Comments on: Mariano Rivera’s back-to-back blown saves This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jimbo Tue, 26 Apr 2011 23:43:10 +0000 Yeah it was a very bizarre walk. Another reason against it was that it wasn't a sudden death bottom of the ninth situation. Moving the runners up meant a single by Boggs could score 2, and a double could score 3, etc. all runs that could matter.

If you really don't want Williams to beat you, why not throw him some junk in the dirt and see if he chases? If the runners advance on a WP, then maybe give him the pass...

By: John Autin Tue, 26 Apr 2011 21:55:25 +0000 @31, Jimbo -- I thought it was a terrible decision because you end up with a (by now) mediocre pitcher who has already unintentionally walked a batter in the inning (one whom he definitely didn't want to walk), facing a declining but still .389-OBP-posting future HOF hitter who rarely strikes out and still draws a lot of walks, in a situation where all the pressure is on the mediocre pitcher.

I'm sure there was some lefty-righty thinking involved, and it's true that all the players involved in the decision have conventional splits. (Williams, a switch hitter, was a better hitter as a righty.) But Cox overreacted to that data. The platoon advantage he gained was not worth the bases he gave up.

The issue isn't just the difference between Bernie's BA and Wade's OBP; it's also the possibility of a wild pitch or passed ball, a bobble on the infield, a balk....

The other reason I hate the move -- and saberists will scoff, but nevertheless -- is that, with a 2-1 lead in the Series, you create bad karma by playing scared. And it gave the impression that Cox was traumatized by the 3-run HR Wohlers had served up to Leyritz. The move made it seem that Cox was worried about a home run in that Avery-Bernie situation, so he walks the power hitter to face the slap hitter. Now, obviously, a HR by Bernie would have been bad; but just as clearly, the possibility of a HR should not be the #1 concern there.

By: Jimbo Tue, 26 Apr 2011 20:01:33 +0000 @31

I was just looking at the box score for that IBB that you say was so stupid.

With a man on 1st and 2nd in a tie game with 2 outs, the Braves walked Bernie Williams (switch hitter) to load the bases. The Yanks then pinch hit with Wade Boggs, a lefty, to face Steve Avery, a lefty, a move I'm assuming Bobby Cox could see coming.

I'm assuming the Williams IBB is terrible because of advancing the runners, with Boggs still a good hitter coming up?

Any thoughts on Cox decision, why he made it, and other reasons why it was terrible?

By: John Autin Tue, 26 Apr 2011 03:33:43 +0000 For proof that the Braves' postseason disappointments were mainly the fault of the offense, just look at the game logs. They played 125 postseason games from 1991-2005. They averaged 4.24 R/G, which is OK. But:

-- They scored 3 runs or less in almost half those games (62), going 15-47.
-- They scored 2 runs or less 43 times -- more than a third of their postseason games -- and went 9-34.
-- They scored 1 run or less 25 times (20.3% of the games), going 5-20.

By: John Autin Tue, 26 Apr 2011 03:19:11 +0000 @25, TheIronHorse -- How many more WS do you think the Braves would have won if they'd had Mariano Rivera during their 14-year playoff run from 1991-2005?

I think the legend of Atlanta's shaky bullpen is 90% myth. They didn't win more WS because they hit poorly in the postseason.

The Braves had 9 postseason blown saves from 1991-2003. In order:

(1) 1991 WS game 3: Alejandro Pena gave up a 2-run HR in the 8th to tie the game. Atlanta won that game in 12 innings. In their 4 Series losses, they scored a total of 7 runs.

(2) 1992 WS game 2: Mike Stanton and Jeff Reardon preserved a 1-run lead in the 8th, each getting an out with runners on the corners. But Reardon gave up a 2-run HR in the 9th, and Atlanta lost that game. In their 4 Series losses, they scored a total of 10 runs.

(3) 1995 NLDS, game 1: Pena blew a 1-run lead in the 8th, but they scored in the 10th and Atlanta won that game and that series.

(4) 1995 WS, game 3: Mark Wohlers blew a 1-run lead in the 8th (coming in with 1 out and runners on the corners, he allowed just the 1 run). Wohlers pitched scoreless ball in the 9th and 10th, but Atlanta lost in 11 innings. But they still won the WS.

(5) 1996 NLCS, game 5: The Braves led 3-0 into the 7th, but Neagle put 2 on with 2 out and Greg McMichael let in both runners and one of his own, then gave up a go-ahead HR in the 8th, and Atlanta lost. McMichael was charged with a blown save ... but I don't recall Mariano Rivera coming on in the 7th inning in any postseason game since he became a closer. Anyway, Atlanta won that series.

(6) 1996 WS, game 4: This is the one everybody remembers. Atlanta was 5 outs from a 3-1 lead in the series when Wohlers gave up a game-tying 3-run HR to Jim Leyritz. Atlanta lost in the 10th when Steve Avery walked in the go-ahead run (after one of the stupidest intentional walks in the history of baseball at any level). The Braves scored 2 runs in the final 2 games and lost the Series; in their 4 WS losses, they totalled 10 runs.

(7) 1999 NLDS, game 3: This barely qualifies: Mike Remlinger allowed a game-tying run in the 7th. Atlanta won the game and the series anyway.

(8) 1999 NLCS, game 4: Stymied by Rick Reed for 7 innings on the minimum 21 batters, Atlanta went ahead in the 8th with back-to-back solo HRs. But John Rocker allowed 2 inherited runners to score, and Atlanta lost the game. But they still won the series.

(9) 2003 NLDS, game 2: John Smoltz had as great a regular season as any reliever ever dreamed, with a 1.12 ERA. He blew a 1-run lead in the 8th, but Atlanta won by scoring 2 runs right back. They lost this series in 5 games, scoring 4 runs in the 3 losses.

So let's tally up:
-- In 4 of the 9 games, Atlanta won the game anyway.
-- Of the 5 game losses, they still won that series 3 times.
-- That leaves only 2 games that conceivably had any impact on a series outcome. Yes, they were 2 big WS games. But each of those losses left the Braves even in the Series -- tied 1-1 in the '92 WS, and 2-2 in the '96 WS.

I'll split the difference. The Wohlers game likely cost them the '96 Series. But it would be a stretch to assign the same burden to the Reardon game in '92. It was early in the Series; it was a 1-run lead; and they lost the Series in 6 games.

Bottom line: In my opinion, if the Braves had prime Mariano Rivera in every one of their playoff years from 1991 to 2005, they would have won 1 extra WS.

By: Jeff Tue, 26 Apr 2011 02:44:05 +0000 You know Rivera is good when two blown saves in row turns out to be such a big deal. I remember when Bobby Ayala was pitching for Seattle in the 90's: it was cause for celebration when he DIDN'T blow two saves in a row.

Rivera's present situation reminds me of Dennis Eckersley at his peak as a reliever in the late 80's or early 90's. "Oh my god, he WALKED a guy!"

Those who think Rivera is losing it may have a point: his ERA is all the way up to 2.53 this year, and he has only seven saves. I guess the sky is falling after all.

By: John Autin Tue, 26 Apr 2011 02:24:35 +0000 @24, Ed -- No, I'm not an Indians fan, so I don't really know the history there. But yes, what you described does happen. What I meant to say is how foolish it is when managers do that.

And it's true that newly-minted "closers" sometimes struggle, and once in a while such a guy is even given enough rope to justify yanking him from the role.

But every single year produces a handful of brand-new "closers" drawn from the ranks of the setup men or the "unproven" minor-league closers. Already this year: Jose Contreras for Philly; Mitchell Boggs for St. Louis; Kyle Farnsworth for Tampa; Sean Burnett for Washington; Jordan Walden for the Angels; Joel Hanrahan for Pittsburgh; Brandon League for Seattle.

And others have returned to closing after working setup for a while: Brian Fuentes of Oakland; J.J. Putz of Arizona; Matt Capps once again filling in for Joe Nathan in Minnesota; Jon Rauch in Toronto.

Too much myth and mystery has been attached to closing. Most good major-league pitchers would do an acceptable job at it. And most "established closers" aren't really any better at it than two or three of their bullpen mates would be if given the shot.

By: Brendan Tue, 26 Apr 2011 01:59:35 +0000 @21

You got ninja'd!

By: rico petrocelli Tue, 26 Apr 2011 00:42:49 +0000 No one metioned that Month 422.s to BS more when called on for a multi inning save


By: BSK Mon, 25 Apr 2011 23:52:39 +0000 Can anyone figure out what Rivera's Saves/Blown Saves are in games in which he started the 9th with a 3-run lead? I have no idea how to do that on PI.

Basically, I'm trying to figure out the expected Win Probability of a given save situation and then Rivera's success in these areas. Maybe this is exactly the same as WPA, but I feel like it's different. If team's win 97% of games in which they hold a 3-run lead in the 9th and Rivera's teams win 97% of games in which he enters the 9th with a 3-run-lead, than what does that say about his value?