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  1. love your articles jeff, thanks; and you post almost every day! life is good.

    Comment by brendan — October 29, 2012 @ 7:04 pm

  2. Ironic that the Giants won yesterday in Football & Baseball and Romo was the clincher in both games.

    Comment by JS7 — October 29, 2012 @ 7:11 pm

  3. Somewhere out there Miguel Cabrera is still looking at that thrid called strike.

    Comment by Shrewd Cat — October 29, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

  4. Nice comparison to Stephen Drew. Left me wondering, though, who was the most similar individual pitcher?

    Comment by Julian — October 29, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  5. Just a few thoughts:

    Pitchers on average are getting progressively bigger, stronger, have higher velocities and have better pitches at their disposal such as the cutter. That’s part of run prevention.

    Do you think some teams are getting more savvy at analyzing defensive metrics and figuring out how to suppress BABIP with them? I know the Giants have installed a defensive data collection system in their stadium. Wonder what they are doing with that info? Across the bay, Billy Beane is most likely busy acquiring elite defensive OF’s for a reason.

    Then we have the weather conditions in the fall. Last night’s game conditions bordered on the ridiculous. Yes, it favored flyballs hit to RF but had to suppress just about every other form of offense.

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — October 29, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

  6. Rename Hurricane Sandy to “A-Rod” and then it won’t hit anything.

    Comment by JS7 — October 29, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  7. Perhaps the weather is the reason Selig insists on having the World Series run to, and sometimes through, Halloween.

    Rather than play in actual baseball weather, he’s a fan of these weird run-suppressing near-Arctic conditions.

    Comment by Guest — October 29, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

  8. The 6 runs Detroit scored in the World Series were the fewest by any team in 46 years.

    Comment by Lukehart80 — October 29, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

  9. Ah, that would be the 1966 World Series when the Baltimore Orioles held the Dodgers to 2 runs. Remember it well!

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — October 29, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  10. With baseball done for the year, I can’t bring myself to agree that life is good: however, thanks to Jeff, it’s better than it would otherwise be, at last.

    Sigh. (and thanks!)

    Comment by wiggly — October 29, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

  11. (Beavis voice): heh, heh, heh, you’re old.

    Comment by joe — October 29, 2012 @ 11:20 pm

  12. No clue if they did anything with it or not, but they played incredible defense. They always seemed to be exactly where they needed to be.

    Or maybe I’m just biased. As a Tigers fan, it’s been awhile since I’ve known what good defense is, but man was I blown away by it

    Comment by Kevin — October 29, 2012 @ 11:25 pm

  13. It’s not like the Giants slaughtered the Tigers, even if 4-0 is as one-sided as you can get in terms of results. In the last three games, a little different result in play here and there could have had the Tigers up 3-1. These games played well to the Giant’s strengths, but play the series over again and they might not. They just happened to do so over these four games.

    There is always a lot of results-based analysis that goes on after a short series, which I think explains something other than what it purports to do. The Giants didn’t win the World Series because of their depth, they were a good team and got to the World Series because of their depth, just as the Tigers got to the Series because of their starting pitching and their 3-4 mashers. Once there, anything can happen and usually does.

    Comment by PackBob — October 30, 2012 @ 1:04 am

  14. Baseball Between the Numbers had a piece by Nate Silver and Dayn Perry about the correlations between pitching, defense, opponents’ BA, and championships. Among other things it discussed the nonlinear nature of offense and the ability of good pitching and defense to stop rallies and stunt even a robust offense. While the study seems eerily relevant to this particular year, this might be the first Fall Classic in a while to actually be a good example of this. Thoughts?

    Comment by Eugene Jacket — October 30, 2012 @ 1:14 am

  15. The 2011 Cardinals and 2009 Yankees scoff at your short memory. A team with good pitching and defense is still at the mercy of a lineup stacked with big S.O.B.s who hit the hell out of the ball.

    A six-month grind of a season is decided by a few best-of-five and best-of-seven series. Invitations to these series are determined primarly by geography and the unfair silliness of unbalanced schedules and divisional play. To make things more like a soccer-league-for-five-year-olds, everybody wins – hence the expansion of the wildcard.

    The result of the MLB postseason is a bunch of good but not great teams enter the pot, and so a good but not great team might get hot at the right moment and prevail. Twenty-five years from now I suspect people who aren’t Giants fans will look back at the 2010 and 2012 champions and wonder what the fuck went wrong with baseball during those years.

    The 2012 version of the Giants was a team that did a helluva job scoring runs in spite of playing their home games in a bastard of a park. Their pitching and defense was above average, but nothing spectacular. They were a team with a good balance, which is probably the mark of all championship teams. But the narrative that the 2012 Giants were a weak hitting but pitching-and-defense juggernaut is simply false. Their ace was pretty pedestrian in the postseason, their second-best pitcher and two-time Cy Young Award winner was exiled to the bullpen, and their most effective starters were a 35-year-old career minor leaguer and a 34-year-old dude from Vegas who should be imprisoned for grand theft. And defensively, the Giants were nothing spectacular. Brandon Crawford looks great when his peers are Jhonny Peralta and Pete Kozma, but Ozzie Smith he is not.

    Comment by GMH — October 30, 2012 @ 3:38 am

  16. I think this is just a factor of small sample size and the inherent luck aspect of the postseason. There are the equivalent of 5 days’ worth of regular season games played in the postseason, and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were 5 day stretches in the regular season where the league-wide ERA was both under 3 and over 5. The playoffs aren’t an ideal way to decide the best team in baseball, for that exact reason. The WC format makes the playoffs far more exciting, but also opens the door for teams like the 2011 cards and 2012 Giants to get hot at the right time and win it all.

    Comment by Gerry — October 30, 2012 @ 6:28 am

  17. Era is not really a good stat for this postseason, as it felt like there were a lot of unearned runs (didn’t the giants score like 12?) what was the RA of the postseason?

    Comment by Will — October 30, 2012 @ 8:35 am

  18. Correct. Three straight shutouts, that’s pretty wild. I researched and listed the lowest run scoring performances in World Series history:

    The Tigers are way up there. No other team in the last twenty years scored fewer than 9 runs. 9 is also the number scored by the 1918 Red Sox, which is the record for fewest runs by a WINNING team.

    Comment by Lukehart80 — October 30, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

  19. The playoffs are definitely not any way, let alone the best, to determine who is the best team in baseball. Most seasons, there really isn’t a best team, just a bunch of very good ones. (1908 Cubs, with the best winning percentage ever and the World Series winner to boot, were a rare exception.)
    The playoffs determine the Champion, not the best team, just as in any other sport at any level. The Champion is often very clearly not the best team, including this season in the MLB.

    Comment by Baltar — October 30, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  20. Sounds like you just didn’t like the outcome of the world series. How can you possibly discredit the Giants pitching? Both the starting pitching and the bullpen were lights out. It’s hard enough to sweep a 3 game series in the regular season against a good team let alone win 3 straight against the Cardinals, then follow it up with a 4 game sweep against the AL champs. 4 of those 7 games were shutouts handed to teams that simply don’t get shutout very often at all. You should actually watch a few Giants games both in the postseason and regular season to see how good this staff is.

    Comment by Jones — October 30, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

  21. Yeah the playoffs are just an interesting beast. I often wonder what would happen if the worst team in the league was allowed in the playoffs how often they might knock off a team or two. The Astros were able to take of 2 of three from the Reds in September and quash any hope the Brewers had to catch up with St Louis.

    So yes it was a down year, but it’s hard to make anything of the playoffs.

    Comment by Nick C — October 30, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

  22. Only in the spirit of getting it right do I point out that this is coincidence, not irony. It would be irony, if for example, Tony and Sergio were brothers and their father had vowed “Never will the Giants win in October” and then “Romo was the clincher in both games”….

    Comment by Guest — October 30, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

  23. Would still be WAY costly, though…

    Comment by Jason B — October 30, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  24. This. The best team in baseball is, with rare exceptions, the team that wins the most games (this year, that would be the Nats).

    I do wish baseball did a better job of REWARDING the best teams, though (I’d like to see the official “league championship” go to the team in each league with the best record, with the World Series playoffs being just that– as an added bonus, baseball might finally figure out that a salary cap is a good idea when the Yankees win seven straight league titles…).

    Comment by Paul Thomas — October 30, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

  25. Well, a good AAA team would win about 30% of its games in MLB, so (omitting the probability calculations) stick the AAA champs in the MLB playoffs and I’d expect them to pick off a team in a first round best-of-five about 17% of the time.

    Comment by Paul Thomas — October 30, 2012 @ 4:22 pm

  26. I agree. Just remember, it could be worse. In hockey, my team is the Canucks, who have won the best record in the league two years in a row. They failed to win the Stanley Cup, which sucks, but with 16 teams and 4 rounds of 7 game series it mostly comes down to who is least injured (especially in a contact sport like hockey), and who is running a hot goalie and scoring.

    As a Giants fan I am not at all insulted to say we won the Championship – that is, the tournament at the end of the year. Any of the five NL teams were good enough to win. I am just glad my team is constructed well enough to be in the horse race. With good pitching they can win a game with walks, in field hits, and bunts.

    Comment by Giants Fan — October 30, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  27. Baseball’s championship might actually be one of the more reflective of true talent compared to other sports where half or most of the teams make the playoffs, but is obviously still poor. As a purist, one would have to harken back to the pre-WC system where you actually had to be really good to win your division. It may have been bad for TV ratings, but the team that won the world series had a far more legitimate claim to being the world champions.

    Comment by Gerry — October 30, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

  28. @Paul Thomas; would that system work in a league with uneven scheduling? If the Tigers next year spend all year beating up on the Central and win say 97 games, are they better than a team that wins 95 in a division like the AL East? No they’re not, so why not have those two teams face each other to determine which team is the better team?

    Comment by rorschach — October 30, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

  29. The 2010 and 2012 Giants not only won their division but finished with the 2nd and 3rd best records in the NL respectively. Since you’d have to go back to the 1968 to find the last year that neither would be a playoff team (because there were only 10 teams in each league so the only postseason was the World Series), then what exactly makes them less deserving than most other championship teams over that time, and what is the point of bringing up the wild card at all? Not every champion can be the ’98 Yankees but I don’t see why the absense of a dominant team like that should make us think that there’s anything wrong with baseball so far this decade.

    Comment by ElJimador — October 30, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

  30. 1) How did the wild card format open the door for the Giants this year when they won their division?

    2) Who says the playoffs are supposed to decide “the best team in baseball” as opposed to the team that wins the championship? Every major team sport has some kind of playoffs to determine its champion and in every one of them the team without the best record has often won. To most people this is a feature of the playoffs, not a bug.

    Comment by ElJimador — October 30, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

  31. Yeah so, my point was that this was the most obvious example in a while of Silver and Perry’s conclusions on pitching/defense in the postseason, in spite of years like 2011 and 2009 (as well as the two years prior). As in, it hasn’t happened in a while

    There are a lot of trite generalities in what you just said, and not a lot of actual substance, but ultimately it’s clear that you don’t really care for the Giants or the way in which they won. Which is fine. But any rate, aside from a few platitudes and quips about beating the bag out of the ball, what exactly do you have to support what you just said? Because it seems to me that the Giants’ feat does nothing but speak to quite the opposite, notwithstanding Zito’s contract and origins.

    The last series of the year may not have had the fireworks you wanted it to, and you wouldn’t be alone in that sentiment. This year’s Series ratings were worse than pedestrian; they were the lowest ever. But that doesn’t mean the 2012 version of the game is broken. Instead, it highlights a phenomenon that two of the more brilliant minds in game analysis pointed out years ago.

    Comment by Eugene Jacket — October 30, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

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