Monday, October 08, 2007

Go Wedge, Go Byrd

I am probably giving the Indians the kiss of death by writing this, but I have been flabbergasted by the some of the bullspit "analysis" I have seen about Game 4 of the ALDS tonight. First, there is an underlying belief that pitching Paul Byrd is tantamount to throwing the game. This is absurd. Byrd is a slightly below average pitcher in my eyes, but he's not a replacement level pitcher either. Sure, his finesse profile does not seem to match up well against the Yankees, but that doesn't mean that he can't beat them in one game. If you had pitcher whose real true talent was allowing 7 runs to the Yanks in 9 innings, and you the Yanks pitcher's real true talent was to allow you just 3.5 (and both are more extreme than the Byrd-Wang matchup actually is), you'd still expect to win 20%.

Second, there is a belief that Wang will pitch extremely well. Why exactly? Wang is a quality pitcher, no doubt, but the Tribe just shelled him on Friday, and he's going on three days rest. Sinkerballers are purported to be better on short rest, but I've never seen a study to back that up. Yes, Wang has pitched better at Yankee Stadium than on the road, but this is hardly prohibitive. Wang should be expected to pitch well, because he is a good pitcher. Expecting him to be unbeatable seems fairly irrational to me.

Third, I have seen one poster/blogger invoke "owing it to your team and your fans to throw your best pitchers at them". A) as a fan of the team myself, I don't feel in anyway cheated; maybe we should have a Bill Veeck grandstand manager routine to figure out who should pitch each game, though. B) How confident are you, really, that Sabathia on three days rest is better than Byrd? Does this level of confidence justify the extra risk induced by pitching Sabathia in a scenario he is not used to? How sure are you, exactly?

C) this stuff about owing it to your team--how about owing it to your team not to panic because you lost one game? What does it say to your team if you announce that you plan to use four starters and proceed in this fashion. Then you win the first two games of the series, but you lose game three. And then panic. What message does that send to your team? "We are a bunch of bums who can't possibly win with Paul Byrd on the mound"? That's how you show confidence and give them the best chance to win?

1 comment:

  1. In fact, there almost turned out to be a fatal flaw in the choice of pitchers for this game. It was not that Paul Byrd started the game...it was that Paul Byrd was brought in to pitch the ninth inning.

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