Another nut-busting series. Split. Details to follow.
After a relatively peaceful week on the ptp-front for the Hairys and Pilonidal Cysts, a wind has begun to stir. And it brings with it the stench of battle and heartbreak as these two franchises head into the weekend for a 2 game showdown that will go a long ways towards determining post-season contention. The Hairys have admittedly been dreading this series as they have enjoyed their brief stint atop the division. They also can only hope that their tremendous pitching and A-Rod’s scalding bat can continue, but the numbers dictate that both must slump at some point. The Hairys post-season dreams rest on just how big and timely that slump is. On the other hand, those same numbers dictate that Big Papi, David Wright and others can’t possibly remain mired in their .125 slump for long.
As for the Cysts, what else is new? They are pitching well, hitting well and are managed by a legend. This all spells trouble for Hairy Nation. The good news is that ace Hernandez just pitched and will be unavailable for at least the first game. The Hairys hope to take advantage and earn at least a split. But you never know who will step up huge for the Cysts in a crucial game. One thing that IS known is that this series will be of the gut-wrenching variety. So Theodore, we’ve been looking towards this moment with trepidation, but realize it must occur. Name your time and we will get this thing on.
Rich Harden retired 21 of the first 22 batters and had a 1-hitter through 7 (the only baserunner). He slipped up in the 8th when Adam Dunn when bombastic. Wagner came in to try to save Harden’s outing but gave up a 2-run double to pinch hitter Molina that put the F’rs up 3-1. The Slappers left 11 men on base in Game 1. Guillen went 1-2 with another ground ball hit.
In game 2 I decided to start Guillen and watched him hit his first extra-base hit of the season and raised his average to .111. Nice.
Zito battled in the 2nd game and ended up with a complete game win although he faced tough situations in the late innings. I went with my gut though and Zito delivered.
Polanco had hit in every game so far this year but you wouldn’t know it by his .238 average. He went hitless in game 2 to end the streak.
Lee had two solid games and maintained a nice .436 average.
Wild card race is tight.
So in trying to figure out what has led to the Hairys’ unusual success so far this year (it certainly hasn’t been the offense, which still hits a flaccid .220), I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the reasons is that the bullpen has been very strong this year – no blown saves as of yet (knock on wood) and a great IR%. With that in mind, I set out to try and determine who has had the most effective bullpen of all time.
As a measurement of bullpen effectiveness, I used a pretty simple formula of Save % divided by % of Inherited Runners scored, or SV%/IR%. Or in other words, how much of your inheritance did you save (Inheritance Saved=IS). A perfect bullpen would have an IS of infinity (1.000SV% divided by 0.000IR%). So, the bigger your Inheritance Saved, the better. Obviously this is not meant to be a perfect description of a bullpen’s effectiveness as there are many other factors involved, but for my purposes, it will do.
The results of this study were pretty interesting. The first fact to jump out is that historically the best bullpen has belonged to Manager Bowman’s Curb Dogs/Love Gods. His career IS is 3.24, nearly a point higher than the 2nd place Slappers with an IS of 2.45. Ted and Jerry tie for third with IS’s of 1.90 and the Germans are looking at 1.40. Bart has high and away the highest season IS with a ridiculous 8.57 in 2006. That year, the Curb Dogs saved 60% of their chances and only let an insane SEVEN PERCENT of inherited runners score (3 out of 43). The worst IS in history belongs to the 2005 Slappers at 0.79. That year, the Slapper pen blew 2/3’s of their saves and let over 40% of inherited runners score. It is probably no coincidence that this was easily the worst year in Slapper history as they went 7-11.
Out of 8 seasons (2004-2011), the team with the best IS won the division 3 times (Slappers of ’07, ’10 and ’11) and the wild-card once (Curb Dogs ’04). Obviously there are many other factors that lead to a division title, but it is worth noting that the team with the worst IS has never won the division or gone to the world series. Also, Ted’s is probably a little lower historically because his bullpen gets far more work than anyone else’s. For example, in 2010, his pen inherited 83 runners compared to the next highest at 39. WHEN managers bring their relievers in probably affects things as well; ie do you tend to bring them in only when men are already on base, or do you bring them in at the start of innings? But, despite all the variables, I think this is a decent measurement of bullpen effectiveness which no one will argue is a key ingredient to PTP success.
The Love Gods and the Pilonidal Cysts battled to a split Monday night in a couple close games. Only 13 runs crossed home plate between the 2 teams in the double header, as the Gods won 2-1 in 10 innings in game 1 and the Cysts escaped with a 6-4 win in the nightcap.
Game 1 featured wind blowing out and lots of rain. Two delays, totalling 1 1/2 hours of play stoppage, couldn’t stiffen the arms of the pitchers enough to allow anyone to score in this thing. The score was 1-1 in the 2nd, and stayed that way until the 10th. Cyst Starter Pettitte only allowed 1 run through 4 innings for Petersboro, butstarter Buehrle was even better for Davis County, allowing only a run in 6.2 innings. The bullpens were just as fierce; Bart’s pitched 3.1 scoreless innings and Ted’s pitched 5.2 scoreless innings before Teixiera hit a 2 out homer in the bottom of the 10th off Mariano Rivera for the walkoff win. The Cysts left 11 on base in the game, truly annoying their manager, and certainly leading to their demise.
Game 2 featured Cyst ace Hernandez against Peavy, who has struggled so far this year. It was all Peavy early though, as the Gods jumped to a 2-1 lead in the 1st. Peavy was wicked through 5 innings, allowing just the one run on only 2 hits while striking out 6. An eerie voice in Ted’s head told him, however, that Peavy would eventually falter and give up some ferocious homers to the good guys. 10 minutes later, when the dust from the top of the 6th cleared, the Cysts were up 5-2, and Peavy was in the showers, thanks to a Gomes homer, a Helton double, an Edmonds double, and a Clark homer. Love God Fultz was determined to keep the home team in this one, and he pitched marvelously in relief, and Love God Holliday was determined to scratch back into contention as he scored a run in the 6th and had an RBI hit in the 8th to get the Gods within 1 at 5-4. Cyst Valentin had other ideas, though, as he got an insurance run in the top of the 9th with a solo shot off lefty Fultz, who started to tire. It’s fantastic to note that he hits under .200 with AV power against lefties. Rivera atoned for his game 1 mistake by pitching 2 innings of hitless, scoreless ball to get his league-leading 3rd save. Hernandez got his league-leading 3rd win. There you go. See, I told you we split.