Category Archives: MLB

A Brief Look at Young Relievers Who Gave Up Walk-Offs in the Playoffs

Buster Olney tweeted the following today:

History tells us that young closers who blow postseason leads in big moments rarely recover…

Well there haven’t been a whole lot of closers to give up walk-off home runs, so here’s just a selection of relievers (a number of whom were relievers) to give up major home runs in the playoffs.

2011 — Neftali Feliz (23)
The jury’s still out on this one, but almost definitely he’ll be fine. There’s way too much evidence that a talented young pitcher can rebound.

2009 — Jonathan Broxton (25)
This one doesn’t make much sense. Broxton blew a game in the 2008 playoffs and dominated in 2009, so clearly this isn’t the case. In the 2009 playoffs, he blew another game. Then he was amazing in the first half of 2010, until he was abused and could no longer pitch. Playoffs has nothing to do with this and every Dodgers blog has beaten this horse to a bloody pulp.

2005 — Brad Lidge (28)
I imagine this guy and the guy two below are who Buster Olney is thinking of. Lidge gave up a huge dinger to Albert Pujols in the ’05 playoffs in the top of the 9th. He then gave up a big walk-off homer to Scott freaking Podsednik in the World Series. Lidge had a tough year the next year, but recovered with some good BABIP in the following seasons. He never repeated his 2004 season, but his 2005 season wasn’t his 2004 season, so who knows what Olney is thinking of.

2003 — Jeff Weaver (26)
This is an odd case. Weaver was dumped by the Detroit Tigers to the Yankees in 2002. Though he was decidedly average in Detroit, he was pretty awful in New York in 2003. Then, in the World Series, he gave up a walk-off dinger to Alex Gonzalez in Game 4 of the World Series. (Really? College was a blur). Weaver was traded to the Dodgers in the off-season and, get this, had two decent seasons. The problem here is Weaver wasn’t a particularly good pitcher, so “decent seasons” means he kept his hits rate low enough and wasn’t rewarded for it (his ERAs were league average). Weaver bounced around a couple of times, had another good season with the Dodgers in 2009 and was out in 2011.

2001 — Byung Hyun Kim (22)
I think this is the other guy Olney is thinking of. Kim was a nubile 22 when he pitched against the Yankees in the 2001 World Series. He gave up a couple of extra-inning losses in the 2001 World Series, though the D-Backs eventually won it. Kim was amazing in 2001, as he was in 2002 and 2003. The problems began in 2004, though, as his hit rates had progressively risen every year for three years. That’s usually a very bad sign. As you can imagine, 2005-2007 weren’t good years for him and he was out of MLB before the age of 29.

1993 — Mitch Williams (28)
A lot of 28-year-olds. Williams gave up a walk-off to Joe Carter in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Before we get inT. Williams after the fact, check this out: Williams AVERAGED giving up 6.9 walks per 9 innings between 1986 and 1991. That was balanced by a 6.6 hits/9 ratio. So when he started giving up more hits in 1992 and 1993 … his ERA somehow remained somewhere in the same range. Reliever fluctuations!! Anyway, Williams absolutely stunk after the 1993 season, and somehow even worse than before. Amazing.

1975 — Pat Darcy (25)
Darcy gave up the walk-off to Carlton Fisk in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Although he was decidedly average (3.58 ERA, 101 ERA+) in 1975, he gave up 9.2 hits per 9 innings and walked 4.2 in 130 innings. That’s a recipe for disaster. Darcy blew up the next year (6.23 ERA) in 39 innings and never reached the majors again.

1960 — Ralph Terry (24)
You know this one. Ralph Terry gave up the walk-off to Bill Mazeroski in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. It was maybe the greatest moment in baseball history. Terry wound up pretty decent. He pitched about 1000 innings over the next five years with a 107 ERA+ (which is a 3.47 in the mid-60s). In 1962, he pitched 298 innings with a 3.19 ERA and won the World Series MVP. Pretty dang good. His career ended in 1967, I’m guessing because of injury because it wasn’t like he was bad at the time.

1957 — Bob Grim (27)
In 1957, Grim was a Yankees pitcher with a few years under his belt. He was about league average, sometimes better than, but had injuries after pitching 199 innings in his first year. In the 1957 World Series, he gave up a walk-off to Eddie Mathews in game 4–a game that changed the series to 2-2 and an eventual Milwaukee Braves win. Grim had a few years where he was able to play again, but he was never very good after that. Strangely, it wasn’t anything psychological, it was just that his numbers caught up to him. For most of his career, Grim had the same pitcher he always was, but a small bump in his hits/9 numbers registered with the same number of walks/9 at that time and that was pretty much all she wrote.

1949 — Don Newcombe (23)
Newcombe gave up a walk-off home run to Tommy Heinrich in Game 1 of the 1949 World Series. In 1956, seven years later, he won the MVP and Cy Young in the same year.

There’s a lot of other pitchers that have given up walk-offs in major games throughout history and a surprising number of them are recognizable names. Ralph Branca (1951), Dave Stewart (1981), Jarrod Washburn (2004), Francisco Rodriguez (2007), just to name a few. They’re not recognizable for the home runs they allowed, but for their overall talent. Even in the names posted above, some are recognizable because they had amazing talent. The ones you recognize only because of their name didn’t have as much.

In 2010, Ryan Madson gave up a home run to Juan Uribe in the 8th inning of a 2-2 game in Game 6 of the NLCS. It cost the Phils the series. Dude’s doing pretty dang good and will be paid like he’s worth it this off-season.

So no, talent reigns supreme and Feliz has a lot of it.


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Let’s Get Real: Dodgers Won’t Sign Pujols, Fielder

Of course this isn’t directed at anyone in particular, aside from a few friends on facebook, but I want to get real here.

Can I get real?

OK, let’s get real. [real]

Dodgers signed Matt Kemp today to a 8-year/160 mil contract. They’re paying Matt Kemp what he’s worth during the years he’s worth it. It’s pretty much win-win, unless Kemp falls off a cliff at age 34.

This wonderful expenditure, as much as we all love it, pretty much precludes the Dodgers won’t be getting any major free agent this off-season. The team probably won’t be officially sold until April 1, which is pretty much opening day. Most free agents get their paychecks by early January; very few make it to February.

Additionally, the signings of Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera, both one-year deals, are basically Colletti’s way of trying to provide financial flexibility for 2012 and beyond (even if he is still overpaying Ellis and Rivera by a lot).

This isn’t pessimism, this is realism. [/real]

now lets talk about how mark cuban is gonna buy the dodgers

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Sometimes Baseball Finds A Way To Rope You Back In (some notes and links on Game 6)

First, new National song.

This has been a hell of a baseball season. This site’s been on hiatus for a while since we’re still doing the Scorekeeping Project and it’s taking most of my free time, but I have to post today. (A little update: most of the stuff is now down to Adam and I, since a number of the freelance viewers have dropped out; Adam is also a Cards fan and is going completely nuts right now).

Game 6 was an amazing game. I hope all of you got to watch it with someone you loved (or twitter). I got to do both.

Here’s the Win Expectancy chart from the game, via fangraphs:

Can’t Predict Baseball has a pretty nice wrap-up of the insanity.

From The Captain’s Blog, this is a neat little fact:

The returns are in…David Freese now owns the highest WPA in a WS game. His .953 beats Kirk Gibson’s.870.

Goddamn. What a game.

Jeff Passan tweeted this:

Just heard this listening back over tape. Scott Feldman broke Lance Berkman’s bat on the game-tying single. Gets more amazing by the second.

Passan also posted this:

Among all the cool things I’ve seen tonight, here’s another: Joe Buck emulating one of his dad’s signature calls.

A few people didn’t like emulating the call, but I honestly loved it.

As I said on twitter last night, this has easily been the greatest season I’ve ever witnessed. If you’re not happy with this, get your pulse checked.

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Ted Lilly’s Homerless Allowed Streak–You’re Gonna Want to Read This

I don’t know what to call it. No Homer Streak? Whatever, let’s do this.

Ted Lilly has literally never gone a month in his career without giving up a home run. In 2002, he had only two starts in July and didn’t allow a home run, so there’s that. But September 2011 is the first time in his career he went a whole month without giving up a home run.

That was six consecutive starts without allowing a home run.

His longest homerless streaks before this:

1999: 4
2001: 5
2002: 4
2003: 3
2004: 4
2005: 3
2006: 3 (2)
2007: 3 (2)
2008: 2 (3)
2009: 3
2010: 3
2011: 6

Not only did he break his personal best for most non-homer-allowed games, he did it at the end of the season when he needed to allow only two home runs to join the 30/30 club.

Lilly has started 318 games in his career, appeared in 343 total. He’s given up 286 homers in that time; with multi-home run games, he’s had 193 games where he’s allowed a home run.

For averages, his HR/9 rate is 1.4 for his career, but since he averages 6 IP per start, it’s more like 0.933 per start. Yes, averaged out, he gives up a home run per appearances.

—Betting Odds—

Since he’s had 193 games with a homer allowed, 193 divided by 342 is 56; 56% of the time he made a MLB appearance he allowed a home run. That leaves you with 44% of the time he was in a game and didn’t allow one. That’s even on the lighter side, since we’re including non-start appearances (fewer innings, fewer chances to allow a HR).

You have better odds betting on the brightly colored spots on a Craps table and winning six times in a row than betting Lilly not giving up a homer.

So what are the official chances? The chances of Lilly not giving up a home run in six consecutive games are slightly less than 1% (about 0.73%; h/t @jeffersonlives). And he did it solely to prevent himself from entering the history books.

That’s pretty cool. We saw a >1% odd happen tonight.

The 30/30 pitcher season is rarer than Lilly’s homerless streak. There are about 17 seasons I think of a pitcher giving up 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in tens of thousands of eligible pitching seasons. But instead of Lilly breaking a negative record, he created a positive one–and a personal one at that. Good for him.


Filed under Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, MLB history

A Follow-Up on Average/OBP/SLG Triple Crown and on Matt Kemp staying in LA

Here’s this post from last year, and I feel I should follow up on it a bit.

Josh Hamilton got seriously close last year, but Miguel Cabrera had him beat on OBP by .009. Kemp isn’t particularly close on the AOS triple crown, but who cares. He’s very close to the traditional triple crown and a 40/40 season with only a handful of games to go.

Kemp also had this to say on ESPN 710:

“[We] haven’t started talks,” the MVP candidate told 710 ESPN, “but I plan on being with Dodgers rest of my career.”

Pardon my language, but Goddamn it’s good to hear that.

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Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

The Scorekeeping Project donation drive ended on Tuesday at noon my time roughly and we finished just north of $3,000. I imagine everything should be paid for, barring some huge catestrophe, and we’re probably gonna be able to do some Spanish-speaking broadcasts as well.

The next few months will be collecting data. Adam and I have (well, OK, Adam has) done a good deal of it so far, but we have a long way to go.

If you’d like to become a coder–and receive a small stipend for your coverage–please contact me at sethamitin at gmail.

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Filed under MLB, MLB history, Scorekeeping



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