Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Brewers Win Earned-Run Contest, Lose Game

Can we just get rid of "earned" and "unearned" runs? When a runner crosses the plate, the team gets a run. The team with the most of those plate-crossings gets a win. How the hell can one kind of run be "earned" and another be "un-earned?" Is it some kind of moral judgement on the manliness of the lineup? Like they didn't deserve the run somehow because the shortstop booted a grounder? If that's the case, the Giants lost the game last night. After all, they only scored one "earned" run and failed to "earn" the other three. On the other hand, I'm certainly happy that the Milwaukee Brewers are a bad baseball team.

Chad Gaudin was lucky that the ball hit by Juan Francisco in the 7th bounced over the fence. That was a bomb, and should have scored both runners. The Brewers also missed a suicide squeeze. It's nice to see the Giants play a team that is not only worse, but much more unlucky than they are. Otherwise, Chad was very Gaudinian with his eight strikeouts and four hits allowed in 6-1/3 IP. If Ryan Vogelsong is the Greatest Scrap Heap Reclamation Project in the history of the organization, Go-Dan ain't far behind.

So, who should lead off for the Giants? The numbers say Marco Scutaro, he of the high BA (.306) and OBP (.365). Naturally, he goes 0-for-5 with a whiff in his debut. That was only his 27th whiff of the year. You know who has the most walks on the team? Buster Posey (38), of course. Brandon Belt (37) is right behind him, and Scutaro (35) is third. Posey has the highest OBP (.378) but also the highest SLG (.505), so he stays where he is. But Brandon Belt has the third-highest OBP (.345) on the team. It's worth considering the much-maligned youngster for the top spot. No beef with Scutaro, but maybe a lefty option now and then. Sure, his 88 whiffs are ugly (most on the team), but ugly is the operating word for the 2013 Giants. Last year the team won its 50th game on July 17th.

Matt Cain tonight. GO GIANTS!



Zo said...

I disagree. Earned and unearned runs are a measure of a pitcher's prowess. An imperfect measure, but then so are all the other ones.

It was unclear why Bochy left Gaudin in the game in the 7th. He was clearly unable to pitch from the start of the inning. Toughening him up for service as a starter? Testing his mettle? Not sure, but we had some luck to prevent that inning from losing us the game.

Didn't Brandon Belt lead off at some time in the past - like last year, with poor results? He seems enough of a work in progress and/or head case that it seems risky. Of course Scutaro went 0 - 5, any one could have written that script. He always shows patience and, unlike Belt, doesn't get rattled. VSC in spades.

Brother Bob said...

I approve of the wholesale lineup juggling. Why not? Blanco & Torres have been duds. Sure they can run, but they just don't have the OBP you want.
Actually nobody is having a great year. Posey's doing just enough to not tarnish his future HOF credentials. You could say the same for Bumgardner, on the pitching side of the equation. Aside from those two, no one has stepped it up at all.
However, Gaudin has been delightful. I hope he keeps it up.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Here's rule 10.16 which is, of course, dependent on Rule 10.12 (definition of an error). Byzantine nonsense. And too dependent on the interpretations of the official scorer. And silly, too, like not awarding an "RBI" on a double-play grounder.

Teams allow runs. Teams prevent runs. Teams win games. Teams lose games. Individuals play greater or lesser roles in the chain of events we call a ballgame. I think ERA is a pretty sorry scheme for evaluating pitchers because all it does is identify outliers. If you have a really low ERA, the likelihood that you are a great pitcher or having a great year is high. Same for really high ERAs. But the vast majority of pitchers are in the mid-ranges, and the slop on that metric is so high (park factors, quality of defenders, quality of opposition, relief pitching, etc.) that it's almost useless. Is a 3.50 ERA pitcher REALLY 1/2 run better than a 4.00 pitcher? To me, ERA is much like W-L record: great for after-the-fact discussion, but not very revealing.

The saber-stats like FIP or SIERA may not be much better at this point, but at least someone is trying. And I like the idea of investigating the game with a fresh perspective and different analytical tools.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Giants have signed Ted Lilly who was released by the Dodgers. Minor league deal.

Zo said...

I'm not arguing that ERA cannot be improved on, I'm just arguing that all of the metrics leave something to be desired. This is not the same as a Bruce Jenkins argument like the one analyzed here: http://www.firejoemorgan.com/2007/06/bizarre-ad-hominem-attacks-on-non.html. (Actually, just an excuse to read a fine FJM article.) ERA, like most baseball stats (which are virtually all "counting" stats) suffers from small sample size, over a large enough sample it means something. Ted Lilly does not thrill me.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Looks like Lilly and Giants failed to reach a deal and he remains a free agent.