Hasty Judgment

By no means was Jamie Moyer ever expected to rival Tim Lincecum for the NL Cy Young award this year. And by no means was he — nor should have been — expected to repeat last year’s FIP-defying season. So my reaction to his allowing the first four Mets hitters to circle the bases and the first five to reach base was a bit too much. Little did I know the BABIP gods would make things right again.

Here’s the first five Mets hitters in the first:

- L. Castillo doubled to shallow left
- F. Tatis singled to right, L. Castillo to third, F. Tatis to second advancing on throw
- D. Wright singled to shallow right center, L. Castillo and F. Tatis scored, D. Wright to second advancing on throw
- C. Beltran homered to deep center, D. Wright scored
- J. Francoeur singled

And this was the rest of the game:

- W. Valdez lined out to shallow right
- M. Pelfrey grounded out to third
- L. Castillo lined out to center

- F. Tatis fouled out to shallow left
- D. Wright grounded out to second
- C. Beltran lined out to third

- J. Francoeur popped out to right
- O. Santos grounded out to pitcher
- D. Murphy popped out to shortstop

- W. Valdez grounded out to pitcher
- M. Pelfrey grounded out to third
- L. Castillo flied out to right center

- F. Tatis singled to pitcher
- D. Wright lined out to third
- C. Beltran flied out to left
- J. Francoeur lined out to third

- O. Santos flied out to deep center
- D. Murphy doubled to center
- D. Murphy stole third
- W. Valdez grounded out to third, D. Murphy scored
- N. Evans grounded out to third

In short:

  • First five hitters: 0 outs, 3 singles, 1 double, 1 home run, 4 runs
  • Rest of the game: 21 outs, 1 single, 1 double, 1 run, 0 walks

Jamie got the job done after a rough start, and actually gave the Phillies a decent start given the circumstances. Not too many pitchers can get shelled to start a game the way he did and rebound for an otherwise quality start through seven innings.

Unfortunately, the Phillies’ bullpen could not lead Moyer to a victory, as the trio of Brett Myers, Chan Ho Park, and Ryan Madson combined to give up five runs in two innings of work en route to a 10-9 loss. Four of the five runs came courtesy two David Wright home runs, one off of Myers and one off of Madson.

[Tom McCarthy lazy transition]Speaking of hasty judgment[/Tom McCarthy lazy transition], let’s hold off on the pitchfork mobbing for a little while when it comes to Ryan Madson. He’s had very limited opportunities to close out games. Yes, he has not performed very well in those limited opportunities, but give the guy a chance to prove himself before citing his lack of a “closer’s mentality” or some such intangible.

The fact is, Madson has ridiculous stuff and will enjoy success against Major League hitters more often than not. Including this season, his xFIP has decreased significantly every season since 2006, hand-in-hand with a similarly-increasing strikeout rate. Give him a chance and don’t let your emotions guide your judgments as mine did during Moyer’s rough start today.

Another Phillies Myth Busted

After a disappointing 8-7 loss to the Washington Nationals on Thursday night, manager Charlie Manuel accused his Phillies team of playing down to their level of competition. Per David Murphy:

Afterward, Manuel lamented those struggles, saying the Phillies were guilty of playing down to their competition while falling to 79-59 and seeing their NL East lead drop to five games over second-place Florida.

So, I threw the Phillies’ stats in Excel and ran some numbers. The following two graphs show the correlation between opponent winning percentage and runs scored and runs allowed per game. If Charlie’s hypothesis is correct, we’d expect that as an opponent’s winning percentage increased, so to would run-scoring (first graph), and runs allowed (second graph) would decrease.

There is just about zero correlation in both graphs. The Phillies don’t play down to their opponents, and nor do they play up to them.

Maybe there’s a correlation in specific offensive categories like OBP and SLG?

  • OBP: .0001 r-square to opponent winning percentage
  • SLG: .0064 r-square to opponent winning percentage

For Phillies’ pitchers…

  • Opponent OBP: .0004 r-square to opponent winning percentage
  • Opponent SLG: .00002 r-square to opponent winning percentage

The final nail in the coffin is that there’s only a .0005 r-square between the Phillies’ winning percentage against teams this year and those teams’ real winning percentage.