (as the game begun) that Porcello was off to the "best start of his career". O'Brien likely meant Porcello's 3-0 record, because he (and Lyons) made a big deal later in the game about the possibility of going to 4-0. O'Brien and Lyons should know that W-L records are virtually useless for pitchers. I'll look instead at Porcello's ERA, which was 4.66 (nearly one run above the AL average of 3.71) at the start of last night's game:

Porcello's ERA After Three Starts
2016 - 4.66
2015 - 6.63
2014 - 3.15
2013 - 11.08 (also included one relief appearance)
2012 - 6.32
2011 - 6.19
2010 - 6.46
2009 - 4.50
Porcello has had two seasons in which his ERA was lower after three starts than it was in 2016, though only 2014 is substantially lower. I would say that Porcello was not off to the best start of his career.
During a game on the last homestand, the Red Sox were trailing by a couple of runs and batting in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, O'Brien said the team was "down to their last man". This statement was completely wrong. The Red Sox were, in fact, down to their last out. There is a huge difference. As long as the Red Sox did not make the game's final out, they could keep sending men to the plate. O'Brien should know better.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

NSEN has their man lol