Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Weaving Respect

Terrible pun, yeah, but it's self-consciously terrible. I hate writing titles.

From Aaron Gleeman's preview of the Dodgers-Cardinals series:
I can't in good conscience pick a team to upset the club with the best record in baseball when they figure to start Weaver and Lima three times in five games
As big of a Gleeman fan as I am, that's just either unfair or poorly researched. Since Aaron's column is at his spectacular Hardball Times site, let's use the most highly-touted metric available at THT, Fielding Independent Pitching, to rank the starters in this series:

Weaver, 3.91
Williams, 4.13
Perez, 4.21
Marquis, 4.58
Suppan, 4.80
Morris, 4.90
Lima, 5.12

Since FIP is pretty much the best way to predict a pitcher's future performance, I don't at all see why Jeff Weaver is the object of ridicule. Sure, he had a terrible season with the Yankees last year, but this year he plays for a team that has, you know, a pitching coach. Sure, handing one start to Lima doesn't bode well for the Dodgers, but he's scheduled to face Matt Morris, which is pretty even-looking to me. The Cardinals have a better offense and the two teams have more or less equal defenses and bullpens, so I'd give the edge to the Cardinals if the teams were to play each other thirty or forty times with the same format. But they only play five times and there's just no reason to be dumping on Jeff Weaver like that, especially since by most advaned metrics he's the best starter in the series. It's true Weaver gave up nine runs in thirteen innings against the Cardinals this year, but, well, let's just say I have trouble getting through any blog entry without writing "sample size." Arguably, Jeff Weaver should be among the least of the Dodgers' concerns, with Beltre several days removed from his last hit, Gagne possibly sub-optimal, Green banged up, Brazoban inexperienced, and a pair of catchers that are no doubt inspiring Stephen Hawking's next big idea.

Baseball is so fun for months and months because everything can be seen in long view until all of a sudden October strikes and every day requires prediction upon prediction about who will win each individual game. Forget all the races the wild card ruins and all the logistical problems it creates; the real reason I'm against it is that the postseason should be the shortest part of the year, forgotten by the losers and cherished by the victors.

Song of the Day: "Wait Until Tomorrow," Jimi Hendrix

Cards 8, Dodgers 2, bottom 7th.

What were you saying? I couldn't hear you for all the cheering from the Cards fans.
Yeah, Weaver and Lima looked pretty bad today.
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