Tidbits on an Off Day

Did everyone read Bob Smizik’s latest article claiming CEO Kevin McClatchy has ‘hinted’ about selling after the all star game? Well, toss it in the trash – for the most part. The ‘hint’ came from a FSN interview with Kevin back in 2005 when he was asked if he would sell the team and KM responded he wouldn’t even think about it until after the ASG. Nobody knows what he will do, of course, but it stands to reason he won’t sell until 2007 or later because their partnership agreement doesn’t allow a high return on investment until the 2007 season – unless – the entire team sells to new owners.

All of the rumors I have heard place Ogden and Robert Nutting in a position to buy McClatchy and Don Beaver’s shares with a first right of refusal under the partnership agreement, Plus, Ogden has already set his son Robert up to take control of the team as the new CEO. There was a rumor Frank Brooks (his sons run the Wheeling Nailers hockey team among other things) wanted to take control with Ogden, and Frank is already a shareholder. Don’t be surprised if Kevin sells to them.

You have to love David Appelman’s Win Probability Charts at fangraphs.com. He has now started adding Tangotiger’s Leverage Index to each game showing how well player’s are doing in leveraged situations. Here is an example of the 5/7 game Duke pitched vs. the Nats:

50% is the baseline of course so you can see the Pirates were probable winners up till the third innings when Duke collapsed. But despite some of the combacks the Pirates attempted in the game, and only being down by one run late, look how little the probability shifted toward a win even when Paulino doubled in the 8th. Very little. Why? Because of who was batting behind him, who could come off the bench, and the number of outs, among other things.

Thanks for David for allowing me to post his work. It is great stuff and I would like to build a program that records a real-time probability model while the game is in progress so we can follow Tracy’s decisions.

I have heard a lot of fans talking about how well the starting pitching has performed the last 10 games or so. They point to the lower ERA over those games and say it means something. On one hand it does – the team ERA has come down. But overall, it doesn’t mean a thing.

Pirate pitching has stranded an unusually high number of baserunners the last 10 days or so leading to the lower ERA’s. This is more a product of who we played than better starting pitching effort, imo. Batters are still getting on base at high rates, Pirate pitchers are still walking more than almost everyone else in baseball, they allow 15% of every fly ball to go yard, allow the second highest line drive rate in MLB, and are 9th worst in obtaining a K. That is some serious problems.

Now, let’s add to all that the fact we are -19 runs defensively this year (that is -2 wins just because of our D) and -7 on ground balls alone, we have outfielders who baserunners take advantage of every single night with advancing bases, and a rookie catcher allowing passed balls at the rate of one per game lately, it is easy to see why we are losing a ton of games.

Throw in a lack of clutch hitting, add some more defensive misfires like Doumit at 1B instead of behind the plate, and sprinkle in streaky hitters who rarely go into streaks anymore and, well, let’s just say our starters have been *very* fortunate the last 10 games. Don’t expect it to continue.

Last note. There is a rumor flying that David Littlefield could be fired. I am going to add it to my blog here because it is out there and you should know about it. I think it has zero credibility but will share it with you just the same.

Till tomorrow when the Diamondbacks bring their circus act into town hitting on all cylinders.


One comment

  1. nal@sysarchland.com

    i was all excited that doumit was learning 1B, so we could get his bat in the lineup. until i realized that its just another faux pas on account of Dave Littlebrain.
    more in the blog i decided to start 😀

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