Who is really the best baseball team in the majors? I honestly don't know but I try to figure that out by using basic and advanced statistics. I live for talking about baseball, it's my biggest drive in my life and I will jump on the opportunity to talk baseball with anyone, even with people who I don't really like. For me, Baseball is a piece of art that sits in my mind all day, ready to be painted on at any point of the day.

Monday, May 9, 2011

An epic (saber-metric) showdown of backyard baseball, Game 3

By Mike Moritz

As stated in the post before, if you missed the first post about Simon and I's best-of-seven-series, click here to find out what the rules are in the kind of baseball that Simon and I play.

Game three of the Dickle-Doos (Simon) versus The Crookers (Me) was a very intense one, and arguably the most intense of the series thus far. We played 6 innings due to time constraints.

Coming into the series, we had been knotted at 1 game a piece. Simon had sent left-hander D.D. Dickbathia while I had sent the nasty yet command-less Crook Colquez. With Colquez, it seems to either be a strike out or a walk in this league. In 310.1 innings during the 2011 regular season, Colquez posted a fantastic FIP of 5.79 but that number was good considering his 11.72 BB/9. His 19.26 K/9 seemed to help offset his walk rate but it was his 88% ground ball rate that really help him out in the FIP department...it was insane. His also good 6.21 ERA was inflated by a .342 BABIP and a 67% LOB.

Colquez seemed to have better command of his pitches in game three than in any other start of the year...or it could have been Simon's terrible plate discipline and eagerness to swing at every pitch (which was extremely strange considering he is generally more of a Crooklos Santana rather than a Jeff Crankcrookore). Simon's O-Swing% was definitely north of 50% while his O-Contact% was about 90%.

  • In just 2 1/3 innings, Colquelz walked just one batter but he only struck out one as well. Instead of avoiding hits with walks and strike outs, Colquez got hit hard. He gave up two homers, a double and a total of 8 hits for 7 runs. 
  • SwStr% was where Simon really struggled in the first two games of the series, but he turned that around today as reduced his mark from (just a guess) around 17% to probably around 6%. This dramatic improvement really stemmed from his ability to layoff the curve and wait for more hittable pitches, like...
  • The high fastball. Simon hit four of his total seven home runs off of fastballs that were left up in the zone, sending them over the right field fence each time.
  • As mentioned before, Colquez had just one punch out, putting a little more pressure on Yovani Crookardo, who came in to pitch 3 2/3 innings in relief. Crookardo did not have a single strike out and gave up the four homers that were hit off high fastballs, three of which were solo shots and the other being a two-run shot.
  • In total, The Crookers pitching had a 48% ground ball rate and a 29% fly ball rate, both rates being very good. The 23% line drive rate was where the pitching staff struggled. 
  • Even though we gave up just a 29% fly ball rate, The Dickle-Doos HR/FB rate was 78%. Even that number is way above the 60% average in Mike's Cold Hard Lemonade Stadium. Expect that number to regress back to the mean.
  • Although their HR/FB rate was way high, The Dickle-Doos really got unlucky, posting a mere .194 BABIP compared to the (about) .350 average. The fact that his HR/FB would regress down and his BABIP would regress back up says that, excluding the walks, The Dickle-Doos could hit just as well in following games. This low BABIP is essentially the reason as to why The Crookers were able to stay in this game and not let it slip away. 
  • The fact that The Crookers struck out just hitter all game, the low BABIP was even more help.
  • The Crookers just could not hit in Game Three. They had just seven hits. We had a below average 17% line drive rate, 39% fly ball rate, and a 28% ground ball rate. The remaining 16% were infield fly balls, something that needs to be worked on. The Crookers BABIP was right around average, at .333.
  • Despite not being able to hit, The Crookers were able to support the pitching by getting hit by pitches 10 times and getting walked 7 times. 
  • While The Dickle-Doos had seven long balls, The Crookers had just one, a rarity. The one home run was a three-run shot in the top of the 6th inning. The pitch was on the outer half of the plate and I went with it, sending it over the house in left field, making the score 17-12, The Crookers in the lead. 
  • The Crookers brought in Crook Halladay to lock up the save since in this league, "no lead is a safe one".  The Dickle-Doos got the inning under way very quickly, sending the first offering into the center field trees. 17-13, The Crookers. 
  • Let's just say that two hit by pitches, a few singles and three walks later, the bases were loaded and the score was tied at 17. You could probably guess what happened next.
  • The count was 3-2 with two outs. After walking just three in the first 5 innings, I was in a tough situation having already given up three walks in the inning alone. The pitch came, a fastball that I just didn't know where to throw. It ended up just missing the outside corner. Ball four and the winning run could walk home, literally. Game three was given away by The Crookers and the Dickle-Doos have taken a 2 games to 1 lead
So yes, game three went to Simon, 18-17. But there were still some other smalls things to keep note, some of which were rather humorous:

  • Simon's LOB% seemed to be something like 92%. In the first three innings, he lucked out when I had left the bases loaded twice. The other inning ended with two of my men on base.
  • As I stated before, I had walked just three hitters in the first five innings before walking four in the bottom of the sixth. I suddenly just lost my command at the wrong time.
  • Simon hit a double that was literally an inch away from going out. It hit off the very top of the Aqua Monster and stayed in the park. There was no one on base so it was just your average double but it could have gone out.
  • Perhaps the most embarrassing moment of the game came in the top of the third inning. On a 2-2 count and after two consecutive foul balls, Simon threw a high fastball and I swung, only to foul it off again. But this time, the ball, after going off the bat, hit my face, more specifically my eye AND my nose. This then triggered many tears and a shit load of sneezes, five in about two minutes to be exact.

Game Four will be played Monday, May 9th. In a must win game for The Crookers, we will be sending Max Crookzer while the Dickle-Doos will be sending Felix Dickhandez.

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