Comments on: More Random Division Series Notes This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Great 1-2-3 Rotation Combos In a Best-of-7 Series » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Wed, 13 Oct 2010 12:52:17 +0000 [...] week I posted about how often the team with the best Game 1 starter by WAR wins the Division Series (only 55%, as [...]

By: Mike Thu, 07 Oct 2010 16:54:40 +0000 This is just a list of who started game 1, not the team leader in WAR for pitchers. If a team had to clinch at the end of the regular season, like Milwaukee in 2008, they used their ace (Sabathia, 4.8 WAR in 130 IP for Mil) to clinch so he didnt start game 1 of the playoffs. Also Yovanni Gallardo accumulated his 1.1 WAR in only 24 IP that season.

By: Keeping Score: Parallel Paths of Halladay and Lee - Thu, 07 Oct 2010 16:37:50 +0000 [...] Game 1 of the Yankees-Twins division series marked the fourth time the two teams have faced each other in the last eight postseasons, only the eighth such instance in the World Series era. This decade alone, they joined the Red Sox-Angels (four matchups from 2004 to 2009) and Braves-Astros (five matchups from 1997 to 2005). You can read about the other familiar playoff matchups at the blog. [...]

By: Johnny Twisto Thu, 07 Oct 2010 14:50:53 +0000 John, Molina only got those starts last season because the team had decided to make him Burnett's personal catcher about halfway through the season. There was some controversy about whether that would continue in the postseason. I'd bet that Posada started every postseason game from 2000 to 2008, unless he was hurt. I am not sure what the plans are this year but I would not be surprised if Posada starts all the games at catcher. Cervelli is superior defensively, but that isn't difficult. From what I've seen, I think a lot of the problems in throwing out basestealers this year is on the pitchers. Posada's one slightly positive defensive skill throughout his career has been his arm -- when not recovering from a couple shoulder surgeries, he has generally thrown pretty well with a good release. He may not be throwing as well now as he once did but the poor % is not all his fault.

By: Larry R. Thu, 07 Oct 2010 13:22:17 +0000 And this, my friends, is why they play the games. Take all the stats on any given day and throw them out the window. Who's going to win a ballgame, any ballgame...flip a coin.

By: John Autin Thu, 07 Oct 2010 04:42:15 +0000 (Upon seeing Joe Mauer ground out to Mariano Rivera: )

Has there ever been a pitcher who induced so many weak groundouts to the pitcher?
Rivera has assisted on almost 10% of the non-strikeout outs in his career.
By comparison, contemporary closer Trevor Hoffman has assisted on less than 4% of his non-strikeout outs.

Ah, but Rivera's GB/FB ratio is about twice Hoffman's, so maybe Rivera's assists just reflect his general GB tendencies.

Since the Play Index doesn't cover fielding, nor GB/FB ratios, I'll take just one more shot with a pitcher I know to have a very high GB/FB ratio, even though he's not a reliever: Brandon Webb.

Webb has a much higher GB/FB ratio than Rivera, 1.82 to 1.03.
Still, Webb has assisted on a lower percentage of his non-strikeout outs, 9.3% to 9.7%.

Incredibly unscientific as that "study" was, I now feel more certain of my initial assumption.

P.S. Does anyone know of an efficient way to check this kind of thing?

By: John Autin Thu, 07 Oct 2010 04:21:22 +0000 It seems ironic that Joe Girardi is now in charge of deciding how to balance Jorge Posada's potent bat against his well-known defensive shortcomings.

Posada started tonight in ALDS game 1. He has let in a run on a passed ball, but also has hit 2 for 4 with a ribbie and a run. I started thinking about this while noting that Posada was still behind the plate in the bottom of the 7th, after the Yankees took a 6-4 lead; Posada was due to lead off the 8th for NYY.

Joe Girardi played for the Yankees from 1997-99. He was the #1 catcher in '97, with Posada the backup, but Posada took over the starting role in '98.

In 5 postseason games in '97, #1 catcher Girardi got all 5 starts.
In 25 postseason games in '98-99, #1 catcher Posada started just 11 times, while #2 Girardi started 14 times.

Whether those decisions by Joe Torre were "right" at the time, the fact is that Posada has hit much worse in the postseason than in the regular season -- a .736 OPS in 441 postseason PAs, vs. .856 OPS in the regular season.

Now Girardi is in charge. Last year, Posada got the lion's share of postseason playing time over Jose Molina -- Posada started 10 of the 15 games, and got 58 PAs to Molina's 7.

This year, the Yankees' backup catcher is Francisco Cervelli. (Technically, he caught a little more than Posada, but I stick by my ranking.) Cervelli is about equal to Girardi as a hitter: decent BA, no power. But superficially, at least, he's no great improvement over Posada behind the plate, with 55 SB/14% CS, and 37 (WP+PB) in 80 starts and 724 defensive innings; Posada allowed 72 SB/15% CS, with 40 (WP+PB) in 78 starts and 678 defensive innings.

So maybe that's why Posada is still catching as we go to the bottom of the 9th.

By: Ryan Thu, 07 Oct 2010 03:52:23 +0000 Thanks Neil!

I am interested if the same percentage holds over a series first 2 games. We hear so often about how "two good starters" are all you need to win in a short series.

I'm interested if history supports this oft repeated refrain.

Someone else mentioned this, but maybe starters like Brian Duensing in last year's LDS, should not count towards the total. Meaning guys who weren't number 1 or 2 starters, but had to start those games because the #1 or #2 guys were not available.

By: John Autin Thu, 07 Oct 2010 03:33:31 +0000 Jesse Crain just gave up a 2-run, tie-breaking HR to Teixeira in the 7th.

That's 4 postseason appearances by Crain, none of them good.
-- 2004 ALDS game 3: Entered with a man on 2nd and 2 out, allowed a run-scoring single.
-- 2006 ALDS game 1: Began the 9th trailing 2-1, gave up a HR to the first batter.
-- 2006 ALDS game 3: Entered in the 7th trailing 4-2, 2 out, 2 on; first batter reached on error, then he walked in a run and allowed a 3-run double.
-- 2010 ALDS game 1: Began the 7th in a 4-4 tie, got an out, then allowed single-HR-single and was pulled.

By: Neil Paine Thu, 07 Oct 2010 02:57:04 +0000 Re: #10 - I did. You can use the game finder to come up with a list of starting pitchers by round and game # of series:

Seasonal WAR was more difficult, and involved converting the names on that list to Retrosheet IDs and cross-referencing a WAR file (not really something you can do readily on the site).