There’s Nothing Like A Well-Pitched Anomaly

Thanks to Ted Lilly and Jason Marquis, the Cubs have gotten two great starts in three games. How great was it for those guys? According to Bill James’ formula for starting pitchers’ Game Scores, Lilly’s Cub debut on Wednesday—7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9 K and just 1 BB--earned a score of 75. In Ted Lilly’s world, that’s not just good, it’s not just very good, it’s three-years-and-63-starts good. Yes, it was all the way back in 2004, August 23rd to be exact, when Lilly threw a three-hit complete game shutout at the Red Sox, that the lefty last tallied a Game Score as high as, or higher than, Wednesday night’s. As for Marquis, his effort on Thursday—6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 K and 2 BB—amounted to a Game Score of 62. Nice, but hardly a number for the ages. Still, it was better than the righthander did in any of his last 12 starts with the Cards in ’06, when Marquis had the lowest average Game Score in the National League (42.79) and had the league's two lowest single-game scores, including a harrowing -11 against the White Sox in June. Another thing that struck me going through his career numbers was how frequently Marquis throws low-strikeout, low-walk games like Thursday’s. Ten times last year, he pitched six or more innings while striking out four or fewer hitters and walking two or fewer. He pulled off the trick ten times in ’05. As others have pointed out, Marquis doesn’t miss many bats. So he’s going to have to keep the ball on the ground and get lots of help from his defense if we’re going to see many starts like Thursday’s. (In case you're wondering, the highest Game Score recorded last season in the National League was a 92 by our very own Rich Hill against the Reds in September: 9 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 10 K, 1 BB.)
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Comments

And will you be similarly parsing the miserable effort later in the game (by the bullpen & committee) as the "worst since..." using comparable Bill James formula for suckage?

The start of this season is shades of 2004. Two quality starts, but only one victory to show for it. Like I've been saying for weeks, this Cub bullpen IS cause for concern. Scott Eyre isn't the same pitcher for early last year. Neal Cotts sucks. Wil Ohlman and Michael Wuertz are iffy at best. Ryan Dumpster is an ulcer creator.

And, the defense is already letting us down. Surprise, surprise.

I'm looking through my Bill James 2007 Handbook right now.

Suckage Formula is nowhere to be found.

I agree with you on Eyre and Cotts. I think Ohman has been pretty solid and I have hope for Wuertz. Also, I'm hoping that the scolding Dempster received from Lou Wednesday night will carry him for at least a couple months.

"Well Pitched Anomaly"... lmao

I'm very encouraged by Marquis' outing... but... his "whoops-i-just-threw-a-ball" dance where he spins around is going to quietly annoy me all season. It's weird, I don't mind, for example, Jacque's bat flip... in fact I rather like the flip, I just didn't like the spinning by Marquis. It looks fruity.

I think the bullpen will be a revolving door this season. Bullpen arms are always a crapshoot. Hendry was able to get a good return on Howry and Eyre in 2006, but what about 2007??? Dumpster is always going to be a question mark. The guy mostly throws slop. When he walks guys it's usually the case that his slop isn't so good that day and he doesn't dare put that slop right over the plate, for fear of giving up monster shots. Wuertz is overrated by Cub fans. He's nothing more than the next Todd Wellemeyer or Sergio Mitre.

Rocky Cherry is going to get a shot with this ballclub before you know it.

ST:

Wuertz is overrated by Cub fans. He’s nothing more than the next Todd Wellemeyer or Sergio Mitre.

Bah... I disagree. He's just misunderstood. He's what you call a right-handed specialist. As soon as he get's a pitch to throw to lefties (and he's been throwing a changeup with good movement in ST, btw), he'll be a legitiment big league reliever.

Very interesting interview w/Colangelo on Mike North show, podcast posted: Click Here

After the financial mess the D-Backs got into, I wonder if Colangelo would get much support from fellow owners. (Haven't heard the interview; perhaps they addressed this.)

I was trying to find a word to describe how I felt about the way Lilly and Marquis pitched the past couple of days. Congrats Cubnut, you've found it.

Anomaly. That's precisely what I was looking for.

Maybe Lilly will benefit from coming to the new league.

Maybe Marquis will learn voodoo.

Daisuke pitches well. Lost in the story is Greinke's performance. Holding a KC lineup to:
Daisuke 6 H, 1 ER, 10 K, 1 B, 1 HR

is one thing, but holding a Bosox lineup to:
Greinke 8 H, 1 ER, 7 K, 1 BB, 0 HR

is yet a very different thing.

I remember picking up an issue of Baseball America about 5 years ago right after Zach Greinke was drafted and it said that he would be the 2006 Cy Young winner for the Royals.

Nailed that one.

Wasn't Kerry Wood's 20k game against the 'stros in '98 the highest or second highest "game score" game of all time?

Isn't it fun to watch the reactionaries flip out over minor events that happen during the first few games of a season?

Murton strikes out a few times on opening day, therefore he can't be a natural #2 hitter.

Barrett allows a passed ball and commits interference (on a hitter who drew interference 4 times last year), so clearly Hank Blanco is the better option.

And while were at it, the entire Cubs defense is clearly letting us down. Nevermind the fact that the Cubs didn't commit an error on a batted ball during the first series. I guess we must still be looking at the "bubble gum stats" from the games that didn't count to come up with that conclusion.

The bullpen blows a one run lead after Howry and Eyre give up a combined 3 earned runs, thus it is proof that the pen is a weakness. Nevermind that no one else on the pen has given up a run, and the bullpen as a whole has a "horrific" ERA of 3.86.

But you know, the cubs are just 1-2, clearly they will finish the season with a 54-108 record. At least we know the Astros and Cardinals will both finish the year going 0-162. Go Sample Size!

Great comment bleeding blue. I'm off to my mum's basement.

Bleeding Blue:

Isn’t it fun to watch the reactionaries flip out over minor events that happen during the first few games of a season?

Just wait until the Cub's can't get anything going against Bush tonight. I'm sure by then our offense will be "crap".

Bush, btw, fastball up to 92, with decent life. Tight curve which he throws for strieks, pretty good changeup, used on lefties (sorry Jacque. more ks). He'll be around the zone all night, btw, so while base-on-balls are great, but I hope hitters aren't expecting too many of those tonight.

Believe it or not, I think this will be the best pitching matchup and best pitched game of the series. I'm stoked.

Isn’t it fun to watch the reactionaries flip out over minor events that happen during the first few games of a season?Murton strikes out a few times on opening day, therefore he can’t be a natural #2 hitter.
Nobody said that. Good grief! You have to be the most sarcastic poster on TCR, yet you can't tell when someone else is being flip??
What is the point in purposely misstating and misinterpretting what I said about Murton? It makes no sense because your point about people jumping to negative conclusions based on just a few games is the same one I made here at TCR just hours ago!

Using the same fractured rhetoric you just used, we can conclude that you believe that Murton may just be A NATURAL #2 based on the observation that he struck out three times in one game..
But, It's not a case of Murton striking out three times: therefore he cannot be a number two, it's a case where he's just not a natural in the same way I already know that Theriot is not a NATURAL outfielder but is a natural second baseman. It's a spot in the lineup in which, maybe for good reason, Murt has not been used much in the major leagues.... if at any level.... and it showed. That doesn't mean I don't believe he isn't a good hitter, he's absolutely one of my favorites in that regard. And he's smart. And he's shown that he can adapt. The only question is, how long it will take.

'nuff said
just too stupid here lately

Well said Bleeding Blue........nothing like 'panic button pushers' predicting doom and gloom for the Cubs in '07. Hell, some of them even carry BBWAA membership cards which is a hell of an anomolay. I've asked this question a number of times on this board, and I've yet to get an answer: who REALLY scares you in the NL Central and WHY? I'm going to watch the first 20-30 games and see what Lou does with what he sees before I head to the cliff facing southeast with a 50 mph wind from the northwest blowing behind me.

FARNS update: his head is freshly shaved and he's sporting glasses. (Did someone say Wild Thing?)

Girardi was doing the color on the YES broadcast last night, and he mentioned the first time he got to catch Farnsworth, which was in an intra-squad game in AZ.

"Curve call coming; watch out," Farns said to the Cub batter.

Girardi said on the broadcast, "All I remember thinking was 'curve ball'? Shouldn't that be tailing away from the batter?"

Too funny...

nothing like ‘panic button pushers’ predicting doom and gloom for the Cubs in ‘07.
who are you talking about? For instance,
I predicted the Cubs would win 87 games
bleedingblue predicted only 86 wins

and you?

Off topic: Something I've always wondered... does light rain favor a pitcher or batter?

Sorry CWTP, I didn't mean to take aim at you if you were making a sarcastic statement. I didn't look back to see who made it, I just remembered the statement and ensuing comments about it.

BTW, I actually do think that Murton is naturally a perfect fit for the #2 spot based on the kind of hitter he has shown himself to be during his time in the majors.

Opening Day for the minor leagues last night.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Iowa Cubs lose 6-2 at Round Rock (HOU), and Sean Gallagher outduels #3 Dodgers prospect LHP Scott Elbert (6 IP with 9 K) at Jacksonville 3-1.

In the Iowa game,

LF Angel Pagan (hitting lead-off) - 1-4 with 2 K
2B Eric Patterson (batting 2nd) - 1-4 with a K
CF Felix Pie (batting 3rd) - 2-4 (two infield singles) with a K,
1B Micah Hoffpauir (batting 4th) - 1-4 with RBI,
RF Buck Coats (batting 6th) - 1-2 with two BB and an OF assist
3B Scott Moore (batting 7th) - 0-3 with a BB and a K
SS Mike Fontenot (batting 8th) - 1-3 with an RBI and a BB.

LHP J. R. Mathes (starting pitcher) - 4 IP, 4 H, 5 R (5 ER), 4 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, WP, 76 pitches (41 strikes), 8/0 GB/FB (L 0-1)
RHP Federico Baez - 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, 35 pitches (16 strikes), 2/2 GB/FB

In the Tenn game,

1B Brian Dopirak - 2-3 with a BB
LF Jake Fox - 0-4 (4 K) + dropped fly ball (E-7)

RHP Sean Gallagher (starting pitcher) - 5.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 GIDP, 8/4 GB/FB (W 1-0)
LHP Carmen Pignatiello - 2 IP, six up, six down, 2 K
RHP Adalberto Mendez - 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR (Save 1)

Also, Daytona beat Brevard County 8-3 as Tyler Colvin went 2-3 with a SB and a K, and LHP Mitch Atkins got the win with 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 BB, 4 K, and a HR.

Peoria beat Wisconsin 9-5, as RHP Billy Muldowney got the victory, going 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R (3 ER), with 0 BB and 9 K, and a WP. LHP Jeremy Papelbon threw one inning (three up and three down) with 2 K.

Good article on Steve Stone's interest in the Cubs. Doesn't look like he wants to or can buy the Cubs.

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/deluca/330389,...

CWTP,

Mostly our main panic button pusher - ST. I mean... really.....it is a long season, and naive to assume our 'suckage' is any worse than the other 'contenders' in the NL Central.

Arizona Phil - Thanks for the recap of the Iowa Cubs and Smokies action from yesterday. Rough start for Jake Fox (dropped fly ball in LF and 4 Ks) ... guess he's not a candidate to be the late inning defensive replacement for Floyd anytime soon.

fontenot playing SS...poor guy.

wonder if theriot left one of his old LSU gloves around or something...

batting 8th in AAA, too...burn. not getting any younger..

thanks for the minor-league update, AZ Phil.

Carmen Pignatiello's 6 up, 6 down yesterday reminded me that I thought he looked good in ST, better maybe than a couple of lefty relievers who made the team.

I noticed the other day that Pignatiello's numbers at West Tenn last year were somewhat reminiscent of Rich Hill's stint at West Tenn a year earlier.

Pignatiello: 60.1 innings, 52 h, 18 er, 19 bb, 74 so
Hill: 57.2 innings, 42 h, 21 er, 21 bb, 90 so

In ST, Pignatiello had given up one hit in five innings before the White Sox got to him for a run (on two hits and a walk) in the bottom of the ninth.

I'm not sure Lou was paying much attention to him, though. He doesn't light up the radar gun, but that's not always a big deal with a lefty.

*Good article on Steve Stone’s interest in the Cubs. Doesn’t look like he wants to or can buy the Cubs.*

It would be just too sweet if Stone was hired as GM by the new ownership group. Or President--then he could actually fire Hendry instead of just replacing him. Karma. Dig it.

VIRGINIA PHIL: Carmen Pignatiello pitched very well in the AFL last Fall, he looked good in ST, and the I-Cubs have only one lefty reliever (Clay Rapada). Why Oneri Fleita decided to send Piggy to AA and keep four veteran 4-A type right-handed relievers (Ben Howard, John Webb, Hector Almonte, and Cory Bailey) at Iowa is a mystery to me.

Normally the minor league pipeline pushes downward, but in Piggy's case, it could push upward, especially with the seemingly obvious need for a second lefty in the pen at Iowa. The Tennessee bullpen is pretty weak right now, but once RHP Mike Phelps is healthy and ready to pitch, he should replace Pignatiello as the #1 set-up guy at AA, and then Pignatiello should get moved up to AAA.

If Wood, Prior, Marshall, Novoa, and Mateo are all activated from the DL at some point, and presuming Guzman is sent down to make room for Wood, and presuming Pignatiello is moved up to AAA, that would mean all four of the veteran RHPs now in the bullpen at Iowa (as well as Les Walrond) will likely get released, J. R. Mathes will probably get sent back to AA, and the I-Cubs staff should eventually look like this:

* throws lefty

STARTING ROTATION:
Angel Guzman
Mark Prior
* Sean Marshall
Juan Mateo
* Ryan O'Malley

BULLPEN:
Rocky Cherry (closer)
Carlos Marmol
Roberto Novoa
* Clay Rapada
Randy Wells
* Carmen Pignatiello
Federico Baez

if I have time for a Friday Notes I'll mention it, but thought everyone should know that Christian is a Dad again.

http://www.cruzich.com/2007/04/genevieve.html

Stop by and say congrats....

http://mvn.com/mlb-roundtable/2007/04/06/mvn-...

more dumb-ass predictions from yours truly, damn I wish they'd stop asking me for these.

Sosa managed a single off Wakefield, 1st RBI I believe...

If people are interested or haven't seen it, here's a link for the MLB baseball blackout map.

http://stategis.blogspot.com/2006/07/major-le...

Thanks for the heads-up, Rob!

I hadn't seen that map before. Thanks Bryan!

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20070...

"It was Resin, damnit....RESIN!!"

(actually I believe him, I don't know what else would leave a white residue like that.)

"(actually I believe him, I don’t know what else would leave a white residue like that.)"

Putting Resin on the ball is still against the rules, right?

http://www.zumsteg.net/cheatersguide/2007/04/...

hey, if you pinch-hit for the DH, don't you lose the DH? Doesn't the pitcher have to hit the next time?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Texas just pinch-hit for Catalanotto in the bottom of the 8th in a 2-0 game. Chances are the spot won't come up again, but is that the rule?

Some funny details on that blackout map. In southern Nevada, you get six teams blacked out - Dodgers, Angels, D'Backs, Padres, A's and Giants. But in remotest central Nevada, they apparently have decided no one would be a Dodgers or Angels fan, so it's just the other four.

You can pinch hit for the DH without losing it, as long as the DH doesn't take the field.

WSux vs. Twinkies night game called this afternoon on account of it's going to be cold out there (predicted lo of 23 degrees)...bunch of Woosies.

I say they play wiffleball instead.

If I'm reading this correctly, if you can pinch hit the dh .

Wikipedia-
"The designated hitter may not play a field position and he may only be replaced by another player not currently in the lineup. However, the designated hitter may change positions to become a position player at any point during the game. However, if he does so, his team forfeits the role of the designated hitter. Thus, the pitcher or a pinch hitter must bat in the newly-opened spot in the batting order. The designated hitter could also become the pitcher, in which case the pitcher or a pinch hitter must hit when that spot in the batting order comes up again".

thnx for the DH info....

DH.

Agree or disagree with this statement:

The DH is the worst thing in baseball and possibly all of sports.

Agreed, it bastardized a game that was pretty much the same for 100 years.

Charley O'Finley should be dug up and kicked for it.

disagree...

if teams let their pitchers practice hitting, I'd be much more against it, but pitchers right now are a useless waste of a lineup spot that provide nothing more than an "oh my gosh" factor when they happen to get a hit.

Sad part is most of them could hit if they worked on it....

and there's far worse things in baseball and sports, come on....

"Sad part is most of them could hit if they worked on it…."

Gotta disagree with you here. It's my firm belief that these guys can't hit, cause simply they are not good hitters. If at a young age they never developed the pitching skill they have, they would have never made the big leagues.

Of course this does not go for all pitchers. Maddux, Hampton, Marquis and such may have been good hitters, but for the most part they were never going to be good.

"and there’s far worse things in baseball and sports, come on…."

Let's discuss.

JACOS: Don't blame Charlie Finley.

At the Winter Meetings after the 1928 season, N. L. President John Heydler proposed that MLB implement the "Designated Pinch Hitter," and National League owners approved it, but because American League owners rejected it, it was not implemented at the time.

The idea of a Designated Pinch Hitter actually goes back to the early, early days of baseball, back to the 19th Century. Connie Mack (the original owner of the Athletics franchise Charlie Finley would one day acquire) was an advocate of the "DPH."

I personally don't care one way or the other about the DH, just so it's the same in both leagues. But if there is a DH, there should be a rule that a team can't use the same player as the DH two games in a row.

The AL doesn't even actually play baseball.

Rule #1 from the offical MLB rulebook:

1.01
Baseball is a game between two teams of NINE players each, under direction of a manager, played on an enclosed field in accordance with these rules, under jurisdiction of one or more umpires.

So how can some teams play by the rules, but 14 teams get to play with 10 guys?? It should be banished and is a stupid rule

the DH bores me to tears.

the amount of strategy it takes from both sides of the games...

its a SABR lover's dream, though...you get closer to the true individual vs. individual matchups that a lot of those projections base their existance on. putting instances in a vacuum...ignoring certain aspects of how lineup construction effects what the person in front or behind a weak hitting pitcher (aka, all of them) can do to a person's ob%, hits, chances for scoring/rbi, etc.

its just too linear and incomplete for me...lacks strategy...the biggest decision a manager has to make in-game besides the lineup is when/who to sub in out of the pen for most games.

Always been a bit of preference from everybody I've been around. I think big league pitchers can't hit because every A and AA team uses a DH to the best of my knowledge. I know Iowa has the pitcher bat.

A good portion of college pitchers can hit, play multiple positions, etc. A lot of these kids could hit in college (still a far cry from digging in against a big leaguer, I know). They don't hit at all for a couple of years in the minors and they're overwhelmed when they get to the big leagues. If they got to hit every night when they were in A ball and AA, they would certainly be better than they are. Not saying they'd hit .280 or anything, but they wouldn't be 3-36 or whatever Rich Hill is.

there are few things funnier than a pitcher taking BP...

actually, there are a lot things funnier...but its still funny.

i could watch a 30-minute "best of" reel of randy johnson swinging a bat and label that comedy f'sure.

"its a SABR lover’s dream, though…you get closer to the true individual vs. individual matchups that a lot of those projections base their existance on"

well, since I have been labeled one of those irrational SABR lovers by you and some others because I like to look at stats..................I hate the DH, so I have no idea what you are talking about

well, what im talking about is...

"you get closer to the true individual vs. individual matchups that a lot of those projections base their existance on”"

love or hate the DH has little to do with it.

Wes — April 6, 2007 @ 4:06 pm
Always been a bit of preference from everybody I’ve been around. I think big league pitchers can’t hit because every A and AA team uses a DH to the best of my knowledge. I know Iowa has the pitcher bat.

===============================

WES: All Class "A" leagues use the DH, but AA and AAA leagues only uses the DH when the game is in the home park of an American League affiliate.

Because seven of the ten teams in the Southern League are N. L. affiliates, the Tennessee Smokies (the Cubs AA affiliate) will rarely use the DH, and because 11 of the 16 teams in the PCL are N. L. affiliates, the Iowa Cubs rarely use it either.

a lot of math based baseball people point to, and champion, the fact that its "easier" to play with math-wise because of the individual-to-individual matchups when determining a lot of calculations/comparisons.

you can have jason schmidt vs. barry bonds...but when ray durham is backing up barry bonds...i wouldnt exactly put much weight into how barry earned his probable walk or saw X-many pitches because of the person(s) surrounding them.

etc etc...championing individual matchups just works better when everyone is CLOSER to being equally matched skill-wise...such as in an AL lineup with the DH.

O/T, but there is a basketball rule that I have always hated.

"Fouling Out."

Absolutely stupid.

Whoever came up with that rule should rot in hell for most of the first half of eternity.

A better way to do it would be this:

When a college player commits his fifth foul or an NBA player commits his 6th foul, his coach has the option to have the player permanently removed from the game, or, the player gets to remain in the game, but the opposing team gets two shots AND the ball back. Same thing (two shots and the ball back) for each additional foul committed by the offending player.

Fans have the right to see the best players play, and shouldn't have to watch them sit on the bench for most of the first half of a game just because they commit a couple of early fouls (see recent Ohio State-Florida NCAA Championship Game).

interesting thought Phil. But i like the foul out rule as it lends itself to more scoring and less physical defense.

I don't care which way you go, but I think the NL is a better brand of baseball because there is no DH...it simply adds a little more strategy. I agree with AZPhil, just make it uniform for both leagues. However, one factor of eliminating the DH would be drastically cutting down the ~enter slang for female genitalia~ starters like Clemens and Pete Martinez from headhunting if they knew they'd be hitting the next inning. Since Clemens has been with HOU I've noticed a lot less pitching up and in since his move to the NL. Not that there's anything wrong with pitching up and in, just talking about the Piazza and A-Rod helmet beaning type pitching up and in when a hitter has a career .400+ avg against him.

artificial turf/turfgrass?

Domed Football Stadiums?

Saving all your timeouts at the end of a basketball game/Continous Fouls to extend the game?
It should be a limit of one full and one 20 second timeout for each team the last minute and any fouls past a 6 pt lead should be 3 foul shots.

12-man specialized bullpens?
Go back to the 2-3 inning relief ace.

Random ballpark nuances that have no reason to be there other than the nostalgia factor?
The hill and flag pole at Minute Maid for example

Dusty Baker (just kidding)

and yeah, I came up with most of those solutions out of my ass but the stuff bugs me.

i go to a lot of minor league games, so i guess the most annoying at-game aspect besides finding out you're surrounded by 2-3 boyscout troops who could care less that they're there is the dreaded, awful, and pointless "wave".

sigh...the wave...*shudder*

a lot of pitchers were 2-way stars in college and high school, they could hit better if they worked on it.

Some would still suck, but how much more exciting when you have a pitcher up there who can hit a bit? 3 of the 4 days they don't pitch, they do NOTHING, let them swing a bat. Chances of them getting hurt are so goddamn slim, it's completely worth it.

Thanks for the clarification, AZ Phil.

sigh…the wave…*shudder*

LOL! Really funny, CRUNCH.

You are REALLY a Chicago guy @ heart.

If I could eliminate astroturf or the DH, I would choose the DH.

Thankfully, Astro Turf is dying. And with the opening of the new University of Phoenix stadium, even indoor stadiums can have natural grass.

Not to be a dick about it, Cubnut, because I thought this was an interesting piece, but I think you left out Marquis' walks and his strikeout in your game score calculation - I think the correct number is 59, not 62. The three points changes your point about where it fits into his starts last year, though it's still a pretty good start for him.

Vladimir--

You're right. Should have been a 59.

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