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Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by DeadlySplitter, Oct 10, 2018.
This was a frequent complaint about Ted Williams.
I hear you. Another interesting point is that the Sox patience was causing them go down 0-1 at the plate. But the Sox pitchers are (for purposes of the Bregman point) intentionally not throwing strike 1. As I said, I'd love to see a panel with the coaching staff on this.
Well, at minimum Bregman should be hitting #1 in the lineup to take advantage of a .700+ OBP. At least be a table setter.
I wonder how much the weather might factor into this - 70's and (probably) inside in Houston vs. 50's and overcast on Saturday night in Boston.
Frank Thomas too
I don't have the citations ready, but I know that Baseball Prospectus years ago (a decade maybe?) claimed that sequential offense (based on high OBP) was hard to generate in the playoffs because the good teams' pitching/defense mostly doesn't allow it. The teams that win hit HRs/Xtra base hits, and had pitching (especially relief) that wouldn't give the opponent HRs/Xtras.
Assuming that is not dated thinking, then while you might like to cut both OBP and SLG, your better bet for victory in the playoffs is to be sure to cut SLG. The best way to do that is to get outs, but another way is turn their best sluggers (Bregman) into baserunners, figuring they can't/won't sustain a rally. The figuring is that either you are going to cut down the bomb/Xtras and win, or you don't and you lose - with OBP just not the harbinger of offensive goodness it usually is once you are in the post-season. Perhaps this is what Billy Beane meant when he said "my shit doesn't work in the playoffs" over a decade ago. I've been filtering the walks through this lens, and while the walks make very anxious, I see the method to the madness and I'm not losing my deal over them.
That's the theory I think - I'll let others to the statistical sources (especially more modern ones) that I'm not so good at generating...
Cora brought that hitting strategy from the Astros so he knows they are looking for the pitch early in the count. I think his inside knowledge is really helping in this series.
I recall something similar. In a smaller context, Roberts *had* to steal the base against Rivera because the best realistic hope to follow would be a single and nothing more.
Mookie does the same thing. I think he's among the league leaders in not swinging at balls out of the zone. Also, a good pitch on the black, left, right, up or down is hard to make solid contact with/get a hit off of. Off the plate is even harder. Finally, you're going against Ted Williams here.
Edit, Phillip already brought up if I'd just read the entire thread.
It's definitely annoying to watch but I'd guess a pitcher giving up 1 hit and 5 walks is more likely to pitch a shutout than a pitcher who gave up 6 hits and no walks. Or even a pitcher who gave up 3 or 4 hits. A walk only allows you to advance one base at a time. 3 walks in an inning is 0 runs. 3 hits in an inning probably means a run or two. If you look at it that way, you'd much rather have a bullpen that walks everyone than one that gives up hits.
Could it be called a "Bend but don't break-type defense"?
Walks are obviously better than singles from the defense’s POV, but walks have a “bad reputation” because they typically signal that a pitcher is in trouble, lacks control, will fall behind in counts and end up serving meatballs. But if walking good hitters is the strategy, none of that applies.
I’ve heard Tim Neverett say a few times that a leadoff walk is worse than a leadoff home run. That’s obviously nuts, but it’s an example of how some people exaggerate the negative value of a walk.
His “reasoning,” I think, is that leadoff walks sometimes lead to to a two-run home runs and then a meltdown, whereas a lead-off home run produces just one run. It’s based on anecdotal experience and selective memory instead of data and logic.
The only thing I could suggest that would counter that is if a pitcher has a much worse split when pitching from the stretch. And so a walk puts him in the stretch and that leads to a much greater chance for a home run than if he gave up a homer to the first guy and is still pitching from the windup to the second guy.
And of course, we must make note here that nobody is saying that walking a guy is better than getting him out. We are just talking about being careful to a guy so that you'd rather give up a walk than groove one that gets crushed.
I wonder how much explicit probabilistic analysis the Sox did to evaluate this strategy before moving forward with it. Even using simple linear weights, if the chance of an XBH from certain hitters is high enough when trying to avoid BBs, pitching so as to avoid anything hittable while accepting high BB risk would become rational. One also wonders how far in advance this strategy was considered and whether, for example, any personnel decisions were made based on a pitcher's ability to not lose effectiveness when in the stretch.
If this has already been posted, I apologize. But, it gives me goosebumps.
"I'd much rather throw the shit out of my arm now and have it feel shitty for three months with a Ring on my hand".
I fucking love this man.
A lot also depends on who is up next (and after that). While the Astros can throw out balanced lineups with nobody awful (other than catchers), none of their 4-7 hitters are particularly scary either, especially from a power perspective, so walking Bregman and dealing with Gurriel/Marwin/Reddick/Correa (or maybe White is in there somewhere in some lineups) becomes pretty rational. In contrast, we only walked Judge (scarier than Bregman as a hitter in my book) twice, but he had Voit, Stanton, and Gregorius behind him.
Its a bit of a high-wire act to be sure. But its also so contrary to what pitchers have probably been told forever that it really requires serious buy-in from everyone. I dont know where I read it, but I am pretty sure i did read that the staff was pissed at Workman. Not for the 2 HRs as such, but because he wouldn't throw as many (presumably less strike-likely) curveballs as was planned.
Interesting.. that might be true, but I feel like guys with poor control often miss in and out of the zone, leading to both hits and walks. But, if you're able to nibble with purpose, it can work out to some extent. Look at Matsuzaka's incredibly flukey 2008 season. He had the exact same WHIP in 2007 and 2008, but in 2008 he greatly lowered his H/9 while greatly increasing BB/9. The end result was much-improved run prevention.
However, it also kept him from going deep into games. Even though he made 29 starts, he only pitched 167 2/3 innings. Such a bizarre (and not fun to watch) season, despite the relative success he enjoyed.
I remember when AJ Burnett threw a no hitter with like 6+ bbs and someone called him "effectively wild." When someone is throwing the ball that hard and has no idea where it is going, I'd guess it's incredibly intimidating to hitters. I'm not really sure a wild pitcher is more or less hittable than a normal one though.
I don't think "avoiding hits" is necessarily a skill either. "Avoiding walks" definitely is. If it were as simple as a pitcher deciding to go from a 7.2h/9, 1.8bb/9 pitcher to a 4.2h/9, 4.8bb/9 pitcher, the latter is going to be better. Of course it isn't that simple and in actuality, you'd expect the first pitcher to do much better going forward and the latter to give up more hits.
It's also not necessarily about avoiding hits more than it's about avoiding extra base hits, which may actually be a skill. If you force the opposition's offense to play base to base, you are going to win a lot of games because even the worst pitchers aren't going to come close to giving up 4 base runners an inning. You can't break the game open with a walk.
If you were to believe the TBS announcers, you'd think Correa was a Silver Slugger. They keep harping on how nice it is to have his bat that far down in the lineup, ignoring the fact that he clearly isn't the same hitter post-injury (.517 OPS in 133 ABs after the ASB) no matter how healthy he claims to be.
I do agree with your post - after Bregman, I feel much more relaxed facing the rest of the lineup. There are no gimme batters but no one particularly scares me aside from Springer/Altuve/Bregman.
Good call about avoiding hits vs. walks. I remember thinking that Dice-K's 2008 was 100% smoke and mirrors and just about impossible to replicate, and, well, the rest of his career bears that out. Of course, it's near-impossible to tell how much injury played a roll in his ineffectiveness -- but it was probably a significant contributor.
If we assume that our pitchers are intentionally implementing a strategy of reducing SLG at the expense of OPB and pitches thrown, then their goal when pitching isn't to hit a hitter's weak spots, it's to avoid hitting his power spots.
As a thought experiment, imagine a pitcher trying to hit a hitter's weak spot down and in with a breaking ball. If he's trying to hit that spot, what are the odds that he leaves the ball out over the plate in one of the hitter's power zones? If you imagine there's a probability radius the extends out from the target pitch location, there's a high likelihood that it overlaps with a hitter's power zones at a meaningful probability. Now, if you shift that target spot just out of the zone, you increase the odds of getting a ball, but decrease the odds of hitting a power zone.
We have some examples of Astros crushing a good pitch in their weak zone; do we have many examples of them crushing a pitch in their power zones? It would be cool to see how often the Sox have made pitches to those power zones in the series.
From your mouth to Hinch's ears.
The Red Sox are up 2-1 but it feels like Houston is set up better with their pitching going forward. Game 4 is massive.
HInch says he has never seen a team pitch to a guy like the Sox have pitched Bregman? He never saw Ortiz or Bonds in the playoffs???
it's our year baby. we had no right winning this game but we grinded it out and took every (lucky) inch.
Benintendi just up and topping Reddick's catch from the previous inning. Insane amounts of concentration and calm to pull that off given that if that ball gets behind him, it's 100% game over. If I were in that same spot, I would've thought about playing the bounce and holding the game to a tie, but he didn't hesitate at all and looked like he had it the entire way.
Love the instinct
Cora says Price starts tomorrow
Whose bright idea was it to have that game start at 8:30?
Bullpen performance so far this series:
Boston: 17.1 ip, 13 h, 8 r, 7 er, 12 bb, 15 k, 3.63 era, 1.44 whip, 7.8 k/9
Houston: 15.2 ip, 17 h, 13 r, 12 er, 8 bb, 18 k, 6.89 era, 1.85 whip, 10.3 k/9
I watched the first inning then went to bed. Woke up in time to watch the 9th inning. Not sure I will be able to get any more sleep. Need more 5pm starts.
The only issue with the bullpen so far has been Kimbrel. He's been awful. The rest of the supporting cast has been nails.
Remember when people worried this team hadn't been "punched in the mouth" or whatever? They make gutsy play after gutsy play to cover their holes--the Betts throw, the Benintendi catch, the Pearce and Holt BBs. Martinez struggling, Bradley's ABs get sharper, every one of them was a clinic tonight. Some of them aren't hitting, but contributing on defense and baserunning when they do get on.
Really fun to watch them all come up so big, on the road.
And how about the Vazquez double right before the JBJ blast. Just an amazing team effort as it has to be.
He hasn't blown the lead yet
Awesome game minus another garbage effort from Kimbrel. These 8:39 start times are awful though. Work today is going to be awful.
Great win, I watched it this morning on DVR, news blackout before I watched. It was awesome and I'm glad i did it this way because I'm shaking off a cold and went to bed at 7pm and woke up at 4:30am.
An 8:30pm east coast start isn't like a 8:30pm east coast start in the NBA, where games are routinely less than 3 hours. 1:15am finish time. That's late.
This absolutely sucks, the most important games of the year are almost impossible to watch.
I think Captain Quint described Kimbrel's performance best.
"11 men came to the plate. 6 of them got on base. He walked 3 of them hit one of them. 1 of them scored. They hit the ball hard. He nearly killed the radio announcer.
But he delivered the save."
Agreed. I’m up at quarter to 6 every morning. I can’t do too many late nights. I was in bed after the 2nd inning last night. If they insist on 4 hour plus games with late starts, then a portion of the fan base will be lost.
I'm literally taking the day off tomorrow because I want to watch the game tonight. It's fine, I can work from home, especially on a Friday, but it's really a drag and very frustrating.
This is one of the reasons why the NFL is the most popular league. The most important games of the year almost all universally end before 10pm, and most of them end well before 10pm. People, especially kids, can watch them. And then they become fans. Even the NBA's playoff games end before 11pm, usually. Whereas on Tuesday night a game ended at 2:17am and on Wednesday night a game ended at 1:10am. If you're a baseball fan on the east coast, what's your option there, throw away two days to watch or just not watch?
Obviously MLB gets the most money today if they air the game very late at night, when viewership is high. But I think it costs them down the line.
Not to be too blunt, but do you guys realize how entitled you sound?
I am in Lijiang, Yunnan, China, and I've been watching illegal streams from Eastern Europe fed through an illegal Chinese VPN. The odds of my laptop functioning completely correctly ever again are pretty slim.
But more relevant: my brother-in-law back in San Diego is a lifelong Padres fan. He'd offer to give up an eyeball, a kidney, and a chunk of his liver for the Padres to be in the position the Sox are in now.
(My wife's family isn't so smart).
I really, really don't intend this as a "who is the better fan" competition - I just want you all to recall what it was like in '03 and '04. Nobody gave a flying f*ck what time the games were scheduled. We all ditched work and/or stayed up and watched every pitch, and we were furious at every mismanaged decision in '03, and thankful for every Yankee-eliminating, Shaughnessy-undermining moment in '04.
We've been spoiled since, which is great. But c'mon...complaining that your team's ALCS games are on past your bedtime? Really??
The playoff time slots have been essentially the same for 25 years - an occasional 2pm or 9pm start time is the price of following the MLB playoffs. Either enjoy the ride or don't, but don't forget how much some other fan bases would love to deal with the massive "inconveniences" that you're complaining about.
I'm in a similar boat with regard to early mornings. I've been nodding off through out all the games for most of the playoffs. Combining the late start times, longer games, and a busy life and I just can't hack it anymore. Last night I fell asleep in the chair in the 2nd inning, and woke up in the 8th. I may try the same thing tonight.
But I'm fine with that. My big issue is the fact that my 5 year old son, who is a huge baseball fan considering his age, is in bed before most games start. I was so excited to see the 5:00 start time for this series, since he may actually be able to watch the whole thing. But no, the games are lasting so long he was asleep before JBJ's grand slam.
If the games are going to last this long, they gotta start them earlier. Playoff baseball should not be a exclusive adult activity.
12% being same odds as 3 heads in a row
I don't quite buy it, as they are throwing a double sided coin tonight (Verlander), but it does show how close they are....
Just don't click on the escort links...
Lijiang is an awesome town in a beautiful region. I went through it 25 years ago, and hiked the Tiger Leaping Gorge when the trail was sometimes a ridiculous sliver on the side of a 1000 foot drop. Felt privileged to be able to get there.
Just like I think we all continue to feel when our team is in the ALCS. It is fun to bitch about 4 1/2 hour games late at night, though my time zone has it on in the middle of the day and I was out riding with the game on my earphones for the middle 2 hours of the game, hilariously yelling at nobody in particular whenever something good or bad happened.
Hope the team keeps it up -- games have been really fun to watch thus far!