Friday, August 31, 2007

Why the M's are up against the wall

As I was driving home from the Stadium last night, I frantically began searching for the Indians radio statio at 7 o'clock. It was around 7:30 that I stumbled across WTAM out of Cleveland and as I got closer to Binghamton the Indians broadcast began to overpower the sounds of the Mills Brothers and Patti Page who were transmitted on a rival 1100 AM station. As I rooted for the Mariners to lose and leave the Yanks in sole possession of the Wild Card I began to contemplate the difficulties that the M's face in September when they must play 2 more games than the Yanks.

So much in the modern era of baseball seems to come down to bullpens and to paraphrase Miss Teen South Carolina, I personally believe that M.L. Baseballers are unable to win because, uhmmm, some people out there in the game don't have relief pitchers and uh, I believe that our, I, pitching like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh, our pitching over here in the bigs should help the bigs, uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for our children.

What I'm trying to say is that I think the Wild Card race is going to come down to whose bullpen can hold the most wins for their team. The starters, both pitching and fielding, are in their routines and won't be as affected by playing every day of the month, but the guys in the bullpen need a couple days off every week or two so they don't get burned out.

Let's begin by saying that a bullpen needs two consecutive days off once every two weeks to stay fresh and productive. The only way to get those days off is either by virtue of a great start by one of your pitchers or a day off. Now, let's say the the odds of any team getting a great starting pitching performance on any given day is 40%. So, the odds of having back-to-back great starts to rest your bullpen is 16%. In contrast, a team with an off day would need either the start preceding or proceeding that day off to fully rest their pen. The odds that one of those two starts would be a great start is 64% or, to put it another way, having an off day makes it four times as likely that your bullpen gets the necessary rest it needs than if you have to play every day.

In my mind, that will be the undoing of the 2007 Mariners. Now to make sure we take care of business against Tampa, Toronto and Baltimore.

6 comments:

joe said...

While I agree with your sentiment, I believe the undoing of the Mariners will be the fact that they are not very good, as evidenced by their +7 run differential compared to the Yanks +149.

When that four game series got snowed out in the beginning of the year I remember thinking it was a good thing for the Yanks because hopefully it would tire Cleveland out down the stretch and improve our shot at the wild card. I never expected that the Mariners would be the team we'd have to start rooting against...

priv8pete said...

I had the same thoughts about that snow-out assuming that the Tigers would run away with the Central. Good thing we were wrong about Detroit.

Michael in New York said...

What's a run differential? This US American wants to know.

priv8pete said...

Runs allowed less runs scored. Basically you count up how many more runs your offense scored than your pitching allowed. Using this differential and the pythagorean formula you can determine an expected winning % that a team should end the season with (if you subscribe to the work of Bill James).
Here's the wiki:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagorean_expectation

Michael in New York said...

Thx.

dasnootz said...

I like turtles.