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  1. They’ve also hit a very easy portion of the schedule.

    Comment by tpain — August 11, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

  2. Essentially, the entire lineup had a crazy July to make up for the loss of Morneau:
    Young (.504 July wOBA, .371 2010 wOBA)
    Valencia (.493, .359)
    Mauer (.411, .379)
    Thome (.408, .413)
    Hardy (.381, .313)
    Cuddyer (.376, .334)

    They’ll likely fall back to usual levels (with the possible exceptions of Thome and Mauer), so getting Morneau back will be more than welcome. Of course we’ll end up hearing the “Team hits better without him” explanation, but it’s just regression.

    Comment by symbaton — August 11, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  3. A little footnote, the White Sox lost Peavy at the same time (7/6).

    Comment by James — August 11, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

  4. Ewing Theory

    Comment by Nik — August 11, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  5. Chemistry!!!

    Comment by TJ — August 11, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

  6. symbaton beat me to it.

    Since Morneau’s injury, a number of other guys in the Twins lineup have picked up their production significantly – including the likes of Mauer, Young, Thome, Kubel, etc.

    This was built to be one of the better offenses in baseball – and I think they have proven that with their season long production. Last time I checked, they were behind only the Yankees and Red Sox in most major statistical categories.

    Comment by Erik — August 11, 2010 @ 1:41 pm

  7. Since the Twins carry 2 not-quite-Morneau-but-good lefty DHs (Thome and Kubel), even on paper they’re not really all THAT different a team without him. They lose Morneau’s projected 409 wOBA, but replace it with a guy who projects in the mid 360s, not a replacement-level or even average bat. That they have a hot streak without him shouldn’t be all that much more shocking than having one with him. Depth pays!

    Comment by Lucas — August 11, 2010 @ 1:42 pm

  8. By the way, Erik, your blog’s name is priceless.

    Comment by symbaton — August 11, 2010 @ 1:58 pm

  9. What came next surprised everyone. The sans-Morneau Twins rattled off six straight wins, including the first two in a series with Detroit. They dropped that last game, but then came back to win another five straight, including a three-game sweep of the White Sox. After dropping three of four, including two to Detroit, winning their final four games of the season. With a little help from Detroit they were able to catch up and force a one-game playoff, which they also won. Including the sudden death game the Twins went 17-4 in their last 21 games. All without Morneau and his .317 wOBA.

    *After dropping three of four, including two to Detroit, THEY WON their final four games of the season.

    **With a little help from CHICAGO, they were able to catch up and force a one-game playoff.

    ***All without Morneau and his .371 wOBA.

    Comment by Grammar Nazi — August 11, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  10. Yeah, this paragraph was incomprehensible. Take your time, it’s not worth posting if it can’t be followed.

    Comment by Tim — August 11, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

  11. The only real error was the first one. They did get help from Detroit, because Detroit lost. They might have lost to Chicago, but you can phrase it either way. And the flipping of the wOBA is easy enough to understand, though I should have caught that on the read-through.

    Normally I wouldn’t even respond, but this asshole shows up every once in a while, mostly to correct non-grammatical mistakes. Some people get their rocks off on that, I guess.

    Comment by Joe Pawlikowski — August 11, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

  12. Joe and I go back a ways with this good stuff.

    http://riveraveblues.com/2010/07/a-few-fish-on-the-yankss-radar-32285/#comment-976870

    http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/orioles-pick-hernandez-over-tillman/#comments

    Is it annoying? Of course. That said, it can’t really be argued that there were errors in the prose of the content, can it?

    Comment by Grammar Nazi — August 11, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  13. What dick…

    Comment by DonCoburleone — August 11, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

  14. That’s, “What ‘a’ dick,” to you, sir!

    Comment by Not Grammer Nazi — August 11, 2010 @ 3:43 pm

  15. Why is it so hard to spell “grammar”?

    Comment by Grammar Nazi — August 11, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

  16. Don’t forget this gem:

    “While the typical talk radio reaction might involving lamenting Morneau’s return — they’re better without him, just look at the standings! — clearly it will be a nice boost for the team.”

    The grammar nazi may be an asshole but if you want to be taken seriously as a writer you have to communicate your information with some resemblance to the Queen’s standard english.

    Comment by WV — August 11, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

  17. Really?

    Comment by Grammar Notzi — August 11, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  18. And unless Morneau had a sex change:

    “If the Twins are playing this well without Morneau’s bat, imagine how hot they can get once her returns.”

    All he’s asking is that you double check your writing.

    Comment by WV — August 11, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  19. That’s not a bad offense at all. That wasn’t a mistake in usage of sexuality, it was a forgotten ‘e’.

    No one would ever use “her” or “him” in that context. Ever.

    Comment by Grammar Nazi — August 11, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

  20. Nazi and English are capitalized words/proper nouns.

    Comment by Grammar Nazi — August 11, 2010 @ 4:37 pm

  21. Is this what FG’s has come to – people correcting the grammar and spelling of others?

    Go to the Webster Dictionary website if you want to get off on this kind of stuff.

    Comment by Erik — August 11, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  22. Really.

    Comment by Graham-er Nahtzi — August 11, 2010 @ 10:30 pm

  23. It’s Webster’s, not Webster. You somehow managed to spell Eric wrong too.

    Comment by Dave C. — August 11, 2010 @ 11:05 pm

  24. I find it very interesting that your comment received NO responses. It might be the most important paret of the whole thread.

    Let’s look at who they’ve played …

    Jul 19-21 = 3g CLE (47-66, 4.54, 25th in ML)
    Jul 22-25 – 4g BAL (39-74, 5.06 ERA, 28th in ML )
    Jul 27-29 = 3g KCR (47-66, 5.04 ERA, 27th in ML)
    Jul 30-Aug = 3g SEA (44-70, 3.98 ERA, 12th in ML)
    Aug 2-5 = 4g TBR (69-44, 3.63 ERA, 5th in ML)
    Aug 6-8 = 3g CLE (47-66, 4.54 ERA, 25th in ML)

    We’ll I’ll be damned, look at that.

    Turns out when you play 13 of 20 (65%) games against the teams in the bottom 5th of MLB in ERA, your batting stats go up. Who knew?

    The Twins runs allowed also went down, coincidence?

    Folks, strength of opponent is a BIG deal when we’re talking about game samples of 15-20. I don;t know why it’s ignored consistently from an “analysis” site.

    So, it would mean one less Twin-friendly article. I’d rather have reality.

    Seriously, the first comment (of one sentence) was the most impolrtant information in the whole thread.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 11, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

  25. Typos suck. Deal with it. *grin*

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 11, 2010 @ 11:21 pm

  26. I’m just amazed they taught a Pawlikowski to type.

    Comment by Eugene Nicks — August 11, 2010 @ 11:27 pm

  27. Not surprisingly, the Twins hit Freddy Garcia better than they hit John Danks.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 11, 2010 @ 11:31 pm

  28. I’m guessing they won’t keep it up either, and there won;t be anything “regression”, “bad luck” or mystery about it. Just look at their upcoming schedule …

    6g v. CWS (3.89 ERA, 10th in ML)
    3g v. LAA (4.38 ERA, 21st in ML)
    3g v. OAK (3.65 ERA, 6th in ML)
    4g v. TEX (3.77 ERA, 7th in ML)

    So, that’ll be 13 of 16 games against teams in the top 10 in ERA.

    Yeah, my guess is their hitting will “cool off” at tad. Funny how that works.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 11, 2010 @ 11:40 pm

  29. Massive overstatement. That’s a .457 strength of schedule according to PECOTA. Is that really enough to negate a 14-6 stretch and this entire article? That’s before even considering the other nine games against Chicago, Detroit and Toronto that you conveniently forgot to mention.

    Comment by Greg — August 12, 2010 @ 12:14 am

  30. Massive overstatement. That’s a .457 strength of schedule according to PECOTA. Is that really enough to negate a 14-6 stretch with an even stronger Pythagpat and this entire article?

    Comment by Greg — August 12, 2010 @ 1:28 am

  31. Pythagenpat. Typos do suck.

    Comment by Greg — August 12, 2010 @ 1:31 am

  32. The Twins have been one of the best offensive teams in the American League all season.

    Your point isn’t as valid as you would think.

    Comment by Erik — August 12, 2010 @ 10:33 am

  33. I know they are a good offense. Let’s concentrate on what I am saying.

    The “surge without Morneau” could simply just be due to playing the lesser pitching staffs in the game.

    Logically, all teams hit better against these teams, which is why they’re in the bottom 10 ofMLB.

    I’m not slighting the Twins, they’re doing what they’re supposed to.

    It’s actually unfortunate for Morneau. He’s in contention for the MVP, and he just lost out 13 games against the league’s worst pitchers.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 12, 2010 @ 10:55 am

  34. I don’t think it’s an overstatement. I think strength of opponent is something that is prevalent in other sports, but not baseball.

    When a running back goes for 250, the first thing mentioned is the run defense rank of the opponent. When a point guard scores 38, the first thing mentioned is Steve Nash was guarding him.

    But, when the Twins go on an offensive surge without one of their best hitters, it;’s not mentioned that they played the bulk of those games against some of the worst pitching teams?

    An an emotionless, objective, logical, analysis website, wouldn’t “they playing a bunch of games against bad pitchers” be the most logical conclusion, rather than “they’re steppin’ up”, “they’re getting lucky”, “they’re experiencing positive randomness”, etc?

    We look at ALL these stats, and do all these calculations, and we often leave out one of the most important factors … who the batter/pitcher is facing.

    For example, when looking at pitcher’s stats … we don;t even take into consideration the strength of the opposing lineup, when that is THE most important factor.

    The Twiuns are a good hitting club, and it shows because when they lose their MVP this season, they still mash against bad pitching teams.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 12, 2010 @ 10:59 am

  35. That’s before even considering the other nine games against Chicago, Detroit and Toronto that you conveniently forgot to mention.

    Greg, I just went back to July 19th to present, because I thought that was the same number of games as the sample size presented in the opening post.

    I presented the teams consecutively as they appear on the schedule.

    I am wrong from time to time (sometimes too often), but I generally try to be fair and honest and present the information as is, and let the chips fall where they may.

    If I omitted important information or gave the appearance of a selection bias, it was unintentional.

    The Twins are a good team that pummeled bad pitching teams without one of their best hitters in the lineup. To me, that would be more expected than unexpected. Now, if they do the same thing against the tough pitching competition they’re facing in the next 20 games, I’ll be dang impressed, and will concede the division.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 12, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  36. Shit, my first post didn’t show up on my end for over an hour, hence the double post.

    I’m just saying the schedule over those twenty games wasn’t soft enough to come anywhere close to negating the article. Even if they were a .600 team playing a .400 schedule, their record was exactly in line with expectations. A .750ish Pythagenpat in baseball is solid regardless of who you are or who you play.

    Comment by Greg — August 12, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  37. You somehow managed to spell Eric wrong too.

    I thought we all learned in the “Domonic Brown” (Dominic) thread that making fun of how someone spells their name could be racism (even if they have a teammate that spells their name “Jayson”).

    But, yes, he did spell Eric wrong. *wink*

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 12, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

  38. So, 13 games against the bottom 15% of pitching isn’t enough to cause a spike in batting stats? (over a 20-game sample).

    That is all I am saying. I am not saying anything bad about the Twins. I’m saying that batters should expect a spike in production when playing 2/3′s of their games against bad pitchers.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 12, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

  39. Well, CircleChange11, they just got done with the first three of those games–against the Sox–and put up 19 runs, which included games against Floyd and Danks. Funny how that works.

    Comment by DMoore — August 13, 2010 @ 12:14 am

  40. Well, CircleChange11, they just got done with the first three of those games–against the Sox–and put up 19 runs, which included games against Floyd and Danks. Funny how that works.

    If they maintain their surge over the next 10 games that feature staffs that rank 21, 6, and 7 in ERA … I will gladly change my opinion that’s it’s primarily due to strength of opponent.

    I just wasn’t going to chalk it up to something else when quality of pitching opponent was so poor. It was just too obvious.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 13, 2010 @ 11:14 am

  41. I wanted to check back on this thread and see how it has played out (Hint: not good for the CWS for one thing).

    6g v. CWS (3.89 ERA, 10th in ML) — 33 ER in 53 IP (5.60 ERA)
    3g v. LAA (4.38 ERA, 21st in ML) — 14 ER in 25 IP (5.04 ERA)
    3g v. OAK (3.65 ERA, 6th in ML) — 7 ER in 24 IP (2.63 ERA)
    4g v. TEX (3.77 ERA, 7th in ML) —- Current Series

    So far, opponent pitching has yielded 54 ER in 100 IP for a 4.86 ERA.

    The 12 ER game against CWS inflates it quite a bit, but you have to give them credit because they scored the runs. But, strength of schedule, in terms of opponent’s ERA, does seem to be a factor in the Twins’ increased production. I don’t see how it couldn’t.

    MIN is currently being shut out (no hit) against TEX.

    What amazing to me is that over these 12 games, the Twins are 9-3, despite outscoring their opponents by 4 runs.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — August 23, 2010 @ 10:29 pm

  42. What amazing to me is that over these 12 games, the Twins are 9-3, despite outscoring their opponents by 4 runs.

    Why is that amazing? Losing a game 11-0 in a same that small is obviously going to dramatically skew a run differential.

    Comment by twinsfan — August 24, 2010 @ 12:23 am

  43. In a *sample* that small.

    Comment by twinsfan — August 24, 2010 @ 12:25 am

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    Comment by HTC Review — November 1, 2011 @ 10:25 am

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