05 May 2009

Rolling Down the Imperial Highway Toward Game 28

I was asked to explain why Byrnes got an unfair loss share for last night's game. Well, it's because he's a red-headed punk. He's a big, nasty, red-headed punk. Say, perhaps he's the big nasty red-head at our side as we roll down the Imperial Highway! No, I think that's supposed to be a woman. And yet there's nothing in the song that says it has to be a woman, is there? Now I'm confused. ( Edit: I just realized the red-head is probably the "girl" referenced in the first ( rarely heard ) verse, so I guess it is made explicit in the song. )

The reality is batting unfair loss shares are often especially cruel and unfair. There was no obvious situation last night where a Snake batter failed to come through, no moment where the game was blown by some batter afflicted with lumber slumber. It felt like a Dodger blowout for most of the night even if the score was never that lopsided, so it's hard to point to any one guy and say he's why the Snake offense failed. I could give all the loss shares to the Snake pitchers, but 2 was enough for them. They weren't that bad. I looked at Chris Young, who had a typically awful Chris Young night full of strikeouts and wasted potential, and in the first draft he was it. But then I turned to Byrnes after I realized he had left three men on base, including a groundout in the top of the sixth when the Snakes had their last real look at the game. It's possible that I just switched to Byrnesey because I'm biased against him or something, but I can honestly say I'm equally biased against both Byrnes and Young. You can throw in Reynolds and Drew in there too.

I like the Dodgers' chances tonight, if only because Snake pitcher Max Scherzer doesn't last long into games. He's averaging about 5 innings a start this year, after averaging the same last year. He's like an Eric Stults who doesn't share a confusingly similar name with an obscure actor. Scherzer is right up there in Kershaw-land with 4.4 pitches per plate appearance. You really need to be at 4.0 or below to pitch deep into games. Billingsley is at 4.0. Johan Santana is at 3.9. League average is about 3.85. Even Stults is just a little above 4.0, but he has other problems. Kershaw and McDonald ( 4.35 ) are the Dodgers most in need of lowering their pitches per batter ratios.

I wonder how a pitcher goes about lowering his pitches per plate appearance? You could pitch to contact, but what does that mean, other than serving up balls down the middle of the plate to be deposited in the outfield seats? "Yeah, boy that was some good contact I pitched into!" No, no. I guess you lower your pitches per plate appearance by having better command, throwing fewer balls, hitting the corners more often. You know, just by being a better pitcher.

Anyway, Scherzer is pretty good but he doesn't go deep into games, and his career record is 0-6, so the Dodgers better win and not let him get his first career win. That would suck.


Jon Weisman said...

Is there a running tally of your Unfair Shares anywhere?

Joshua Worley said...

No, and there should be.

I've been meaning to get to that for the last week or so.

I'll probably put it in the sidebar if I can get my act together.