Removing Max Scherzer: The Right Call

In Game 2 of the ALCS, Max Scherzer was utterly dominating, striking out 13 of the 25 Red Sox batters he faced. Despite all the strikeouts, he managed to get through seven innings on just 108 pitches, mixing in some efficiency with his ability to avoid contact. The Tigers held a 5-1 lead when Scherzer was replaced to start the top of the 8th inning; by the time the inning was over, the game was tied, and the Red Sox won in the bottom of the 9th to tie the series at 1-1.

On Saturday night, Scherzer was again very good, but not quite as dominating as his first outing. He struck out 8 of the 27 batters he faced, but struggled with his command at times, issuing five walks in the process. His last walk was the last batter he would face in 2013, as a free pass to Xander Bogaerts put runners at 1st and 2nd with only one out, and clinging to a 2-1 lead, Jim Leyland opted to replace Scherzer with Drew Smyly to go after the left-handed hitting Jacoby Ellsbury. Ellsbury would reach on an error, and then Shane Victorino hit the grand slam, and the ALCS was over.

Twice, Max Scherzer was removed from the game with the Tigers having the lead. Twice, Tigers relievers coughed up the lead by giving up a grand slam. Had the Tigers bullpen protected those leads, they very likely would be playing St. Louis for the World Series title, but instead, they have to sit at home and wonder what could have been. And it’s easy to wonder whether Scherzer could have done better than his bullpen had he been entrusted to pitch just a little bit longer.

Fox broadcaster Tim McCarver certainly thinks removing Scherzer was the wrong call. Upon seeing Jim Leyland walk to the mound to give Scherzer the hook, McCarver began to extoll the virtues of letting starters pitch deeper into games than they do now. A transcript of his comments on the matter, for posterity’s sake, beginning after Scherzer is replaced:

“Well Jim Leyland told us that Scherzer told him, in game 2, he was finished after seven innings. He couldn’t have told him this time because he was on the mound. I don’t think he told him before the inning started, one wouldn’t think.

Lecture interrupted by ongoing baseball. Jacoby Ellsbury reaches on an Iglesias error that should have been an easy out and maybe an inning ending double play. Then there’s another commercial break as Leyland removes Smyly and brings in the right-handed Jose Veras to go after Shane Victorino. Play resumes, and three pitches later, Victorino does his thing. Tigers lose the lead, and the series, with Veras on the mound and Scherzer watching. And then we go back to the lecture.

“Six days ago, we saw a similar reaction from the crowd in the right field bleachers, as David Ortiz hit a grand slam. Now, it’s Victorino.”

Joe Buck: “The common denominator: Both games started by Max Scherzer, and grand slams allowed by pitchers not named Max Scherzer.”

McCarver, again: “Boy, that’s well put. How deflated can you be?”

More baseball play by play from Buck, as McCarver says nothing while Veras strikes out Dustin Pedroia. They proceed with play by play as normal, as the inning ends and the Red Sox set down the Tigers in order in the top of the 8th. We go to the bottom of the 8th, where Al Albuquerque is now pitching.

Buck: “It will be a field day for reporters and analysts after this game, wondering why Max Scherzer came out of this game in the bottom of the seventh. We’ll get that story after the game.”

McCarver: “Jim Leyland said that Max Scherzer told us he was through after seven innings in game 2, when the Tigers had the big lead 5-1. Well he didn’t tell him tonight, because Jim had to come out and come get him. You talk about pitch counts, pitch counts, pitch counts, and we’ve talked about it ad nauseum, you can pay attention — in my opinion — you can pay attention to pitch counts, but you can’t be a prisoner to them. And to me, the majority of baseball — the mangers and the people who run this game — are becoming prisoners to pitch counts. And in my view, that’s wrong. That doesn’t make me an old timer, a purist, or anything else. That’s just wrong. Pay attention to them, but don’t be a prisoner to them.”

Buck: “Scherzer had thrown 108 pitches in game 2, and threw 110 pitches tonight, and then Jim Leyland went and got him. And you saw this bullpen for the Tigers, that will be a big topic for conversation too.”

One could argue that, without the context of the situation being discussed, McCarver’s comments might have some merit. You shouldn’t be a slave to pitch counts. There’s no magic single number at which every pitcher is finished, and pitchers shouldn’t be lifted from the game as soon as they cross the 100 pitch threshold simply because it’s a round number. But there’s no way to ignore the context of the discussion, and this was a critique of Leyland’s decision to remove Scherzer in Game 6 of the ALCS.

Given the result, some second guessing is natural, and it’s easy to assume that Scherzer could have and would have done better than his relievers. But a look at the numbers strongly suggests that going to the bullpen was the right move. We’ll deal primarily with Game 6, since Scherzer essentially took himself out of Game 2, and it would be silly to suggest that a manager should force a starter to go back to the mound when he feels he has nothing left.

At the point at which Scherzer was removed in Game 6, he had gone through the Red Sox starting line-up exactly three times. Here’s how the Red Sox had fared against him each time through the order:

1st PA vs Scherzer: 1 for 7 (1B), 2 BB, 4 K
2nd PA vs Scherzer: 1 for 8 (2B), 1 BB, 2 K
3rd PA vs Scherzer: 2 for 6 (1B/2B), 2 BB, 1 HBP, 2 K

The first two times through the order, Scherzer allowed a grand total of five baserunners. The third time through the order, five of the nine hitters he had faced had reached base. Scherzer, at the point he was replaced, had not been recently dominating Red Sox hitters. And this shouldn’t come as any huge surprise.

I’ve shown this chart several times, but it bears repeating given the storyline here. Here is the league average batting line against a Major League starting pitcher in 2013, based on times through the order.

League BA OBP SLG
1st PA vs SP 0.250 0.310 0.390
2nd PA vs SP 0.259 0.319 0.411
3rd PA vs SP 0.270 0.331 0.429

At the beginning of a game, starting pitchers are mostly quite good, but they begin to falter as they face the same hitters repeatedly on the same day. There are multiple factors at play here, including the pitcher himself tiring, as one’s pitch count is naturally much higher the third time through the order, but the fact remains that starting pitchers lose effectiveness as the game goes along. Not every pitcher decays at exactly the same rate, but even Scherzer is not immune to this. His career numbers, based on times facing a hitter within the same game:

Scherzer BA OBP SLG
1st PA vs SP 0.226 0.296 0.372
2nd PA vs SP 0.253 0.308 0.425
3rd PA vs SP 0.258 0.325 0.404

Scherzer’s OBP and SLG allowed are both 30 points worse the third time through the order than they are the first time he faces a hitter that day. The league average, this year, was 20 points of OBP and 40 points of SLG. Scherzer, when he’s tiring, appears to lose his command more than his stuff. That held true the third time against the Red Sox line-up, as he walked two and hit a batter, and seemed to be losing effectiveness at a pretty rapid pace.

The ~100ish pitch limit might seem arbitrary and silly, but it actually corresponds very well to a pitcher getting through an opponents batting order three times. In the AL this year, the average PA lasted 3.86 pitches. Multiply that by 27 batters, and you’re at 104 pitches, on average, after going through the line-up three times. It isn’t so much that a pitcher’s 105th pitch is guaranteed to be a meatball as it is that 100 pitches corresponds to the point in the game at which the hitter begins to have a significant advantage over the starting pitcher, due to both pitcher fatigue and hitter familiarity.

It is entirely incorrect to look at Max Scherzer, at the point he was removed in the 6th inning on Saturday night, and expect him to pitch at his own personal averages against the next few batters. At that point, given that he would be facing each hitter for a fourth time, and was reaching the end of his own endurance, you would have to expect Scherzer to perform worse than his overall averages that include early game performances.

How much you expect him to decline is tricky, but you have to decay his expected performance by some amount. Maybe it’s not as much as his career numbers suggest, given that he’s a better pitcher now than he was when it began, but given what we know about the results of the batter/pitcher confrontation as the game progresses, it has to be a significant figure. For sake of argument, let’s use Scherzer’s career 30 point decay in both OBP and SLG.

Left-handed hitters, this year, hit .218/.278/.367 against Scherzer this year. Had he stayed in to face one more batter, that batter would have been the left-handed hitting Ellsbury. If we add 15 points of OBP/SLG to that line — half the 30 point gap, since we are estimating difference between 1st and 3rd time through the order — that would go up to .293/.382, or a .685 OPS. Drew Smyly, the pitcher who actually got to face Ellsbury, has held left-handed hitters to a .204/.254/.315 career line, and was even better this year, giving up just a .476 OPS against left-handers. And this doesn’t even factor in Ellsbury’s own platoon splits, which see him fare much better against right-handed pitchers.

There is simply no way to think that Scherzer vs Ellsbury, for the fourth time in a game in which Ellsbury is 1-2 with a walk against him, is a better match-up for Detroit than Smyly versus Ellsbury. Given a one run lead, and the tying run in scoring position, leaving Scherzer in to face Ellsbury in that situation would have been borderline managerial malpractice. That at-bat called for a pitching change so clearly that every manager with any understanding of the probabilities would have gone to his bullpen. It was, quite clearly, a huge improvement in expected outcome for the Tigers.

And the results even back this up. Smyly got a potential double play ball, leading Iglesias to a spot where he could flip the ball to second for a force and there would be a play at first base to try and double Ellsbury up and end the inning. At the worst, that should have resulted in a 1st-and-3rd, 2 out situation, with the Red Sox needing a hit to tie the game, and some percentage of the time, the Tigers turn that double play and the inning ends. The move made sense, and it worked, up until the point that Jose Iglesias tried to field a routine ground ball.

But maybe, you argue, that by removing Scherzer to get the advantage against Ellsbury, you’re setting yourself up to have a less good right-hander go after Victorino and Pedroia. Yes, you get the advantage in that one at-bat, but wouldn’t you rather have Scherzer up there against the two righties?

No, no you would not. Right-handers, in his career, against Jose Veras: .212/.306/.336. Right-handers against Veras in 2013: .165/.254/.266. Veras is an excellent right-on-right reliever, and his .520 OPS allowed to RHBs this year is not that much higher than Scherzer’s average .494 OPS against right-handers. And that’s Scherzer against all-handers, including the ones he gets to face while at full strength early in the game. Add in the 15 point decay in both OBP and SLG, and Scherzer versus RHBs is now, at best, equal to Veras against right-handed hitters. And you had to give up a significant advantage against Ellsbury to get to that same place.

It is very easy, in retrospect, to think that Jim Leyland put too much faith in a bad bullpen. In reality, though, Jim Leyland put the right amount of trust in a pretty good bullpen. Smyly against a lefty was a great match-up for Detroit. Veras against a righty was a very good match-up for Detroit. Both of these were better match-ups than Scherzer versus either batter.

It didn’t work, in large part because a great defensive shortstop botched a play that he makes almost every time. That it took a Jose Iglesias error to keep the inning alive should be a poignant reminder that players who are good at a thing still fail at that thing sometimes. Jose Veras failed at getting Shane Victorino out on Saturday, but that doesn’t make the decision to remove Scherzer from the game a poor one.

Tim McCarver might hate pitch counts, and he might think that Leyland should have stayed with Scherzer. But, to quote the man, that doesn’t make him an old timer, a purist, or anything else — it just makes him wrong.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

56 Responses to “Removing Max Scherzer: The Right Call”

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  1. jim S. says:

    Very nice job, Dave. Scherzer also said, in a dugout interview, that pitching in the LCS was more stressful and more tiring than in the regular season. Thus, it was a case of 108 being effectively more than that.

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  2. Logan Davis says:

    So here’s a question. If batters are so much more effective in later runs through the lineup, why don’t hitters practice before each game by playing a simulated game against a pitching machine calibrated to produce that day’s opposing SP’s stuff from that day’s opposing SP’s release point? If you need the body/visual/timing cues, you could probably just stick a high-res LCD in front of the machine.

    Surely a lot of the split comes from pitchers getting tired, but doesn’t it seem like some team should’ve tried the above in an attempt to quantify just how much of the effect is a result of pitcher fatigue and how much is a result of hitter familiarity?

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    • Jason B says:

      “Surely a lot of the split comes from pitchers getting tired”

      Bingo.

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    • ReuschelCakes says:

      Better… hitters should just hire the opposing starter to throw full-leverage BP before the game. That way they can get familiar with release point, speed changes, etc.

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    • Patrick says:

      With dozens of hours of trying I believe you could come reasonably close (and by reasonably close I mean not very close at all) to simulating 1 of a pitcher’s pitches considering trajectory, movement, speed, timing, etc.

      This is what makes Sherzer just as dominant his first time through the order in Game 6 as he was in Game 2 even though it was just a few days apart.

      Hitting live pitching is different.

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    • MGL says:

      Actually the evidence suggests that it is NOT from getting tired – that it is indeed from batters becoming familiar with the pitcher.

      We can look at pitchers who have thrown 90 pitches or 110 pitches and we find the same “times though the order” penalty. Plus we also don’t find much difference in velocity and movement as a pitcher nears 100 pitches.

      Whether you could practice that before the game, I don’t know. I doubt it. We are talking about being familiar in a short time span with a pitcher’s release point, velocity, movement, pitch selection patterns, body movements, deception, etc. It’s not just about the batters warming up against similar live pitching. Just my guess on that.

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    • Tribe Fan in SF says:

      Interestingly, this magical-sounding machine actually exists with a batting machine behind a video screen and a hole for the ball to come through right at the pitcher’s release point. Check it out, and make sure to click on the testimonials link – you’ll see a number of major league clubs have been using them for a long time: http://www.probatter.com/px2-baseball.php. (Note: I have no affiliation with this company, but I remember reading about this simulator a long time ago.)

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  3. RF says:

    Should also probably note that those tables almost certainly understate the difference between the 1st/2nd/3rd times through the order, as worse pitchers and pitchers having a bad day are less likely to be left in to face batters a third time.

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    • Anon says:

      Was going to post the same thing – the numbers have certain level of selection bias as the pitchers facing guys a 3rd time are generally pitching some level of adequately to good and it omits all the 3 IP, 8 R guys who would likely get shelled that 3rd time through and make the numbers even worse.

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      • Jason B says:

        See I would think the opposite. The pitchers who give up 8 ER in 3 IP would likely improve toward their personal mean (which is not a known quantity but is almost assuredly better than a 24.00 ERA).

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        • Andrew says:

          You can pitch better than a 24.00 ERA and still worse than the given numbers from that oft-used table

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        • Jason B says:

          Well sure, but relative to the pitcher’s own performance, he would be improving the third time through, not getting worse.

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  4. ralph says:

    Dave, I’d be really curious to know if you would have been in favor of pulling Scherzer if Bogaerts had been called out on strikes. I think it’s a much more interesting question, as it’s hard to argue Smyly wasn’t the right call for the situation actually at hand.

    But with 2 outs and first base open (so Scherzer could pitch to Ellsbury without necessarily having to give in to Ellsbury), two more RHB coming up, and knowing that since Leyland had made Smyly a LOOGY it’s either Ellsbury then or Ortiz later for Smyly, would those factors be enough to overcome all the considerations you’ve listed here?

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  5. Adam says:

    Man, Tim McCarver’s the best. Right guys? Guys…?

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    • Hurtlockertwo says:

      I like Tim McCarver actually, and he certainly has a right to his opinion. (right or wrong) He caught some pretty good pitchers in his playing days, Bob Gibson in 1968 ans Steve Carlton in 1972. (two of the best pitching seasons in the hx of baseball) So he not just a talking head, he has expertise.

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      • Jake says:

        The expertise needed to be a good baseball player is quite different from the expertise needed to be a good baseball analyst.

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      • Adam says:

        He does have the right to his opinion, and I happen to agree with him in this case. However, he is not a good broadcaster in my opinion. As a former catcher, he incorrectly identifies pitches constantly.

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        • RC says:

          It’s not just incorrectly identifying pitches. He doesn’t even know what half of the plate they’re on.

          One of the homeruns earlier in the series (I think game 1), he kept saying that the pitcher was leaving his pitches high, when the pitch was a ball below the zone. He kept harping on the next hit how the pitch was up in the zone, and it was low and outside.

          He seems to just make up a narrative, and follow it, irrespective of what is actually going on in the game.

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        • Gyre says:

          The only thing about pitching that McCarver knows is that he can’t hit it…or describe it, or manage it, plus everything else.

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  6. triple_r says:

    Does the inn also run a baseball team?

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  7. RMD says:

    Leyland was a hanging 0-2 curveball away from being a genius… It’s too bad he goes out like this. I would have really liked the Tigers odds in Game 7 with Verlander.

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  8. LaLoosh says:

    Huh..?

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  9. Greg says:

    Isn’t it wrong to just add 30 points of decay to his OBP and SLG because his .494 OPS throughout the year included his third time through the order? His OPS against a righty would rise, but not 30 points each from each component.

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    • Funny Fig Newton says:

      He also went through the order the first two times more than he went through the order the third time, so in all likelihood, it would be around a 30 point increase. In addition, he went through the order a fourth time some percentage of times, diluting the data even further. A flat 30 point increase that corresponds with the small sample size obtained during the game probably validates the data to at least some extent.

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  10. t says:

    It is absolutely bizarre that the last decisions of Jim Leyland’s managerial career are supported by Dave Cameron and denounced by Tim McCarver. Will hot snow fall up tomorrow?

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    • chuckb says:

      and a day or 2 after he decided to move his best hitter into the 2-spot in the lineup.

      Maybe he just couldn’t stand “the new Leyland” and had to hang it up.

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  11. TigersFanDC says:

    I’d argue even further away from Tim McCarver’s position: Scherzer escaped the 6th by the skin of his teeth, and should have been pulled prior to the 7th. 3rd time through the order in effect, plus plenty of trouble visible: HBP-BB-Flyout-WP to start the 6th. (I was nearly hoping Napoli would hit a double to remove any doubt about Scherzer’s waning effectiveness. Instead, a strikeout, and all was supposedly well.) Pull Scherzer after 6, and give the bullpen a margin of error by letting ‘it’ begin with the bases empty.

    It was a moment when, as a Tigers fan, I nearly wished I didn’t know the math. McCarver’s position would have been much more emotionally satisfying to latch on to, both then and now, when griping about the bullpen as an abstract entity is the hot stove topic du jour.

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  12. Mike Green says:

    It should be noted that batters have put up a .183/.254/.269 line against Scherzer over his career after the 100th pitch (321 PAs). One’s subjective opinion about whether Scherzer was tired in this particular game at the moment would be an important factor in making the decision; it is not only the results but subtle changes to the delivery that one ought to look to.

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  13. Robert says:

    I think it would be much more interesting to see his stats each time around the order this year vs career as he has been much more dominant this season than in seasons past. I think it’s also fair to say that although the numbers suggest it was the right move, he had (according to pitch trax) struck out Boegarts and also gotten out of a big jam the inning before.

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  14. Patrick says:

    Dave,
    Good analysis. The X Factor for starting pitchers is their relative dominance on the start in question. We all realize you don’t remove someone throwing a perfect game because they are over 100 pitches. Or even 140 pitches if you are Lincecum throwing a no-no.

    So where is the middle ground? How does a manager truly decide if his starter is going to outcompete the next hitter? I think this is what makes managing baseball so tough. It is much more complicated than the numbers. I would suggest small visual cues of tiring for each individual pitcher would be a starting point.

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  15. Milt Wilcox says:

    It should be possible to decompose the pitcher effectiveness trend roughly into its components: pitcher tiring + batter repetitions given the available data. There should be an overall downward trend along with a step function for each time through the order. Has this ever been tried?

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    • MGL says:

      “There should be an overall downward trend along with a step function for each time through the order. Has this ever been tried?”

      Yes, it has been looked at. There is not an overall downward trend (until you get to lots of pitches) independent of times through the order. There is not much of a fatigue factor (again until we get into the tail end of most pitchers’ limit). There is, as you say, a “stepped” trend line, which reflects the times through the order penalty.

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  16. MikeS says:

    If McCarver thought it was the wrong move, that’s all I need to know to believe it was the right one.

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  17. Brian Lonsway says:

    The use of Rick Porcello.. or lack there of is what troubled me with this series.. Up 4-1 in the eight of game 2 he was the obvious choice to start the eigth and pitch all the way to Ortiz if need be.. You don’t burn Smyly with one on and one out up 4 with Ortiz working.. I have absolutely no problem with how leyland managed Game 6 however, with two on and Elsburry up i want Drew in the game.. A much higher leveraged situation… Leyland lost game 2.. Boston won game 6

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    • joe says:

      a pinch runner for fielder was probably the right call. It’s not like Fielder was being overly productive anyway, and he had one more at bat tops. Then Peralta moves to third, Cabrera to first, the PR goes out to left.

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  18. Rippers says:

    Was Price Fielder’s dive to 3B and ending up like a beached whale the right call?

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  19. chief00 says:

    I expect that when Leyland decided to remove Scherzer from the game, an error by Iglesias was not part of his decision-making process.

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  20. joe says:

    Sorry, wrong.

    Max Scherzer tried to get Bogaerts to chase, he wouldn’t, so he put a curve COMFORTABLY in the zone but the ump blew the call. So the line as far as what he was doing:

    1st PA vs Scherzer: 1 for 7 (1B), 2 BB, 4 K
    2nd PA vs Scherzer: 1 for 8 (2B), 1 BB, 2 K
    3rd PA vs Scherzer: 2 for 6 (1B/2B), 1 BB, 1 HBP, 3 K

    So he was not doing worse the third time through.

    Scherzer’s specialty is getting out of jambs, so it was the wrong call, and to boot, it was the tougher one to explain later if it went bad.

    For evaluating Scherzer, he gave up a double then got 2 Ks in the inning. He was hot when he was taken out.

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    • joe says:

      The move didn’t “backfire” though as it was the E that blew the inning.

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    • RC says:

      “Max Scherzer tried to get Bogaerts to chase, he wouldn’t, so he put a curve COMFORTABLY in the zone but the ump blew the call.”

      While I agree with you, and I’m a big proponent of Robots calling the game, that was about the 8th pitch that day in that part of the zone called a ball.

      I see 5 strikes for Sherzer in that zone called balls, and 3 pitches right outside that zone called balls, and nothing near called strikes. Buccholz doesn’t really have anything applicable, as everything he threw in that area was either a swinging strike, or a foul.

      IE, that was a ball all day. Right or wrong, that’s how the game was.

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  21. MGL says:

    Very good article and analysis, Dave. It doesn’t really matter exactly what the numbers (the expected decay) are. A starter, even a great one like Scherzer is likely not going to be as good as a very good reliever, especially when you are able to get several platoon advantages with those relievers, the 3rd and 4th times through the order, as Dave correctly points out. This is one of the most ignored and misunderstood concepts in baseball. It is even the ex-player announcers that talk about the “times through the order” penalty, yet they decry when a starter is taken out early!

    The other even more misunderstood concept is about how starters are pitching thus far. There is little or no evidence that have any predictive value. Whether a starter is pitching well or poorly, especially when he is pitching well – even really well, as in a no hitter, has almost no predictive value for the future in that game. See the following two studies:

    http://www.philbirnbaum.com/btn2000-11.pdf

    http://mglbaseball.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/question-of-the-day-2-should-you-take-out-your-starter-who-is-pitching-a-shutout/

    This is a very important concept in terms of when to take out your starter. Basically, the answer is, “As soon as you can! Assuming that you have good bullpen choices. And that is because of the very significant “times though the order” penalty. There is no evidence that I am aware of that any pitcher is immune to that (which makes sense of course since it has virtually nothing to do with the pitcher!). A great pitcher becomes a good one by the time he faces the order for the 3rd time. A good one becomes a mediocre one, and a mediocre one becomes a replacement pitcher. A bad starter (like a typical 5th starter) should be nowhere near the pitching mound after he has faced the order 2 times already!

    Dave, a couple of things:

    “In the AL this year, the average PA lasted 3.86 pitches. Multiply that by 27 batters, and you’re at 104 pitches, on average, after going through the line-up three times. It isn’t so much that a pitcher’s 105th pitch is guaranteed to be a meatball as it is that 100 pitches corresponds to the point in the game at which the hitter begins to have a significant advantage over the starting pitcher, due to both pitcher fatigue and hitter familiarity.”

    Your math is a little off there unless you were referring to the FOURTH time through the order, which is wrong. The significant drop occurs the THIRD time though the order. That means 3.96 times 18 batter, not 27 batters, which is less than 70 pitches! That means that 70 pitches should be the time that managers start thinking about taking starters out, not 100 pitches. By 100 pitches, the starter is likely facing the order for the FOURTH time (half the time at least).

    Also, please don’t EVER bring this up: “And the results even back this up.”

    All you are doing is giving people permission to criticize a decision when it does not work out, which is incredibly stupid of course. The chances that a guaranteed good decision works is approximately the same as the chances that a guaranteed bad decision works out in exactly the same way. So that necessarily tells is that we cannot tell (AT ALL) whether a decision was correct or not from the results! So let’s please not use a positive result as an example of why a decision was right! Everything else in the article was great and I cringed when I got to that part (not a big deal, really).

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  22. craig richards says:

    Great as always, Dave… BUTT… The pitch count thing is a beached whale. Max shoulda coulda woulda been left in if the correct decison had been made. The tigers are off to play golf and surf the web. Their bullpen was only very, very average anyway. Go Sox!

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    • Worst metaphor ever (10/22/13 edition) says:

      “The pitch count thing is a beached whale.”

      ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

      DING DING DING we have a winner! No other entries will be accepted on this day.

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  23. bekti says:

    wow i never thought Veras statline is so great, but whenever i watched him pitching clutch with runner on base he seems so fragile. Maybe check his statline with runner on base or risp?

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  24. PackBob says:

    And if Smyly had gotten that double play, the results-based analysis would have been that it was a good move to replace Scherzer. Thing is, even a not-so-good pitcher can make it through unscathed and pitch a complete game shutout, and enough have done it so that the results-based analysis can seem plausible.

    The odd thing is that the playoffs are completely results-based, and better teams often go home.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. Gyre says:

    Let me fix that

    The thing is that games are completely results-based, and better teams often lose.

    They generally do so for off-field reasons.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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