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It was the best of pitching; it was the worst of pitching. April 8, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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I’ll be honest. This was scheduled to be a ridiculous gushing post about Madison Bumgarner completing a totally meaningless milestone. After finishing the final game of the World Series and earning a save1, he pitched seven innings to open the season for the Giants this season. That means Madison threw twelve consecutive innings, which sounded pretty impressive.

Unfortunately for Madison, the 2003 version of Josh Beckett did it better. He pitched a complete game to clinch the World Series for Florida and then opened the 2004 season with seven innings of one-run ball.Fortunately, Mat Latos bravely crumbled during last night’s game to provide the sports blogging community with material. Mat was knocked out of the box after only two outs, having given up a respectable seven runs before getting the hook. According to Baseball-Reference, no pitcher has lasted less than one full inning on opening day since 1982.

Latos is, however, in good company with his season-starting ERA of 94.50. Jose Contreras started on Opening Day for Chicago in 2007 and lasted only one inning, giving up 7 runs; Carl Pavano did the same in 2009 for Cleveland, giving up 9 runs in the process. Both salvaged their seasons respectably, but – and this is my Mets homer bias coming out – let’s hope Latos is remarkably consistent this year.

1 This was the right call by the official scorer, but I really wish he’d declared Jeremy Affeldt “ineffective in a brief appearance” to give Mad Bum the win. Yes, I can call 2 1/3 innings of one-hit, no-run ball during which the Giants took the lead they never relinquished both “ineffective” and “brief,” compared to Bumgarner’s five-inning save.

Mets Run Support by Starting Pitcher August 1, 2014

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Yesterday’s post discussed distributional wins and losses based on the Mets’ inconsistent bunching of runs together. Since the boys didn’t play last night, I had a pretty stable dataset to work with, and the opportunity to crunch some numbers to see if the hypothesis that we’re working with is true. In addition, I took a look at each of our current starting rotation’s run support numbers and found some surprising things.

First of all, no pitcher had a statistically significant run support number than any other. Although Dillon Gee‘s run support is .77 lower than the average pitcher, for example, the p-value is .44, meaning the probablity that that’s statistically different from 0 is just about 56%. Jacob deGrom has a similar number – .796 runs below the average, but a .42 p-value. The only pitcher with a positive effect on run support is Bartolo Colon, but his p-value is a whopping .72, meaning it’s more likely than not that his number is a statistical artifact.

The runs allowed are a bit more stable – deGrom allows 1.18 runs fewer than average with a .2 p-value – but Gee, Jonathon Niese, Colon, and Zack Wheeler all have statistically 0 effect on runs allowed. Their ps are, respectively, .91, .84, .64, and .79. Basically, this means that an effect would have to be really big to show up in such a small sample size, not even all 108 games are covered in the sample.

Another way of tracking pitcher run support is to track team wins and losses in the games started by those pitchers and compare it to the team’s Pythagorean expectation in those games. This is a bit more revealing; for example, the Mets are 6-8 in starts by deGrom, but would have a Pythagorean expectation of about .568, or about 8-6, in those games. Wheeler also ends up with a Pythagorean expectation better than his record, predicting the Mets would have won 11 rather than 10 of his 22 games. The other pitchers are more or less in line with their expectations, although, like Zack, the pitchers don’t always get credit for the wins they pitched in.

Behind the cut is the table of regression results for a linear model with a dummy variable for each pitcher’s starts, plus a totally useless Away game dummy to look for home field advantage. (Surprise: There is none for the Mets, but all pitchers do allow roughly .74 more runs on the road than at home.)

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