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 Post subject: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:24 am 
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I had to miss seeing the game yesterday when the Bucs beat the Astros 8-1. I did watch the highlights on the MLB Network show Quickpitch. Burnett pitched a great game. It was the offense that I was concerned about...still...and although the Pirates won the game 8-1, I really didn't see any great offensive attack except for Cutch's double off the CF wall.

So, my question is, is a win a win a win, or is it just as or more important how you win the game?

Did the Pirate offense get untracked enough to springboard them to more wins starting with the Mets tonight?

The Pirates have a lot of home runs this year, but I still feel driving in runs with runners on base by getting the big single or double is more important.

How many times this season would you have traded one of the home runs Cutch, or Jones, or Alvarez, or any of the Pirates hit for a key single?

I know there were many times when I was watching the games, a key single by McKenry, or Cutch, or Jones, or Alvarez, would have been huge
in determining the outcome of a game placing it in the win column for the Bucs.

I realize starting pitching is the key...BUT...I submit that if there isn't good run support with consistent scoring (which means getting key hits in key situations on a consistent basis), it doesn't matter how good your starting pitcher is.

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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:33 am 
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It's a good question, but baseball is a 162 game season and one good game is not going to springboard us anywhere. One thing about having a slide like we've had with so few wins is that most of the wins are good wins. All are hopefully "springboard" games, but we've never built on any of them. At this point, I'll take any win...

I get your point about our failures to hit the double when the game is on the line. I think it's been missing, too, and what you're saying is that our team lacks the plate discipline/skill to be able to hit according to the situation. Yes, I've enjoyed the HR power surge as well, but if your only offensive goal is to try and hit the three-run HR, well, you're going to get a lot of strikeouts. And we haven't hit enough HRs to justify all the Ks. There's a tactical maturity that allows a player to simply drive the ball opposite field to advance the runner. Which we don't do. It's the real heartbeat behind small ball, as opposed to bunts and SBs. Given how tone deaf Kyle Stark sounded, I'm not surprised that the 21st century's emphasis on sabremetrics has robbed him, and the team, of all sense of nuance. Seems to me that the more ways you can score a run, the stronger you'll be. When the game gets hard and the runs stop coming in bunches, you have to work to create runs. That we cannot seems a large part of our dismal August/September.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:21 am 
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Yes


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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:14 am 
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So obviously in baseball, most at-bats in key situations are failures from the hitters perspective. When the team is hitting well, two things happen: there are more key situations, since you have more baserunners, and you are a bit more likely to do well when in that situation. I think the former is by far the dominant factor (which is why a team of .400 hitters would score a lot more than twice a team of .200 hitters, all else being equal). Given more key situations, you're more likely to cash in on _some_ of them. When you cash in on some of them, you win, and make everyone forget the failures. :)

I think it's plausible that hitters can change their approach (e.g. trying for the long ball), reducing their overall effectiveness. I also think that while, generally speaking, the best way to score more runs is to simply hit the ball harder more often and just let the runs flow, there are times when more nuanced approaches are important. Particularly late in close games.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:39 pm 
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zogby wrote:
So obviously in baseball, most at-bats in key situations are failures from the hitters perspective. When the team is hitting well, two things happen: there are more key situations, since you have more baserunners, and you are a bit more likely to do well when in that situation. I think the former is by far the dominant factor (which is why a team of .400 hitters would score a lot more than twice a team of .200 hitters, all else being equal). Given more key situations, you're more likely to cash in on _some_ of them. When you cash in on some of them, you win, and make everyone forget the failures. :)

I think it's plausible that hitters can change their approach (e.g. trying for the long ball), reducing their overall effectiveness. I also think that while, generally speaking, the best way to score more runs is to simply hit the ball harder more often and just let the runs flow, there are times when more nuanced approaches are important. Particularly late in close games.


Winning close games isn't the key to being a playoff contender. Almost all teams regress to the mean of .500 in one run games. Good teams blow out their opponents more often than they get blown out themselves. Sure there are limitations to using run differentials to predict record, but overall it has value. For every O's anomaly, where the win 16 straight extra inning games, there are many teams that perform within 5 wins of their run differential (Pythag record). The Bucs are 1 game above their Pythag record right now.

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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:55 pm 
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bassoondirector wrote:
Did the Pirate offense get untracked enough to springboard them to more wins starting with the Mets tonight?


I guess we'll have to wait and see, but after what we've endured the past couple of weeks, Sunday's offensive explosion was certainly a palate cleanser for me. And it seemed to be for the team, as well. Did you see Cutch goofing off in the dugout with his hair? Did you see the smile on Hurdle's face? Did you see JaHa and Barmes hug after the final out? The mood was downright giddy at the end of the game.

I think the team needed to break out. They've got to be uptight, and I think yesterday was just what they needed. I hope it springboards to more success this week in New York, but it was definitely a great feeling yesterday.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:11 pm 
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Barrys Dopers wrote:
Winning close games isn't the key to being a playoff contender. Almost all teams regress to the mean of .500 in one run games. Good teams blow out their opponents more often than they get blown out themselves. Sure there are limitations to using run differentials to predict record, but overall it has value. For every O's anomaly, where the win 16 straight extra inning games, there are many teams that perform within 5 wins of their run differential (Pythag record). The Bucs are 1 game above their Pythag record right now.

I agree with all of this. If I'm getting you right, we're saying basically the same thing.

I do have one qualifier, which doesn't invalidate the above. I think a more nuanced approach is good late in close games. Lemme pose a hypothetical: it's tied in the bottom of the 9th, and the home team draws a leadoff walk. In this case, since any run wins, increasing the chance of 1+ runs (i.e. bunting) is more important then maximizing the total expected runs of the inning. It is correct to play to win by 1 here since it increases your win %.

Put another way, although I agree playing for expected runs (the pythag approach) is appropriate _most_ of the time, if a team _always_ played that way, they would likely underperform their Pythagorean record, since they will likely lose more 1 run games (assuming the teams they face play an optimal strategy). The effect is probably pretty small, though.

But most of the time the best strategy is to avoid making outs.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:45 pm 
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bassoondirector wrote:
So, my question is, is a win a win a win, or is it just as or more important how you win the game?


I'd rather my team be good than lucky, but when it comes to Buccos baseball I'll take whatever I can get! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:02 am 
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bassoondirector wrote:
I had to miss seeing the game yesterday when the Bucs beat the Astros 8-1. I did watch the highlights on the MLB Network show Quickpitch. Burnett pitched a great game. It was the offense that I was concerned about...still...and although the Pirates won the game 8-1, I really didn't see any great offensive attack except for Cutch's double off the CF wall.

So, my question is, is a win a win a win, or is it just as or more important how you win the game?

Did the Pirate offense get untracked enough to springboard them to more wins starting with the Mets tonight?

The Pirates have a lot of home runs this year, but I still feel driving in runs with runners on base by getting the big single or double is more important.

How many times this season would you have traded one of the home runs Cutch, or Jones, or Alvarez, or any of the Pirates hit for a key single?

I know there were many times when I was watching the games, a key single by McKenry, or Cutch, or Jones, or Alvarez, would have been huge
in determining the outcome of a game placing it in the win column for the Bucs.

I realize starting pitching is the key...BUT...I submit that if there isn't good run support with consistent scoring (which means getting key hits in key situations on a consistent basis), it doesn't matter how good your starting pitcher is.


Well, after the dismal loss against the Mets last night, I think I answered my own question (at least with this Pirate team). A win is a win is a win no matter how you can get it. And, the main reason, in my opinion when looking at the big picture, is because of these VERY inconsistent, streaky, bad AB's Pirate players that CAN'T score runs on a CONSISTENT basis.

Our starting pitching and bullpen do have issues that have to be addressed over the Winter.

BUT, it's the offense that's the biggest problem, in my opinion, with this Pirate team.

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Image...You can observe a lot by just watching. -Yogi Berra


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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:38 am 
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I'm inclined to agree that the hitting is the more serious problem. Here is the team's rank for each month in offense and pitching, by runs/era. It's plausible to me that the homerun tear of June/July is, uh, not reproducible, which means the offense could have been even worse. And AFAIK we have little expected help on offense from the minors.

Code:
                MLB Rank
Period        Runs    ERA
April           30      3
May             30      8
June             1     17
July             5     11
August          15     22
Sept            23     25

Pre All-Star    21      5
Post All-Star   22     23
Total           23     14


It's really crazy that they went 30/30/1/5 on offense to start the year.


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 Post subject: Re: Is a win a win a win?
PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:00 am 
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zogby wrote:
I'm inclined to agree that the hitting is the more serious problem. Here is the team's rank for each month in offense and pitching, by runs/era. It's plausible to me that the homerun tear of June/July is, uh, not reproducible, which means the offense could have been even worse. And AFAIK we have little expected help on offense from the minors.

Code:
                MLB Rank
Period        Runs    ERA
April           30      3
May             30      8
June             1     17
July             5     11
August          15     22
Sept            23     25

Pre All-Star    21      5
Post All-Star   22     23
Total           23     14


It's really crazy that they went 30/30/1/5 on offense to start the year.


I have been saying for a while that the June/July 16-6 was likely a fluke based on Cutch and Walker hitting .450 for 3 weeks. Looking at this what is the "true talent" level? Its certainly not 30th, but its probably around 20th which makes sense when you look at the roster. The pitching collapse is more troublesome to me, I look at the SP they have and the talent isn't likely top 10, but I don't think its bottom 10 either. At any rate if you have the 20-24th best offense and the 15th to 18th best staff then you would expect to be a 75 win team.

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