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After pride cometh the fall.

Game Summary

The Jays drop the second of the year to those lovable Twinkies 13 to 4. A night to forget all around, as Josh Towers starts well and then gets smacked around, most of the bullpen has a night to forget and the middle infield has a fourth inning to forget. Bat-Girl seemed to enjoy it though.

* Star of the Game: Troy Glaus gets his first homer as a good guy and goes three for four with three rbi

* Unsung Hero: For the Jays, well Cat had a nice night with a couple of hits and he looked quite sprightly in the field, but I was more impressed with Liriano throwing 22 strikes in 27 pitches.

* Defensive Play of the Game: I really don't want to talk about the defense. Hey, what did we all think of Hinske in the outfield ? He didn't have much to do from what I saw, but I only watched about half the game.

* What's on tap today: Chacin vs Silva 7:07


Everyone's favourite Bauxite NFH has been on a high profile media campaign recently, after his appearance on The Star's website he has most recently been on CBC radio, check out this great interview. Aaron's a radio natural.

Jim Turner has been casting the Blue Jays movie over at the torontobaseballguys site, and he needs your help to cast Ernie Whitt, Mickey Brantley, Justin Speier (good luck), John MacDonald and Pete Walker. Quagmire to play Scott Downs is simply inspired by the way.

Is there a better baseball writer around right now than Dave Studeman ? He has another excellent piece at THT using WPA to look at bullpen performance in close games

In Boston, Keith Foulke didn't get the save last night, although he might tonight, or not, At least it gives the Boston media something to talk about, Ultimately Foulke will lose the job, his fate was sealed after I drafted him in the BBFL.
T.D.I.B: Wednesday Report | 20 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 09:56 AM EDT (#144516) #
Studes'  piece linked to above contains an interesting breakdown of the 2005 Jays' Win Probability Added in close games.  The bullpen was actually above average, but the others (the starting pitching and the batters) were the worst in the majors.  It would be interesting to see the breakdown, but my guess is that it was mostly the offence.  Was it lack of bench strength or just bad luck? If it was luck, one might wonder about the correlation, if any, between the efficiency in scoring runs and the bad luck in not scoring runs late in the game.  There is an efficiency in "bunching hits", which will tend to lead to more big innings than expected, but perhaps less scoring against tough pitching (i.e. closers).  The Jays in 2005 did have less than average power.
timpinder - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#144518) #

I thought that Hinske looked competent in right field, but his lack of speed and his weak arm were noticable downgrades from Rios.  At one point there was a ball hit in the gap that got to the wall, and a run was scored.  I watched the replay and I believe that Rios would have cut the ball off with his superior speed and held the runner because of his superior arm.

If Rios continues to hit well, Gibbons will have a hard time justifying keeping Hinske in right field, especially since Rios hits righties and lefties equally well.

Pistol - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 11:58 AM EDT (#144530) #
The Twins broadcast said that the stirrups weren't stirrups but fake stirrups that were part of the socks.  I think that loses coolness points.
jjdynomite - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 12:03 PM EDT (#144531) #
I can't top Billy Bob Thornton as Pete Walker and Matthew Broderick as John McDonald.

How about:

Mickey Brantley = Barry Bonds (  He's already familiar with being filmed on ESPN2 and will have plenty of time to hone his acting chops after this season.  Although Mickey does look more like Joe Carter.

Justin Spier = Rod Serling (  Inspiring fear in opposing batters.  Well, maybe not last night.

And, my fave, Ernie Whitt = Road Warrior Animal (  'Nuff said.

I will leave it to someone else to find a basehead who looks like Brian Tallet.

laketrout - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#144533) #
Anders - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 01:36 PM EDT (#144539) #
Was it lack of bench strength or just bad luck?

I Was checking out the BTF Jays Primer and one of the things it mentioned, which I hadn't realized was that apparently the Jays pinch hitters hit .306/.403/.446 last year, which might be one of the reasons why they scored more runs than their underlying numbers would suggest.  Pinch hitting isn't necessarily the same as a bench, but it does often happen in critical situations.
Magpie - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 02:45 PM EDT (#144544) #
one of the things it mentioned, which I hadn't realized was that apparently the Jays pinch hitters hit .306/.403/.446

Those numbers aren't the one I remember - when I did my two Enormous examinations of the Blue Jays in one-run games (that would be here and here), the numbers I had for pinch-hitters were .324, .417, .451. However, this may be a different data set - the ESPN numbers I was using probably do not regard one DH replacing the original DH as a pinch-hit appearance (probably to avoid double counting when you add team ABs by position.)

Studes was looking at a different set of games than I was - I confined my examination to one-run games - and he actually was proceeding with a sound scientific method, whereas I more or less just peer at the bloody entrails and exclaim  "I bet that means something!" My method, such as it is, led me to  note that:

For every team whose success might be attributed to a strong bullpen, we find another team with a better bullpen, who performed dreadfully in one-run games.

Which is pretty much the same conclusion Studes arrives at. I don't think there is ever going to be a single factor that applies to all teams' success in close games, anymore than there is to all teams' success overall.

With respect to the specific case of the 2005 Jays - and again, I'm looking at 47 Toronto games, not 73 - I found a drop-off across the board in close games. To put it crudely, the slightly above league average offense slipped to significantly below league average; the good pitching staff slipped to about league average (adjusted to the different overall context - one-run games are lower scoring games.)

Studes' work suggests that the Toronto bullpen performed at  a high level - the falloff was the work of the offense and the starting pitching. And I'll buy that - the only players who actually hit well in the games I looked at were Eric Hinske and Orlando Hudson. As for the starters, in a low run environment, Halladay, Towers, Chacin all saw their ERAs go up in close games; Bush, who started an ungodly number of close games, stayed at right about the same level, which in practical terms is a decline relative to the rest of the league. Only Lilly was actually better, but even so he was still the worst of the five pitchers.

However, while Chulk, Frasor, Schoeneweis, and Speier all pitched brilliantly in one-run games, there was one other key member of the 2005 bullpen whose performance did not improve in close games. Here's how the closer did in one-run games:

Pitchers	    G ST  W  L SV  H BS    IP  H  R ER BB  K HR  ERA
Miguel Batista 28 0 2 6 11 0 7 29.2 34 17 15 15 21 2 4.55
Not his finest hour, alas.

By the way, was it was not disconcerting that BTF's look back at the 2005 Jays began with this sentence:

Take a 71 win team. Add an injury to the ace starter... Sounds like a recipe for disaster right? Try a nine game improvement.

My first thought was - did I miss four wins during the Season From Hell? I assume therefore that BTF was referring to the Jays 2004 Pythagorean expectation (which I had at 70 wins for 2004). In the Pythagorean universe Toronto improved by about 17 games. In the real world, of course, they improved by 13 games in going from 67 wins to 80.

Mike Green - Thursday, April 06 2006 @ 03:48 PM EDT (#144548) #
Descrbing a team out-performing the previous year's Pythagorean W-L by 9 actual wins as a "9 win improvement" is not recommended for home use. 
Geoff - Friday, April 07 2006 @ 12:28 AM EDT (#144565) #
Interesting line on Batista tonight: 7 innings, 11 Ks against Colorado.

And Mark Hendrickson pitched a 3-hitter tonight against the Orioles.  Which one will have a better season?  

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