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The Other Guys

I’m going to enjoy watching the Rays and Rangers series. Consider this a game thread.

Speaking of Texas, here’s a long piece on Nolan Ryan and the Rangers by Jonathan Mahler for the New York Times Magazine:

In our conversations, Ryan lamented the fate of the modern pitcher, who has had to contend not only with performance-enhanced hitters but with certain changes to the rules of the game. During his playing days, Ryan relied heavily on intimidation; he is particularly annoyed by the empowering of umpires to eject pitchers from games for throwing at batters. “You take an aggressiveness out of the pitchers and put it into the hitters,” he told me in his office, where a pair of large oil paintings of cowboys on the Texas frontier hang above his desk.

Initially drafted in 1965 by the Mets, Ryan won his only World Series ring with New York but still couldn’t wait to leave. After a stint with the Angels, he became a free agent in 1979 and promptly returned home to Texas, pitching nine years in Houston before finishing out his career with the Rangers.

Ryan retired as one of the greatest pitchers ever, but the subsequent ascendance of statistical analysis in baseball has not been especially kind to his legend: the growing appreciation for walks as an offensive weapon has knocked him down more than a few pegs in the pitching pantheon. What remains remarkable about Ryan, though, is not simply his longevity — even in his 40s, his fastball approached 100 miles an hour — but his durability. At age 42, he once threw 166 pitches in a single game.

Ryan was never known as a student of the art of pitching. He was a power pitcher, blessed with an absurdly strong, seemingly indestructible arm. But he now has firmly held convictions about how to handle pitchers, and they stand in direct opposition to baseball’s prevailing orthodoxy — what he calls “the babying” of modern-day pitchers. “Pitch counts drive me nuts,” Ryan said. “You gonna put Steve Carlton or Tom Seaver or Bob Gibson on a pitch limit?”


1 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2010 2:06 pm

Cliff Lee in and out of big trouble in the first.

2 seamus   ~  Oct 6, 2010 2:15 pm

watching the game on my iphone from work. It's pretty cool! except i'm using the center field camera so it's kind of weird. the camera follows the runner, not the ball. and quad view is too small for iphone. 2-0 rangers

3 seamus   ~  Oct 6, 2010 2:40 pm

3-0 on cruz homer. price is getting knocked around.

4 Dimelo   ~  Oct 6, 2010 2:41 pm

that was quite a dinger by cruz, on a 3 - 0 count nonetheless. Ron Washington is being more aggressive than a dude on a 48 hour coke binge.

5 Alex Belth   ~  Oct 6, 2010 2:46 pm

Whoah, Texas out to the early lead....

6 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 6, 2010 2:47 pm

I was in the minority and predicted the Rangers to beat TB.
Are the rotations posted?
Is Lee going again in game #4 or #5?
IsPrice going again in game #4 or #5?

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 6, 2010 3:18 pm

[7] ESPN says both guys start game #5.
Not scoring with bases loaded in the 1st might cost TB the PS.

8 seamus   ~  Oct 6, 2010 3:26 pm

[8] game 1 certainly looking good for the rangers so far. Lee has thrown 71 pitches through 5 so he looks poised to go 7 or 8 at least.

9 seamus   ~  Oct 6, 2010 3:27 pm

[7][8] self-referential patterns developing!

10 Chyll Will   ~  Oct 6, 2010 3:39 pm

[6] I'm with you, dude. We're not going to avoid Cliff Lee at all; he'll be pitching against us now or for us next year.

11 seamus   ~  Oct 6, 2010 3:50 pm

i don't care who wins tb-tex series. i'm more concerned with the twins.

12 seamus   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:10 pm

Lee might have one more inning. I bet he starts the 8th but doesn't finish it if he throws a lot of pitches.

13 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:16 pm

[12] Nope.

14 Jon DeRosa   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:19 pm

I didn't need anymore convincing about breaking the bank for Cliff Lee this winter, but this was a nice reminder. Hopefully, he is pricing himself out of Texas, even with their new ownership willing to spend.

15 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:26 pm
16 seamus   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:33 pm

[15] but are they going to pay back arod? lol

17 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:39 pm

Wow. Feliz is not good with pressure. Even the pressure of a 4-run lead!

18 The Hawk   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:40 pm

Really bad job by Price. That makes me more nervous about CC for some reason.

19 The Hawk   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:42 pm

Considering where it once was, it's a little chocking Cano's average ended up (nominally) lower than last year.

20 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:46 pm

[19] Might be largely luck: his BABIP was .342 in the first half, .306 in the second half.

21 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:49 pm

Is BABIP really all luck... or how well and hard you hit the ball? I think that's part of it. Did Cano's Linedrive % go down the 2nd half?

22 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2010 4:55 pm

[21] Yeah, I don't see an easy way to check that. But you're right, BABIP is not all luck for a batter. SABRmetric wisdom is that it's all luck for a pitcher.

23 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 6, 2010 5:28 pm

[23] I'm not sure about Mo's BABIP (or is it FIP?... or DIPS?), but we know when he's on, no one can square up the ball, and most of the hits he gives up are cheapies.

They track LD/FB/GB data, but not how hard a ball is hit... like poorly, average and hard. We all know a hard hit 2 bouncer GB will find more holes then a 6 hopper of chopped ball. A smoked FB has a better chance of avoiding leather then a lazy fly.

I personally look a BABIP for batters, but don't put much stock in it. There is obviously some random luck over the course of a year.... but if a player has a low BABIP, it must have something to do will have well he is squaring up the ball.

24 OldYanksFan   ~  Oct 6, 2010 5:29 pm

Here is a comment from a poster on RAB:
Rey22 says:
Anyone else feeling a Phillies sweep? Their top 3 is just unfair.

My reply:
OldYanksFan says:
Absolutely…. and they got some serious offense to boot.
I don’t think we stand a chance against that Pitching.
The Phillies Win the whole shebang pretty easily.

25 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2010 6:05 pm

[23] Look, I didn't make this up. BABIP for a pitcher one season does not predict BABIP for the same pitcher the next season. Over the long haul, variation is indistinguishable from random noise.
That's in general. I'm sure there are some exceptions.

26 williamnyy23   ~  Oct 6, 2010 6:20 pm

In principal, BABIP is an indicator of luck, but when broken down individually, you find that it really isn't. That's why I am never comfortable using it as an indicator, unless one year's figures are completely out of line with a larger body of work. For example, Mo always has a low BABIP, but we know that is far from luck.

[24] I actually think the Reds win this in five. The Cincy lineup is pretty potent and matches up particularly well against Oswalt. I expect the Reds to win both games he starts. The question will be stealing one more. Because the Phillies hitters dont match up well with the Reds starters, I think at least one of those other games will be close enough for the Reds to steal.

27 RIYank   ~  Oct 6, 2010 6:56 pm

[26] If a pitcher always has a low BABIP, then yeah, we know it's not luck. Also, Chien-Ming Wang, remember?

You expect the Reds to win both games who starts? Oh, I get it -- they'll beat Oswalt twice.
They're going to have to win 3 out of 4, looks like, because they're not going to win Game One.

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