This Week in News and Sabermetrics, 4/13-4/19

With another full week of baseball in the books, let’s recap the daylights out of it… or at least in a similar fashion to last week’s TWINS article.
Interesting Bits of Tid
Well, the first of many Johan vs. Hamels matchups is in the book, with the edge going to Senor Santana. Unfortunately, both pitching lines were effected by inherited runners scored as JC Romero and Aaron Heilman did not help their causes. Santana completely dominated the Phillies hitters, making Ryan Howard look plain silly. Down 5-1, Greg Dobbs hit a 3-run homer to bring the Phillies within one run but, in the end, lost by a count of 6-4. After winning 10 straight against the Mets the Phillies have now lost three straight; however, some Mets fans have even told me they don’t consider themselves to have really beaten the Phillies until Jimmy Rollins is back in the lineup.
The Yankees and Red Sox had a 19-hr ESPN game in which Dave O’Brien and Joe Morgan joked that they ran out of things to say. Though I didn’t watch the whole thing I can only imagine cliches such as Alex Rodriguez’s lack of clutch of performance, Derek Jeter’s gamer-ness, and something about David Eckstein came up. Oh, and then there was this — Farnsworth “unintentionally” throwing at Manny — that caused quite a stir. Good thing Manny didn’t respond, though, because if my memory serves me correctly Farnsworth once linebacker-tackled an angry batter as he charged the mound. Why doesn’t anyone ever use Hog Ellis’s line in Major League 3: Back to the Minors when a batter charges at him? I don’t care if baseball players don’t have screenwriters. Next time someone throws at someone, contact me, I’m a screenwriter, I’ll write you up some material to verbally intimidate an angry batter.
Then, the Padres and Rockies had a 22-inning game that confused the Fangraphs WPA system and resulted in the longest WPA graph anyone has ever seen.
Lastly, Miguel Tejada admitted he was actually 33 going on 34, not 31 going on 32, after being schooled and made to look like an idiot by an E:60 reporter. Whether or not it was “fair” to “ambush” Tejada like that one thing is clear – this story is not making headlines anymore. Maybe it will when the E:60 show airs but, for now, people are just letting Tejada “ beisbol, man… I just here to play beisbol..”
Cy Young Predictor
In The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers Bill James presented a formula that could, with pretty good accuracy, predict the eventual Cy Young Award. For a description, click here. Here are the top in the NL:

  1. Brandon Webb, 38.5
  2. Ben Sheets, 35.6
  3. Jake Peavy, 35.3
  4. Dan Haren, 31.0
  5. John Smoltz, 30.0

And in the AL:

  1. Daisuke Matsuzaka, 38.3
  2. Cliff Lee, 33.3
  3. Zach Greinke, 32.5
  4. Joe Saunders, 31.1
  5. Carlos Silva, 29.0

Beane Count
The teams most fitting Billy Beane’s desired attributes, via Rob Neyer’s statistic, as of this week, are: Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals.
The Cardinals score a 13.5 (lower is better) while the DBacks are close behind them with a 13.6. After that the distance grows as the Braves chime in with a 21.8. In the AL it is not close by any stretch of the imagibeaneneation. The White Sox have a 9.7 and the second place Devil Rays (I’ll get it one of these days) have a 22.3.
Game Scores of the Week
Here are the best games of this week, via Bill James’s single-game evaluative statistic:

  • Cliff Lee, April 18th: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, W – 85 GSC
  • Cliff Lee, April 13th: 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, W – 82 GSC
  • Jake Peavy, April 17th: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 11 K, ND – 82 GSC

Cliff Lee was insanely consistent and consistently insane this week… using insane as an adjective to describe the high quality of his games, not his mental state.
Weekly Oddibe Award
The Oddibe Awards are given to the hitter with the slash stats (BA/OBP/SLG) closest to the league average and are named after Oddibe McDowell, whom RJ Anderson of Beyond the Box Score determined to have the career slash line closest to the league average from 1960-2006. As of this week the league average slash line is .258/.329/.401. Should the season end today, for whatever reason, the 2008 Oddibe Award would go to….. drumroll….. Orlando Hudson at .254/.314/.413. This is the O-Dog’s second straight Oddibe Award. He won the award in 2006.
If the Season Ended Today
Speaking of whether or not the season ended today I think it will be interesting to look at the playoff matchups each week if it did end. This way we can see which teams were in it all year as opposed to burning out or surging in.

  • White Sox (AL Central) vs. Orioles (AL WC)
  • Red Sox (AL East) vs. Angels (AL West)
  • DBacks (NL West) vs. winner of tiebreaker between Mil/CHC (NL WC)
  • Cardinals (NL Central) vs. Mets (NL East)

For the second straight week the DBacks play either the Brewers or Cubs while the Cardinals have a new opponent in the Marlins. The Red Sox and Angels make their first appearences as the Orioles shift to Wild Card and the Royals/Athletics find themselves out looking in.
In Case You Missed It
Here are some great articles/notes from the past week.

  • David Appelman at Fangraphs brought both myself and USS Mariner’s Dave Cameron in to write daily entries at the fantastic site. I’ll have about two articles per day over there, either recapping games, or looking at interesting stats, or, like this article, reminiscing about Jose Lima’s career.
  • Paul Nyman looks at the pitching mechanics of left-handed pitchers through the years.
  • Tom Tango suggests some interesting rule-changes the MLB should potentially implement but will more than likely ignore.
  • R.J. Anderson looks at Billy Beane’s desire to lock-up Huston Street and why this is such an un-Beanelike move.

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