Re: Is the pitching a coincidence?
I don't know how to quantify the effect of good defense on pitching. It stands to reason that with fewer fly balls falling in for hits instead of being run down as outs, the pitching numbers would improve. I don't know how to evaluate it objectively other than with large samples over the course of two successive seasons. Even then, it could be argued that any gain in pitching proficiency was attributable to improved command and not better defense. At the end of the season I will attempt to provide a statistical treatment. That will still be a small sample, but it will provide fodder for discussion over the winter months when there is little else to post.
Just looking at the magnitude of the differences, my sense is that the pitching numbers might be significant and that runs scored would show no difference. From the pitching perspective, I would like to contrast H/9 and K/9 differences. Without looking at the numbers I would submit that the former is lower and the latter is about the same. This, however, remains to be seen. It would provide some indication as to how pitchers are now getting outs.
As for hitting, I don't recall anyone on the board arguing that run production would go up without Dunn (or Griffey). I do recall some arguing that it would go down. Further, some on the board have commented that some hitters are going opposite field more often as opposed to trying to pull for power. Thus, any change in offensive production would be interesting to discuss. At this early stage it appears that the offense has not suffered.
I don't think the combined pitching/hitting/defense effect has been mentioned, but runs the scored/runs allowed differential has changed sense mid August as well. At the time of the trade, the Reds were -100. Now they are -83. Thus, they have gone from a differential of -.84 runs per game to +.53 per game. Again, let's check in at the end of the season to see if the difference is significant.