The 2013 Playoffs Whiteboard

( know, for notes and stuff.)

The Big Hurst: I found this cool "baseball" article from the blog of the great mind behind Baseball Mogul.  Also, I'm glad Texas is done, but I'm not sure who to root for between the Rays and the Indians.
skoormit: Yeah, I'm with you on Indians v Rays. A few years ago it would have been Rays, easy, but they no longer have that feel-good vibe for me.
The Big Hurst: You gotta feel good for Marlon Byrd.  Ninety-three years in the league, finally gets his first playoff game, and blasts an important homer in his first at-bat. And Lirano has a .078 lifetime batting average, but somehow gets a playoff hit.  From YCPB, I love that the last pitcher to win a playoff game for the Pirates was a rookie named Tim Wakefield.
skoormit: Tampa does have two Bama Boys in the starting lineup (Jennings and Young). So that'll do it for me. Go Rays!
The Big Hurst: I didn't know that.  You're good at predicting that too, apparently.  Jennings and Young did most of the damage - and both were born in Birmingham, Alabama.  The Rays and Indians played 7 times this year and there were shutouts in 5 of those games.  What are the odds on both those events?  I like most of the teams still playing, but I'm strongly rooting for the A's over the Tigers and fairly strongly rooting for the Pirates over the Cardinals.  Otherwise, I'm not sure I care.  The Dodgers/Braves is interesting.  One team was great in April and middling the rest of the way, and the other was terrible early and great at points since.  Which team shows up?  And it's wild that the Dodgers and Red Sox are both in the playoffs after making their monster money talent swap.
The Big Hurst: You mentioned in the wrapup that the 2013 Marliners had a Really Bad Offense.  I think there's an easy way to show this.  They scored just 513 runs.  How bad is that?  It's a full 85 runs less than the next worst team, the White Sox.  Jeebus.  The last time anybody got close to this bad was the 2010 Seattle Mariners, but that was in a very obvious pitcher-friendly dome.  But the 2013 Marliners park didn't favor pitchers.  I went back to 1973 by brute force and couldn't find anyone else as bad as 513 runs.  The closest were the 1978 A's with 532 and the 1976 Expos with 531.  When you're probably the worst offense in 40 years, you're probably one of the worst offenses of all time.  The 2013 Marliners clearly had a Really Bad Offense (except when I picked against them).
The Big Hurst: October 7 was a good day for playoff games.  Four games, three decided by one run, two games with late lead-flips and one was a walk-off against an unhittable pitcher, and a 21 year old rookie with a near-miss no-hitter. And the other game was pretty good, too.
The Big Hurst: So it'll be the Red Sox and Tigers, then the Cardinals and Dodgers?  That's the #2 and #3 payroll in the AL, along with the #1 and #4 payroll in the NL.  It's America; money still talks.  #occupytheplayoffs
The Big Hurst: When Al Alburquerque pitched to Jarrod Saltalamacchia on October 12, was it the most letters ever in a pitcher/hitter combo?  Probably.  Also, if major league baseball was played with a golden goal - first team to score wins - the 2013 standings might not look that much different.  Doesn't this beg the question of how much baseball is really necessary to determine the "best" teams?
The Big Hurst: If skoormit doesn't dig this baseball card & pitching gif, I'll eat my stinky, sweat-stained, Veterans Stadium Phillies cap.
The Big Hurst: Kershaw's worst start of 2013 (17 GSc vs. 28 GSc) puts the Cardinals in the World Series.  Whatever.  Give that man the Cy Young.  And anyway, the World Series Predictor is probably going to doubt that they'll win a series against the Red Sox or Tigers.
The Big HurstThe World Series Predictor suggests strongly that the Red Sox should whomp the Cardinals (41-0).  The Cardinals don't win a single category:
  • +16 points to the Red Sox for home field advantage
  • +6 points to the Red Sox for more runs against them in the regular season
  • +6 points to the Red Sox for more strikeouts by their pitchers
  • +5 points to the Red Sox for more hitter OPS
  • +4 points to the Red Sox for more hitter doubles
  • +4 points to the Red Sox for more payroll
  • Both teams had equal wins during the regular season, so that factor is a tie
The Big Hurst: The names of the World Series starting pitchers are notably vanilla.  There was Adam and Jon, then Michael and John, then Jake and Joe, then Clay and Lance.  I might characterize this as "All-American", except we're in the 21st century.  They're all so dry and Caucasian.  I'm left craving the flavor of a Francisco or a Bartolo.
The Big Hurst: And The World Series Predictor WORKS!  Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox for winning the American Baseball Cup.  Now for four or five months of depressing baseballless doldrums.

2013 Regular Season Wrap Up

The Big Hurst: Friendly handshakes all around.  Good game ... good game.  All hail skoormit, King of Game Score Bingo in 2013!  The clear winner, dating back at least a couple of months.  I guess I'll take some consolation that I (barely) win the straightforward point race, 150-149, but that's not really much help, especially since I'm ending with the Blarfy Kitty.  Blarf!  A favorite player of mine, Juan Pierre played every day from 2003-2007, but he still wasn't as valuable as any player that hit with more quality.  His attendance was still worth notice.  So much appreciation to skoormit (and La Osa Rosa), and I hope he gives a much-deserved shout-out to the Marliners in his speech.  How'd ya dewit?

La Osa Rosa: It’s pretty amazing that the last two points of Game Score Bingo came from the infamous BUM!!  I am not ashamed that I got in third place for Game Score Bingo. I’m actually quite proud that I was in 1st place for a few glorious days in June!  I learned a lot of baseball-y stuff this summer.  Like that there’s a difference between a “double” and a “double play.”  And that Kansas City has a baseball team!  And that there used to be a team called the Raisin Eaters!  Plus, if we weren’t playing this game, I would have never known that a guy I went to high school with, Josh Lindblom, plays for the Rangers and it was pretty cool to see him.  AND we got to discuss Nate Bland (one of my most favorite topics).  The other day I overheard someone talking about R.A. Dickey and *gasp*, I knew who that was!  Never before have I known a sports player’s name (besides the ones that date Kate Hudson).  Now I’ve heard of half of the pitchers in MLB.
   It had never dawned on me, before this summer, that pitching matters.  I mean, I knew that the ball had to be pitched to the batter and that he was supposed to throw it fast into the strike zone.  He’s not supposed to get balls and he’s not supposed to hit the batter.  But the batter’s the one that matters, right?  He’s the one that gets on base and gets points, right?  What’s it matter how the ball’s thrown?  But now, after I’ve played this game, I think it does matter (every other reader is saying “duh” right now).
   Anyway, thank you for letting me play your game and teaching me a thing or two about baseball!  I’ll never not think of you guys when I hear about Miattle Marliners.

skoormit: My chief weapon was Jose Fernandez. I got 23 points out of him in total. I was a month or two ahead of the curve on how good he was. I'd love to credit that to baseball savvy, but it was really just luck. It just so happened that at one point this year, my fantasy team needed to pick up a starting pitcher from the available free agents, and so I looked at who was available and saw this Fernandez kid had just that day gotten promoted to the bigs. I did five minutes of research and discovered that he was a very highly rated prospect, so I grabbed him. I therefore noticed right away when he started kicking arse, and I regularly nabbed him when I could here on GSB.

So it was really just Jose Fernandez. Him, and picking against the Marlins. My two greatest weapons. Picking against the Marlins was just rote for me after a while. I'd scan the daily slate for the Kershaws and Wainwrights and Fernandez's and other obvious studs, and if I found none, I'd look at who was pitching against the Fish. Unless that guy was really bad, I'd take him. The Miami offense was just really, really, really terrible. I mean, their OPS+ ended at .627. I'm sure that has to be the worst season in a long time. I can't figure out a way to research that with the play index tools on b-ref. But trust me, this was a Really Bad Offense.

So, yeah. It was J-Fern and picking against the Marliners. And also King Felix. My three weapons.

The Big Hurst:  I think these are the final average Game Scores for us in 2013.  Does anyone out there on the internet think they could do better?
  1. skoormit - 58.2
  2. The Big Hurst - 57.1
  3. La Osa Rosa - 55.5

September 29th, 2013

Today's slate.

The Big Hurst - Yu Darvish

skoormit - Da Bum

La Osa Rosa - Sonny Gray

The Big Hurst: I hate rooting for the Rangers, and even having to pay attention to the Angels, but that's fantasy baseball.  This is our last day, right, or is there some sort of playoffs minigame?
The Big Hurst: So somebody pitched a no-hitter on the last day of the season?  Yeah, we missed that one too.


The Big Hurst: September baseball prediction gets weird.  The teams aren't acting rationally anymore.  Or at least not within the boundaries of the regular season.  None of our pitchers went more than 80-something pitches, because they were all short-leashed.  Meanwhile, my opinion is that the "playoffs" in American sports culture are just exhibition, so congratulations to the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.  Tied with 97 wins, these were the best teams from both leagues in 2013.  In my mind, that's the MLB championship.  Everything else is just a "cup".   YCPB is good today.


September 28th, 2013

Today's slate.

The Big Hurst - Anibal Sanchez

skoormit - Old Man Petticoat

La Osa Rosa - Zack Greinke

The Big Hurst: Lots of people argue about who are the best players in the game at any given time, but I got to wondering who the best players are at every individual age.  That is, who was the best 27-year-old player in 2013 and so on.  A couple of days ago, I did this list.  The WARs are slightly outdated, but it'll be close.

Position Players:
  • 20 - Machado (6.6 WAR)
  • 21 - Trout (9.1)
  • 22 - Puig (4.9)
  • 23 - Simmons (6.8)
  • 24 - Marte (5.5)
  • 25 - Goldsmith (6.9)
  • 26 - McCutcheon (7.9)
  • 27 - Donaldson (8.1)
  • 28 - Tulowitski (5.4)
  • 29 - Votto/Pedroia (6.2)
  • 30 - Cano (7.7)
  • 31 - Kinsler (4.7)
  • 32 - Victorino (6.2)
  • 33 - Crisp (4.1)
  • 34 - Beltre (5.3)
  • 35 - Byrd (4.5)
  • 36 - Ellis (2.7)
  • 37 - Ortiz (4.2)
  • 38 - J. Molina (0.3)
  • 39 - Suzuki (1.5)
  • 40 -
  • 41 - Ibanez (0.9)
And the pitchers:
  • 20 - Fernandez (6.2)
  • 21 - Wacha (1.7)
  • 22 - Miller (3.5) (& Teheran (3.4))
  • 23 - Bumgarner (3.9)
  • 24 - Sale (7.2)
  • 25 - Kershaw (7.6)
  • 26 - Darvish (5.7)
  • 27 - Hernandez (5.1)
  • 28 - Scherzer (6.7)
  • 29 - Sanchez (6.0)
  • 30 - Verlander (4.3)
  • 31 - Wainwright (5.9)
  • 32 - Iwakuma (7.0)
  • 33 - Cotts (2.4)
  • 34 - Lee (6.6)
  • 35 - Benoit (2.9)
  • 36 - Arroyo (3.0)
  • 37 - Downs (1.2) (& Choate (1.1) & Hudson (1.0))
  • 38 - Kuroda (4.0)
  • 39 -
  • 40 - Colon (5.0)
  • 41 - Pettitte (2.1)
  • 42 - Oliver (0.1)
  • 43 - Rivera (2.3)

La Osa Rosa: This gif proves that bunting is for pussies.


 The Big Failure: We averaged about 71, which makes this a good day.  It's also our season played out on a small canvas.  Of course, skoormit bets against a terrible offense, they're predictably terrible, and he gets 5 points.  I bet against the Marliners and end up feeling kinda stiffed (even with 3 points), because they have my pitcher on a 66 pitch leash.  And La Osa Rosa finished just one point out.


September 27th, 2013

Today's slate.

The Big Hurst - Clayton Kershaw

skoormit - Rick Porcello (bumped - no pick)

La Osa Rosa - Felix Hernandez

The Big Hurst: Hesitantly, because I think they'll have him on a short leash.  I wanted to take a pitcher on a team that's still really fighting hard, but there are darned few.  Also, I already did the Tigers and Royals.  I did the Marliners and Astros.  Today, I feel like I've got to do the actual Marliners - a combination of the Miami Marlins and the Seattle Mariners, for those of you that haven't been paying attention.  Yeah, this would be the core of a Seami or Miattle Marliner team that's very good.  Payroll combination: about $124M.  They'd need to dig up a real catcher, but what a rotation!  All those fans in Des Moines and Omaha could celebrate!
  • C Zunino (0.5 WAR)
  • 1B Smoak (0.9)
  • 2B Franklin (2.3)
  • 3B Seager (3.8)
  • SS Brad Miller (1.6)
  • UT Lucas (1.4)
  • OF Stanton (2.4)
  • OF Saunders (1.5)
  • OF Yelich (1.2)
  • OF Ackley (1.1)
  • UT/DH Morales (2.6)
  • DH Ibanez (0.9)
  • SP Iwakuma (7.0)
  • SP Fernandez (6.2)
  • SP Hernandez (5.1)
  • SP Nolasco (2.2)
  • SP Eovaldi (1.8)
  • RP Cishek (1.9)
  • RP Medina (1.8)
  • RP Qualls (1.7)
  • RP Dunn (1.6)
  • RP Webb (1.1)

La Osa Rosa: Skoormit, we forgot to tell you, but everybody gets triple points on September 26. Sorry you missed out… Today I’ll pick Felix Hernandez of the Miattle Marliners.
skoormit: Sorry, I couldn't hear you over the sound of me making a new trophy cabinet.
La Osa Rosa: Oh how sweet, is this your first trophy?


The Big Hurst: A short leash, right?  And I missed by one point.  That's the story of my season.


September 26th, 2013

Today's slate.

The Big Hurst - Alex Cobb

skoormit - Andrew Albers

La Osa Rosa - Miguel Gonzalez

The Big Hurst: Yesterday, I combined the Tigers and Royals for $230M and got the core of an outstanding team.  Today, I'm combining the 2013 Marliners and Astros for about $64M.  I think they would fit together nicely, because the Astros had an acceptable infield and the Marliners had an acceptable outfield.  Together, this could be the core of a team that might win 90+ games.  A great note, pitcher Henderson Alvarez for the Marliners has 0.5 WAR from his batting prowess in 32 PA.  His batting WAR is better than all but four other Marliners batters.  This was an inept offense.  You couldn't make this stuff up:
  • C Castro (4.6 WAR)
  • C Corporan (0.7)
  • 1B Carter (0.6)
  • 2B Altuve (1.1)
  • 3B Dominguez (2.5)
  • SS Gonzalez (0.5)
  • UT Lucas (1.4)
  • OF Stanton (2.4)
  • OF Yelich (1.2)
  • OF Barnes (1.7)
  • OF Ozuna (0.5)
  • SP Fernandez (6.4)
  • SP Nolasco (2.2) (assuming he's still with the Marliners)
  • SP Oberholtzer (2.1)
  • SP Eovaldi (1.9)
  • SP Norris (1.8)
  • RP Cosart (2.5)
  • RP Cishek (1.9)
  • RP Qualls (1.7)
  • RP Dunn (1.6)
  • RP Webb OR Veras (1.1)
La Osa Rosa: I’ll pick Miguel Gonzalez. I’m pretty sure I’ve never picked a Baltimore Oriole. They must not have any pitchers with catchy names. For me, instead of there being an American League and a National League, the baseball teams fall into two different categories in my brain:

1. Teams that I knew about before I started playing Gamescore Bingo and
2. Teams that I had never heard of or maybe vaguely know in the back of my mind

The known teams are:
  • Yankees (because I’ve heard of both Arod and Derek Jeter. Although I’m still convinced they’re the same person)
  • Reds (the only MLB game I’ve been to. I went when I was about 8)
  • Rangers
  • Twins
  • WhiteSox
  • Phillies
  • Braves
  • Mets
  • Angels (I saw the movie Angels in the Outfield when I was a kid)
  • Dodgers
  • Orioles (I remembered them cause I like birds)
  • Giants
  • Cubs
  • Cardinals
  • Redsox
  • Rays

Unknown Teams:
  • Blue Jays (I think I vaguely knew that there were Blue Jays, Orioles, and Cardinals, but I didn’t know where the Blue Jays were from)
  • Indians
  • Royals (I had no idea that Kansas City had any type of sports team before this year, but I’m partial to the Royals now. I really like Ervin Santana. I think he’s sweet)
  • Diamondbacks (Sorry skoormit)
  • Padres (I still have to rack my brain to remember where these guys are from)
  • Brewers
  • Tigers
  • Athletics (I REALLY did not know there was a team called the As before this year)
  • Marliners/Mariners (had no idea these teams existed, but they’ll forever be in my memory now)
  • Nationals
  • Astros
  • Pirates
  • Rockies

skoormit: It's only too bad that we don't have teams with really awesome names, like the Raisin Eaters.
The Big Hurst: You're right.  And you can't beat old-fashioned names like Orval Overall.


The Big Hurst: Don't call it a comeback! Because it isn't - yo!