Twins fans saw a less extreme version of this for 2 months in 2008. It too the notoriously anti-SABR front office WAY too long to figure out Livan hadn’t figured out a magic trick nobody else knew when the wheels came off.
What I find really funny is how tv analysts will praise Livan and say that he has reinvented himself as an above average pitcher. Not once do you hear them say “I think he’s been lucky”. Bobby Ojeda on Mets pregame, for example.
Steve Phillips famously predicted a few weeks ago that Livan was SO BAD that the Nationals would actually release him from the team before August. This was long after his surge was underway. Phillips is a moron, of course, but he’s way out ahead on this at least.
I read the title and thought this article was going to about Carlos Silva. I figured the ‘luck’ was that Silva found his way to the NL and all of sudden is on base to return to a 3.0 WAR pitcher like he was for those couple of years on the Twins.
Livan may have something going on we can’t measure well with our math. Or maybe this is because he has an ungodly good defensive outfield behind him which keeps that BABIP lower than you would normally think? Personally I would love to see him keep it up!
I’m enjoying the success Livan is having so far, it’s just hilarious. Sure he’s lucky, but the fact is he isn’t giving up many runs and that’s all that matters. They have to just take this while they can though because I don’t know how long it will last.
It would be a tough situation as a manager when he starts to struggle and you want to demote him. You have to show some faith in a veteran who’s been a big part of the franchise in the past and who has been the best pitcher for the first two months, but when you know he’s been extremely lucky it would be hard to trust that he’d get back to pitching great.
And to think, a young stud with a 95mph rocket would be getting rocked. Veteran Savvy on display every time he takes to the mound. He doesnt know how to get them out, make them look bad, he jus knows how to WIN.
There is an Irish saying something along the lines of “May you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows your dead.” I am hoping that Livo goes through the All-Star Break as he is playing now before the stats realize he’s cheating them. If he can manage that, then there is the chance that Chien-Ming Wang can pick up the slack, or maybe Ross Detwiler, if the Nats continue to be lucky.
Comment by Positively Half St — May 20, 2010 @ 7:12 am
Or maybe they have some other talent in the minor leagues that can pick up the slack? I hear some kid pitched decently last night in Syracuse. Steven Steinberg or something like that.
Obviously you’re saying they’ll need more than Jesus to pick up the slack if/when the numbers catch up to Livan, and I agree but the Nats can also hope that the numbers catch up to Stammen, who has been quite good and quite unlucky this year. ERA of 5.86, xFIP of 3.93.
I just hope to God that someone in the Nats front office is aware of how sharp Stammen has been and they keep him around when the stars show up next month instead of keeping, say, Atilano, who has been Livan-like with his good fortune and deceptively good “traditional” stat line.
“Masterson does have the highest line drive % out of all pitchers with 30 IP.”
No he does not. The stats are posted on this very site; it should not be hard for you guys to figure this out. After you click “30 IP” then you have to sort the table again. Masterson is just at the table of the random set by default.
Remember hearing stories about how Maddox would serve up homers to guys late in lopsided games so he’d set them up for pressure situations later in the season?
Those things would, of course, NEVER show up in the stats. But the Braves won a lot of games in which he pitched.
Now, I don’t think Livo’s doing that. I’m just sayin, however, that this level of consistency would appear to be more than just luck. Just because we can’t explain it in the abstract, with statistics, doesn’t mean it’s not there.
This is the first season since early ’05 that Livan’s knee hasn’t bothered him, and he discovered Racquetball during the off-season, got hooked on it and worked himself into the best shape he’s been in several years. What he’s been doing isn’t all luck, it may not even be mostly luck. He’s as crafty as they come, a real throwback, who knows how to pitch, versus just throwing. Don’t forget that he did it again in this last start on only 3 days rest. The writer seems to forget that Livan was once a World Series MVP.
According to the sacred scrolls it will last until the coming of the Stras. So, that fangraphs will come to know their stats mean nothing when compared to the great pattern of noological meaning. So let it be told. So let it be written.
Comment by Guru Meditation — May 21, 2010 @ 3:23 pm
He’s the most mystical pitcher in the league (remember that one?)