Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Cards Blank Mets
2006-10-15 06:21
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Mets lost 5-0 last night and I'm sure panic has started to set in for some Met fans, what with the prospects of Oliver Perez pitching for their team tonight in what will be the biggest game of the season to date. But it's not like the Cards are throwing Bob Gibson out there either, and my feeling is that the Mets romp in Game 4 (with Perez throwing a gem) and find a way to even this series. Meanwhile, yes, I did sleep better knowing that the Yankees weren't the only team to get stomped by the Tigers.

2006-10-15 07:05:18
1.   randym77
I think the Mets might be in trouble. Their road to the postseason may have been a little too smooth. They don't have a lot of experience dealing with adversity. And their bullpen is a wreck.

Detroit is starting to look, well, inevitable.

And it may be sour grapes, but I can't help wondering...when Kenny Rogers said, "Basically, steroids can jump you a level or two. The average player can become a star and the star player can become a superstar. And the superstar? Forget it. He can do things we've never seen before," was that the voice of experience speaking?

2006-10-15 07:06:52
2.   she
I watched the game last night with a close friend who is a huge Mets fan. He kept complaining that his team was so flat - it sounded like my complaints about the Yankees a week ago. I'd say he's panicky. No offense = panic. But if the bats show up today, all will be forgiven I suspect.
2006-10-15 08:24:54
3.   sam2175
1 I don't mean to be harsh, but in this blog I have seen many people make perfectly good sabermetric and statistical points in general, and forget the premises of it when it came to individual players and post-season.

The basic premise of any statistical analysis is that a statistical measure is as reliable as it's sample size. Kenny Rogers bombed when playing for a New York team in all of 19 innings, mostly as a reliever. Because New York media (and in some cases, fans) think that they are the ultimate arbiter of a player's talent, that nothing else really matters until a player have succeeded in a New York environment, they equate lack of such success to some shortcomings in the player's ability, and/or by extension in some cases, his manhood. And they assume, that going forward, that pattern will keep on repeating itself, mostly because of lack of such talent/manhood.

Kenny Rogers have pitched many gems all throughout his career, and is perfectly capable of pitching a gem in any situation, including in a playoff game. Given enough opportunities (statistically speaking, large enough sample size to make inferences meaningful), his playoff record will include some such gems, and resemble his true talent level. In his last 16 1/3 innings, after those initial 19 innings, he has yet to allow an earned run pitching for Minnesota and Detroit (full 9 innings against the Yankees in the process) in the playoffs. Those 16+ innings are not indicative of his talent level either, but taken as a whole, is making his numbers more in line with his career numbers.

As an aside, I still believe that Yankees were the best team in the league this year, they had the best record in a 162 game marathon. All it takes to win in post-season is a flukey 3-week stretch. While Detroit's run is not diminished (or flukey) because of the exaggerated uncertainties (they were fairly close to Yankees in regular season record) in a knock-out format, I don't think post-season success is a good measure of either a team, or a player's talent level.

2006-10-15 08:30:56
4.   randym77
3 It's not his performance in NY that makes me wonder. It's that he's almost 42 years old, and is throwing harder than he has in years.
2006-10-15 08:40:42
5.   pistolpete
Pujols has 2 HR's off Oliver Perez this season in 6 ABs.

We could be in for a big ol' slugfest today.

2006-10-15 09:51:57
6.   weeping for brunnhilde
Here's a thought: has there been any investigation into the performance of streaky v. non-streaky teams?

Is it possible to construct a team that won't ever score eight runs but also won't ever score fewer than four runs, for example? And might a team like this have a better chance for success in the postseason against superior pitching?

Is there, in other words, such a thing as a (relatively) slump-proof team?

Or put another way: is it better to have a .300 hitter who over three games goes 1-4, 1-3 and 1-3 or is it better to have one who goes, say, 0-4, 2-3, 1-3?

I'm sorry if I'm not being clear about what I'm asking here, but hopefully this might resonate with someone who's better able to articulate it than I.


2006-10-15 10:53:14
7.   wsporter
3 I think you make good points all way round but the underlying issue with Rogers is that he appeared to be such an unlikable moak that it was so easy to believe what our apparently lying eyes were telling us in terms of the "help" he supplied us, the Rangers and the Metsies in crunch time. I always had a sense that he was squeezing the hell out of the ball.

If enough fans don't think "post-season success is a good measure of either a team, or a player's talent level" maybe the post season format needs to be changed. If they don't want to make the first round a best of 7 they can either allot fewer home games for the wild card team or require them to win 4/5 on the first round rather than 3/5 which would be all the division winner needed. If eventually the wild card takes a 3 - 2 lead the teams play one more game. If it gets to 3 - 3 the division winner takes the series.

The historic success of the Wild Card teams appears to devalue the regular season's importance; if these suggestion aren't workable I'm sure something can be done. That is if anything actually needs to be done.

2006-10-15 11:19:49
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
7 Agree wholeheartedly. Your model would also have the added benefit of revitalizing the "pennant race" by making the wild card a dangerously thin reed on which to hang one's hopes of postseason success.

Whatever model you want to adopt, I think there needs to be a serious disadvantage to making the postseason as a wild card.

2006-10-15 12:07:03
9.   mehmattski
The problem with penalizing the wild card is that the wild card is almost never the worst team out of the four playoff teams, in either league. This year, the Tigers had a better record than the A's, and the Dodgers had a better record than the Cardinals.

Imagine if last year the Red Sox had the tiebreaker of the Yanks, instead of the reverse. Would you have been satisfied having to win 4 games against the White Sox, while the Red Sox and Angels (teams with identical records) get a "traditional" five game series?

There was a discussion about how to change things over on Baseball Analysts. While I think simply having a 7 game division series would suffice, here's one idea I like: Go back to two divisions. With 7 teams in each division, there will be "pennant races" and the top of the divisions will be closer. Then, to keep the same number of teams, go with AL East #1 v AL West #2, and vice versa. Seven game division series, seven game championship series. No need to be completely radical.

2006-10-15 13:08:06
10.   rbj
9 The problem mehmattski, is that only works for the AL. NL has 16 teams.
It does seem somehow unfair that to win one division (AL West) you only need to be better than three other team, while in another division you need to be better than five other teams (NL Central). Still, you can't make the leagues even at 15 teams each, unless you always want to have an interleague series going on somewhere.
2006-10-15 14:17:42
11.   Nick from Washington Heights
Sam, I think it's still impossible to call the Yanks the best team this year. Even a 162 game sample is not enough to say for certain that any team was the best. Based on their Pythagorean records, the Yanks and Tigers were very close. The ALDS actually might have swung the difference in Detroit's favor. But, yeah, I agree with your point. As Alex has written recently on this site, the difference between our dynastic run and the more recent past might just be a case of luck. The lesson we're learning is how remarkable/lucky it was to win 4 series in 5 years, given the flukey quality of the play-offs.
2006-10-15 15:27:21
12.   mikeplugh
6 I don't know about research on streaky teams, but the most recent book by BP (the one Cliff contributed to) has some interesting points about how teams go on streaks after big fights (and how that's a myth)....and I believe there's something in there about how the notion that the hot team entering the playoffs has an advantage (although my memory may be failing me).
2006-10-15 15:47:15
13.   mehmattski
12 No, it's actually the opposite... the study was of teams since 1979 (I'm still not sure why 1979 is always the cutoff... maybe the BP folks are Smashing Pumpkins fans). There is no correlation between September winning percentage and Postseason Success.

In terms of offensive consistency, another poster, dianagrmr, and I had talked a week or so ago about doing some sort of research about that: sure, the Yanks score a lot of runs, and offense is not correlated with postseason success either. But does the standard deviation of scoring correlate: that is, does a team that consistently scores 4 runs do better in the post season than one that scores 8 one day, 0 the next? When I have a bunch of free time, I'll try to run some numbers on it.

2006-10-15 16:01:25
14.   das411
To tie together points from 3 and 11 - Keep in mind also that for about 5 of the 6 months of the season, the Tigers had a better record than the Yanks, until the NYY closed the on-field talent gap by adding Abreu, Lidle (RIP) and later Sheffield and Matsui. Once that happened, any cold streak by the Yanks would almost inevitably be seen as a choke, just because it was already August/September and they have the NY media covering them, while when the Tigers went through a similar spell most of the national focus was on the Twins' hot play in catching up to them. The Tigers played well over .600 ball (.741 in June!) before falling off while the Yanks stayed at roughly the same level all year. The Yanks scored 108 more runs than the Tigers, and gave up 92 more, yet their pythag records both ended up at 95-67. What we saw in the ALDS were two very evenly matched teams, that played like evenly matched teams for the first two games, until the Tigers rotational depth kicked in and they scored two exceptional starts from Rogers and Bonderman while the NYY ran the Unit and Wright out there.

To answer the question in 6 - Or put another way: is it better to have a .300 hitter who over three games goes 1-4, 1-3 and 1-3 or is it better to have one who goes, say, 0-4, 2-3, 1-3?

If you are Jim Leyland, would you rather throw your #1 pitcher against the Yankees' #1 and count on your #2-3-4 outpitching their 2-3-4? Or would you concede game 1 by pitching Robertson and then throw Verlander (1) vs Mussina (2), Rogers (2) vs Unit (3) and Bonderman (3) vs Wright (4)?

2006-10-15 17:36:41
15.   pistolpete
Sooooo, anyone watching Mets/Cards?

This Reyes kid looks a little nasty tonight.

2006-10-15 17:38:44
16.   OldYanksFan
An interesting slant on the PostSeason:
Replacing the Wild Card: The "Challenge Round"

Even a team good enough to have a 60% chance of winning a random game against any other playoff team has only a small chance of winning three consecutive short series to be named champion.

The recent, rather nonsensical agonizing over whether Joe Torre should be fired because of three losses after the Yankees finished with the best record in baseball is a symptom of the getting-close-to-random nature of the current post-season system (Joe received too much credit for the four World Series wins and now receives too much blame for the absence of them since).

2006-10-15 17:41:52
17.   pistolpete
Dave Campbell had a good thought on Russo's pre-game show today - basically, he said hockey and baseball are the 2 most unpredictable playoff sports.

One hot goalie or pitching staff, and all bets are off. Regular-season record doesn't matter anymore.

2006-10-15 17:52:12
18.   pistolpete
1-0 Cards.
2006-10-15 18:00:46
19.   randym77
And it's tied.

Both pitchers are wearing the high pants tonight. Don't see that often any more.

2006-10-15 18:01:59
20.   pistolpete
Crap, Wright makes it 2-1.
2006-10-15 18:03:35
21.   OldYanksFan
A New Home for A-Rod?

An intelligent article.

2006-10-15 18:13:34
22.   randym77
LOL! He's no danger of getting an Academy Award for that performance.
2006-10-15 18:23:09
23.   randym77
Wow. Peter Abraham's article on trading A-Rod is pretty harsh:

Sounds like the problem is not his performance, it's his personality.

2006-10-15 18:43:30
24.   OldYanksFan
I don't like it, but all signs point to ARod being history.
2006-10-15 18:46:56
25.   Bama Yankee
Buck just sounded like he lost his best friend on that homer by Delgado...
2006-10-15 18:52:18
26.   randym77
This game is going down the tubes fast for the Cards.
2006-10-15 19:06:38
27.   Bama Yankee
24 I still haven't heard a proposed deal that makes sense for the Yanks. Ervin Santana and Brandon Wood? Aramis Ramirez and Class A catcher Jake Fox? Any trade that does not include a quality starting pitcher and very good defensive 3B-man makes no sense to me.

Maybe the strategy by the FO is to float these trade rumors to show people that there is really no trade that makes sense for the Yankees (it is unlikely that someone will overwelm us with a deal). Then all the "trade A-Rod" crowd will just have to stop booing, learn to like him and get used to having a future HOFer at 3B.

2006-10-15 19:23:34
28.   Peter
23 Torre gets paid the big bucks to handle personalities.
27 I feel the same way. Trading A-Rod now just feels like selling low and Cashman is too shrewd for that. Unless it's a trade which nets Johan Santana, the Yanks will get hosed.
My guess is A-Rod stays and in spring training, A-Rod, Torre, and Jeter present a united front/party line to diffuse the media and then he goes on to have a monster 2007.
2006-10-15 19:26:32
29.   randym77
Well, I guess this game is over.
2006-10-15 19:32:24
30.   randym77
28 Torre's biggest strength is handling difficult personalities. He hasn't kept his job because of his in-game tactics.

That's why the "8-Rod" thing is so shocking. All year long, Torre's saying things like, "You don't move a player with Alex's pedigree down just because he's in a slump, it's disrespectful," etc. Then suddenly, he dumps A-Rod into the eight-hole...and tells the press he didn't even bother to inform Alex? I find that really astounding. I think Peter's right - it's a message to A-Rod that he should pack his bags.

2006-10-15 19:33:05
31.   OldYanksFan
Jim Edmonds is a human highlights reel. Another amazing catch.
2006-10-15 19:35:45
32.   wsporter
23 Man that was harsh for Peter. Coming from him I tend to believe the descriptions because he's usually so measured and dare I say polite and respectful of the games and athletes he covers. I still don't see anything there that makes me want to jump at a deal although that Dodgers stuff is intriguing.

I remember how overjoyed we were when the A-Rod trade went down. How did things ever get this bad with last years AL MVP? The man either has a lot of jackass in him or is monstrously misunderstood. I guess we'll see what happens. It's sad though; A-Rod playing for the Yankees could have been such a wonderful thing for all concerned.

2006-10-15 19:36:02
33.   randym77
31 He's not to shabby at the plate, either...
2006-10-15 19:39:20
34.   OldYanksFan
28 I agree with you and I personally don't want to see ARod go. But the 8-Rod move was so out of character for Torre, as to be actually hard to believe.

I just think the writing is on the wall. If neither Jetes, Giambi or Torre (and who else?) don't want him there, like Nomar, the numbers won't matter. The Yanks won't get equal value, but I'm sure they will get some kind of young pitching.

If he is perceived as a disruption to the clubhouse, they can't keep him... and it's better to trade him and have some say where he goes, then to let him walk after 2007 (ARod has a contract option and can become a FA) and let him pick anywhere he wants to go.

2006-10-15 20:20:30
35.   mikeplugh
13 That's actually what I meant to type. I was running to work and wanted to say hello before I hit the road. Damned hurried posts. It seems rather obvious that teams don't get hot for a particular reason or another. I would have to imagine the only reason a team might get into a funk is from a long trip, a death in the organization, or something to that effect. It hardly matters, in my opinion, whether a team is pumped up, if a guy in front of them is a good pitcher or a bad pitcher. Generally, the averages take over.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.