07 June 2009

Game 58 Unfair Win Shares

It would be easiest, I suppose, to just give out one unfair win share per home run hit in Saturday's 3-2 Dodger victory over the Phillies. Such a bounty for the offense would mirror what I did for the Friday night comeback, when in the immediate aftermath of the unexpected victory I piled two unfair win shares into Ethier's column for just a single hit. berkowit28 asks if one of those might better have gone to Broxton, and I think that this is a worthy point, that it might have been fairer if it had. But in general run scoring is easier to reward than run prevention, and in that particular case the game swung from still likely defeat to win in the moment Ethier connected with Lidge's pitch. Without Broxton's fine work previously Ethier's hit would not have won the game, but there are so many other pitchers who allowed that final moment to happen as well: Troncoso, Leach, even Mota, in his way.

The pitching was amazing in yesterday's game. From the Phillies, too, though they lost. I could just as easily reward every spotless Dodger pitcher with an unfair win share, and forget about the offense, which was lacking iron, as the cliche goes, more or less. But there were four Dodger pitchers unscored upon: Kuroda, Troncoso, Broxton, and Wade. Broxton would have to be let out for only pitching one inning. A pity that I don't treat the two comeback wins over the Phillies as a single entity from which to award the unfair win shares, because then Broxton would have two scoreless inning on which to build his case, and the Troncuilizer would have three scoreless innings for his case. Well --- I always knew that relievers would often go underappreciated in the unfair shares system. They are more likely to be noticed for blowing a game then helping win a game. Just like in real life.

Ethier will have to get an unfair win share. You can't hit two home run in a win and not get one. Well, actually, you can, as Ethier proved earlier in the season in Hudson's cycle game, which was also Billingsley's finest start of the year, arguably. So, I will try again: you can't hit a game winning home run and not get an unfair win share. But Ethier will have to settle for just one for this game. If his home run had erased a deficit and granted the win all at once, like his double on Friday, then he might have a case for two.

Surely the pitching deserves the other two unfair win shares. Yes, it does. But what am I to do about Furcal then? When Furcal came up as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning against Brad Lidge with one out and no one on, the last thing I was thinking about was a home run. Furcal just isn't that hitter anymore. Last year, before the injury? Sure. He was like a Manny who could play shortstop back then. Now he's like a Juan Castro who sometimes makes bad throws. That's probably unfair to Castro, who is hitting better than Furcal right now, and also unfair to Furcal, who is long-term surely a better hitter than Castro. I wouldn't say I had no hope when Furcal came up --- that would be strange given what I saw happen in the previous game against Lidge, but my hopeful thoughts tended toward Furcal somehow finding himself on first base, maybe through one of his strangely hard bunts. Not a home run. When he hit it, man, it looked like one. But it was close, so close, especially for how the ball had been carrying all day. ( Kuroda gave up some easy outfield flies in the early innings that seemed to carry way too close to the fence given how they came off the bats. ) At first I thought Werth had caught it. Even on the replays I could never tell. The ball is coming down, Werth closes his glove, the ball disappears. Into the glove or over the fence? I don't know. Only Werth's reaction after gave it away. The Dodgers were saved from defeat again, and Furcal has to get a share for that. Sorry, pitchers.

So the one share that the pitchers get will go to Kuroda, who pitched the most scoreless innings. Wade and Troncoso will get nothing. On the other side Lidge and Durbin get dinged. Such is the life of the reliever.

Unfair Win Shares ( Dodgers )

Furcal -- 1
Ethier -- 1
Kuroda -- 1

Unfair Loss Shares ( Phillies )

Lidge -- 1
Durbin -- 1
Howard -- 1

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