This has been brewing in Felger’s brain for months now. I can just smell it, and it’s magnificent. He. Can’t. Handle. Being. Proven. Wrong.
It all stems back from this pissing contest on May 18 of this year:
I do a radio spot with Zolak and Bertrand every week, and Bertrand hates, HATES, when I use from date X to date Y, the player has done Z. I’ve used this method of explaining trends with David Price a lot this year, and also with Rick Porcello, as seen above. It’s something that I’ll use with pretty much any player if it helps illustrate a point. It drives these media people CRAZY, though, because they’d rather just look at the overall numbers for the entire year, and say that this is what the player is. Indisputable. Well, that’s not true.
In their minds, it’s almost like a player can’t turn their season around, and if they do, we’re not supposed to talk about it. How in the fuck does that make any sense? Watch, I’ll do it right now. David Price is 15-8 this year with a 3.87 ERA. That’s actually pretty good as it stands, so I don’t even have to do the “since” thing with him anymore. But I’ve been using the May 12 marker for him, because that’s when Dustin Pedroia found a flaw in Price’s mechanics.
Overall, Price is 21st in the American League in ERA. Since May 12, he’s sixth. You’re not saying his first seven starts of the year don’t count. They most certainly do. You’re saying that over his last 23 starts, which is the much larger sample size, he’s been one of the best starters in the American League, further making my point that just looking at the overall numbers year by year doesn’t tell the whole story. There are peaks and valleys throughout the course of a season, and being able to illustrate those is important in order to tell the whole story.
Same thing with Rick Porcello. Felger wanted everybody to panic after Porcello gave up 5 runs (4 earned) in his May 17 start in Kansas City. When I said, “It was one bad start,” I meant that it was quite literally one bad start. Even after that poor outing, Porcello’s ERA was 3.51, and then I referenced that since Porcello came off the disabled list in August of 2015, he had an ERA of 3.31 after that May 17 start. Felger thinks you can’t just “draw lines” to fit your argument. It’s different when you draw lines for no reason. In the case of Price, the line was drawn where a mechanical flaw was brought to his attention, and with Porcello, the line was drawn where he was actually healthy again. Seems logical enough to me.
But since Felger and Mazz were talking about Pomeranz when they were trying to pull a Carrabis yesterday, let’s look at that one. For me, I think it’s more than fine to look at trends in baseball. The season is way too long to just say, these are his numbers for the season, so this is what he is. Where you can get mocked is when you pull out a start here and a start there, and try to say that this is what the pitcher is if you take out his bad starts, like Felger was saying. The whole, “If you take out the bad games, he has good numbers,” argument isn’t the best route to take. That’s different from looking at trends, which is what I do. But in the case of Pomeranz, he has a 3.97 ERA with the Red Sox in 10 starts. Does it feel like he’s been a 4 ERA guy to you since joining the Red Sox? No, he’s pitched much better than that.
In his first start with the Red Sox, he gave up 5 earned runs in 3 innings. So, SINCE that outing, AKA over his last nine starts, Pomeranz has a 3.35 ERA. That’s a much better representation of what Pomeranz has actually been during his brief Red Sox tenure. You’re not removing a bad start that’s awkwardly placed right in the middle of a solid run. You’re looking at a trend. He sucked in his first start in Boston, but look what he’s done since! You can’t do that? Of course you can, as long as you also recognize what the player was before the positive trend occurred that you’re highlighting.
I know you guys get it. I’m just getting it all out, because it’s bad for my health to keep this all in. This blog has been therapeutic for me. Shouts to the Stoolies for letting me vent. Preciate you.