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View Full Version : In which Tim McCarver makes me think.....



dfs
07-14-2011, 09:06 AM
I watched/listened to the all star game Tuesday night and somewhere late in the game Tim McCarver dropped a little nugget that usually a broadcast team would chew over, but this being the all star game went unexplored.


McCarver pointed out that it was odd that a team below 500, a team looking up at three divisional opponents, would have half of its starting lineup in the all star game. Now, McCarver usually annoys me, but, you know what? He's right.

We can all identify the team. Votto belongs on the all star team. Bruce belongs on the all star team. Phillips belongs on the all star team. Rolen got there through injury to others, but with the weak state of NL thirdbasemen, he didn't stand out as somebody who didn't belong. Heck, he was the only Red to start the game. It goes even further. You could make a weak case that Johny Cueto belonged. And although nobody would make the case today, when the team was announced several Reds players were mildly upset that Cordero was left off.

How is this team behind three other teams in the pennant race? How is this team below 500?

Lets compare to last year. The only player really having a better year than last year would be Jay Bruce. His improvement balances out the predictable decline of Joey Votto from otherworldly to very good.

It's fashionable to call for trading Ramon Hernandez, but catching was a strength last year that has just become better.

While Drew Stubbs has not exactly blossomed, it's pretty clear that he's earning his keep and belongs as a major league starter.

At first glance left field looks like a disaster, but you add the numbers up and they are above league average.

I got nothing nice to say about the shortstops. It was a hole last year and it's just been a bigger one this year.

Can we blame the decline of this awesome lineup on the shortstop?

No. There's another half of the game. What have the pitchers done?

I'm sure it's been brutal....and then you look at the aggregate numbers and they've gone from an ERA of 4.01 to 4.17. That's an extra run every 5 games.

You all know what it is? They went 27-27 in one run games last year. This year it's been 13-21.

Now, those of us with a numeric bent will say, that's luck. Those who lock at the game through different eyes will say, that's character. We can argue about that till we are blue in the face.

Give this team 4 one run wins to make them 17-17 and they are right where everybody believes they should be. The sky is not falling. Dusty is not to blame.


Kudus to Tim McCarver for making me look at things in a different way.

Johnny Footstool
07-14-2011, 09:51 AM
The Reds run differential says they should be cruising along at the top of the division. I believe that their W/L record will catch up to Pythagoras in the next few weeks.

REDREAD
07-14-2011, 10:02 AM
Great thread to start.

Obviously this year Arroyo and Volquez have killed some games for us this year. I will go so far as to say that if Volquez just gave us the average pitching level of a #4 starter, we'd be in first place.

Ryan Hannigan went 300/405/429 last year.
This year he's 250/351/321. Combine that with the black hole at SS, and the bottom third of our order is much less productive than it was last year. I thinkthat is also contributing to our poor record in one run games (Especially when you throw in Rolen's regression and the period where Gomes was giving us zero) I'm not saying Hannigan or Rolen stink, but that's a pretty key difference this year.. the lower half of the batting order has not been as productive.. Maybe that doesn't affect the runs scored, but I think it hurts us in close games.

I have a few other guesses, but I need some time to look up the numbers to back it up, so I don't get torn to shreds. :lol:

nate
07-14-2011, 10:06 AM
Interesting analysis. The most Tim McCarver has ever made me think of is turning off the volume. I'm still firmly in the "please fix the starting pitching" camp. The Reds SP have the worst FIP in the NL and 4th worst xFIP. They ended 2010 with the 5th worst FIP and xFIP. To me, it's not inconceivable that they've performed as they have so far.

bucksfan2
07-14-2011, 10:11 AM
You all know what it is? They went 27-27 in one run games last year. This year it's been 13-21.

Now, those of us with a numeric bent will say, that's luck. Those who lock at the game through different eyes will say, that's character. We can argue about that till we are blue in the face.

Give this team 4 one run wins to make them 17-17 and they are right where everybody believes they should be. The sky is not falling. Dusty is not to blame.


IMO this is the biggest reason the Reds are where they are right now. They are losing the toss up games at an alarming rate. If that stabilizes and returns to its norm the Reds have a good shot at winning. If it doesn't it may be a disappointing summer and fall for the Reds.

dfs
07-14-2011, 10:18 AM
Interesting analysis. The most Tim McCarver has ever made me think of is turning off the volume.

Heh. That's a good line. Frankly I was just too tired to turn McCarver off.

Roy Tucker
07-14-2011, 10:22 AM
A running thought through my head all this season is "gee, they aren't playing that bad, why can't they win more?".

I won't say they've been unlucky, but they've really had ill-timed blunders, gaffes, chokes, and brain farts that have cost them 5-7 games at least. All self-imposed so you can't blame anyone but the team. Other than that, they've looked pretty decent.

My mantra has been "they haven't had a hot streak yet, just wait". It's not a sure thing by far that they will, but I am hopeful.

Homer Bailey
07-14-2011, 10:25 AM
Nice post dsf. It's basically what I've been saying all along.

The Reds still have the best run differential in the NL Central, and 3rd best in the NL.

nate
07-14-2011, 10:28 AM
Heh. That's a good line. Frankly I was just too tired to turn McCarver off.

He is tiresome!

cumberlandreds
07-14-2011, 10:52 AM
Heh. That's a good line. Frankly I was just too tired to turn McCarver off.

Does anyone like Tim McCarver besides FOX? Everyone I read that comments about him has nothing good to say about his broadcasting. I know I have never cared for him. FOX could do much much better with the announcing team they send out as their first team.

RichRed
07-14-2011, 11:02 AM
I agree with those who say the Reds' run diff. indicates they are a little better than their W/L record. However, a lot of blown saves end up as 1-run losses, so proper management of the bullpen will be critical in the second half.

mth123
07-14-2011, 11:13 AM
Nice thread. I think the basic difference between this year and last year is Bronson Arroyo.

Last year Leake and Wood took turns putting up TOR perfromances for a couple months, this year Cueto has filled that role. Meanwhile, last year's Cueto is this year's Leake. The major difference for me has been Bronson Arroyo of 2010 was probably 3 or so wins better to this point (no Math just educated guess there) than Bronson Arroyo of 2011. Other than that its been most things going right in 2010 and a lot of things going wrong in 2011. IMO, both teams are mid to high 80's win teams with this one more in the 85 to 86 range and last year more an 88 to 89 win type. The ups and downs kind of offset with it boiling down to the difference in Arroyo's performance. The problem, IMO, is that niether team is/was what I would consider a Championship caliber group. If Arroyo bounces back, they probably still win the Division, but they still need another effective starter and somebody to offset Rolen's decline in the middle of the line-up to be more than a pretender in the post-season.

kaldaniels
07-14-2011, 11:53 AM
One look at the team pitching stats answers the question posed.

oneupper
07-14-2011, 12:23 PM
The REDS lead the league in Caught Stealing.
Ex. Drew Stubbs they are 32-25 in SB/CS (that's a very poor 56%).
Giving up outs leads to fewer runs, sometimes when you needed them.

Homer Bailey
07-14-2011, 12:36 PM
The REDS lead the league in Caught Stealing.
Ex. Drew Stubbs they are 32-25 in SB/CS (that's a very poor 56%).
Giving up outs leads to fewer runs, sometimes when you needed them.

Per fangraphs (http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=all&lg=nl&stats=bat&type=8&season=2011&month=0&season1=), the Reds are the best baserunning team in the NL.

mth123
07-14-2011, 12:42 PM
Per fangraphs (http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=all&lg=nl&stats=bat&type=8&season=2011&month=0&season1=), the Reds are the best baserunning team in the NL.

They said they'd be the best pitching team as well. That site has lots of nice data. They are lacking on interpretation of that data IMO.The reds are horrid on the bases.

RedsManRick
07-14-2011, 12:44 PM
Yep. We can point out individual players if we want to and sure, everybody has contributed to our record in some way. We can point out that run prevention has been poor and run creation strong. But at the aggregate level, the Reds have played as well or better than the other teams in the Central. However, their timing has stunk.

Generally speaking, a team's record in 1 run games is not predictive and should be expected to regress to .500. Surprisingly perhaps, that holds just as true for great teams as crappy ones. In other words, the Reds are not a team that blows close games. They are a team that has blown a lot of close games.

I'm actually surprised there hasn't been more talk about Bronson Arroyo's historic season in the making. He has allowed 25 HR in 108 IP across 18 starts. That's over 2 HR per 9 IP vs a league average of 0.9. Only 5 qualified pitchers in MLB have a HR/9 north of 1.4! From the historical perspective, there have been only 22 pitcher-seasons with 40+ HRs allowed, with just one of those, Milton's 40 in 2005, coming from a Red. Arroyo is on pace for 46 if he makes 33 starts, a total which would tie him for 3rd place all-time and in striking distance of Bert Blyleven's all-time record of 50. 3 of the 4 46+ HR seasons required at least 265 IP. Arroyo is on pace to fall just short of 200, barely eclipsing Jose Lima's incredible 48 HR in 196.1 IP performance in 2000, the height of the "juiced" era.

Though extreme performances like this are bound to regress over-time, I'd say Arroyo has a pretty healthy chance of eclipsing Milton. If he continued to give us 6 IP per start over 15 more starts (likely unless he is injured) and simply allowed HR at his average rate during his time as a Red, he'd give up 13 more bombs, leaving him with 38. So if we have any reason to believe he's not quite up to his normal skill level this year, 40 is a very realistic possibility.

The Voice of IH
07-14-2011, 12:48 PM
What people who want to bash the Reds don't want to tell is the Reds are a good baseball team. They have failed at winning close/extra inning games. I have full confidence that the second half will prove the Reds is a playoff team, and could easily win the division by four or five games this year.

blumj
07-14-2011, 01:04 PM
Per fangraphs (http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=all&lg=nl&stats=bat&type=8&season=2011&month=0&season1=), the Reds are the best baserunning team in the NL.
BSR is non-SB and CS baserunning, those were included already in wOBA. I think it would be more useful to have one all baserunning stat, but it's not that way now.