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National Media Read This!


bluedog

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I've spent a couple of months now listening to the national press discussing the Orioles and why they are having so much success and it seems like the only reason that anyone can come up with is "they've been lucky in close games".

Apparently these people who are paid to do nothing but watch games and be "experts" on the subject can't be bothered to look any deeper than obvious stats that are spoon fed to them by ESPN or MLB.com.

So I think we should maintain a thread where we help them out by digging a little deeper into the O's success and spoon feed them some alternative explanations on why the O's are a legitimate playoff contender.

If you remove Hunter, Arrieta and Matusz from the O's stats for the season it looks like this:

Wins: 58

Losses: 30

IP: 848.67

Hits: 786

ER: 326

BB: 285

SO: 692

K/9: 7.34

WHIP: 1.26

ERA: 3.46

That would put the O's 2nd in ERA (tied with Oakland, behind Tampa) and 5th in WHIP.

In addition the O's staff sans Hunter / Arrieta / Matusz is 28 games above .500 and has 6 starters (Chen, Hammel, Gonzalez, Tillman, Britton and Johnson) with winning records and 5 starters with ERA's below 3.78.

Finally the O's have the top setup man in the AL (Strop) and the leader in saves (Johnson).

To put it in the simplest possible terms - outside of Hunter / Matusz / Arrieta, the O's have one of the best pitching staffs in the majors, and those three guys aren't a critical part of the O's current roster.

THAT's why they are playing so well.

Now you can make the argument that anyone can cherry pick their pitching rotations stats and remove the worst 3 pitchers and make their stats look much better, but the fact is the O's staff as it is currently constructed is the staff reflected by the stats above and not by the aggregate stats that media experts tend to use when trying to figure out why the O's are doing so well.

EDIT: So it's not buried deep in the thread, another OH fan sent me this article which discusses much of what I posted above: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/28430/orioles-starting-to-look-like-team-of-destiny.

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If you remove Hunter, Arrieta and Matusz from the O's stats for the season it looks like this:

Wins: 58

Losses: 30

IP: 848.67

Hits: 786

ER: 326

BB: 285

SO: 692

K/9: 7.34

WHIP: 1.26

ERA: 3.46

That would put the O's 2nd in ERA (tied with Oakland, behind Tampa) and 5th in WHIP.

And what if you remove the 3 worst starters from every other AL team's rotation? Where would the O's rank then?

I get what you're trying to say, that the O's ERA has been inflated by three guys who aren't in the rotation anymore, but I'm sure that's the case for other teams as well.

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And what if you remove the 3 worst starters from every other AL team's rotation? Where would the O's rank then?

I get what you're trying to say, that the O's ERA has been inflated by three guys who aren't in the rotation anymore, but I'm sure that's the case for other teams as well.

What I'm saying is that these are the stats for the current O's staff. The total stats don't reflect the quality of the pitching staff the O's are putting on the field today.

I don't many other teams can say that they took their worst three starter mid season and replaced them with guys who have put up an aggregate ERA in the 3.50 range - which is what the O's have done. It's not about cherry picking stats - it's about reflecting the quality of the team that is currently playing versus attributing to that team bad stats that were accrued by players who no longer figure into the performance of the team.

As an example of this - lets say over the first half of the season your 1b and 3b are hitting .180 with an OPS of .600. Then at the trade deadline you go out and get two all-star sluggers in a blockbuster trade and replace those hitters with two guys hitting .300 with an OPS around .900.

Are you going to act like the team is a weak offense with no sluggers just because that's what the aggregate stats for the first half of the season represent? Or are you going to recognize that the team is fundamentally different and that the earlier stats need to be re-evaluated based on new information?

Obviously you evaluate the team based on the performance of the new players and you discount (or completely ignore) the performance of the two guys who were replaced. It's no longer relevant.

That's what I'm suggesting with the O's.

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How many times does it need to be said? Every team cuts dead weight. Every team tries to improve as the season goes on. We are not special snowflakes in this regard.

So how well a team does in cutting dead weight is completely irrelevant in your world? If the performance of the people you bring in to replace the dead weight is entirely irrelevant to any evaluation of the team in the future, then what exactly is the point of replacing dead weight in the first place?

You seem to be saying that the quality of the O's pitching since they replaced H / A / M is irrelevant in any evaluation of the team now? Is that your position?

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So how well a team does in cutting dead weight is completely irrelevant in your world? If the performance of the people you bring in to replace the dead weight is entirely irrelevant to any evaluation of the team in the future, then what exactly is the point of replacing dead weight in the first place?

You seem to be saying that the quality of the O's pitching since they replaced H / A / M is irrelevant in any evaluation of the team now? Is that your position?

What does cutting deadweight starters have to do with getting lucky in one-run games?

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So how well a team does in cutting dead weight is completely irrelevant in your world? If the performance of the people you bring in to replace the dead weight is entirely irrelevant to any evaluation of the team in the future, then what exactly is the point of replacing dead weight in the first place?

You seem to be saying that the quality of the O's pitching since they replaced H / A / M is irrelevant in any evaluation of the team now? Is that your position?

Essentially, yes -- because I'd bet that most other teams don't do much worse. Some teams have probably done better. It isn't an uncommon magical event when teams cycle through 5.00+ ERA pitchers until they find guys who won't be quite so crappy.

Instead of having this argument you could've just looked at the stats for other teams after they cut their bad pitchers. You realize the national media usually has higher standards than a single set of statistics in a one-team vacuum.

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How about we try this a different way, since apparently the discussion of Hunter / Arrieta / Matusz is far to confusing for many of you to understand.

The O's current starting rotation and top 5 bullpen arms have an ERA of 3.28 and a WHIP of 1.25. That's the actual performance of the actual pitchers the team is putting on the field right now. It's not smoke and mirrors, its not magic that's created by removing the worst three pitchers. It's actual statistics you can look up.

The team is winning primarily because the current staff is pitching very well. If you don't believe that, then I'm not sure that you are vulnerable to reason.

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So the entire success of the O's team boils down to luck in one run games in your opinion?

You're never going to "boil down" the "entire success" of a team playing 162 games. They've won plenty of games where they weren't particularly lucky. But those marginal games, the difference between (as of tonight) 61 wins and 71 wins, yeah, lots of luck to be found there. Jim Johnson had a BABIP 100 points below his career average and a LOB% of 96.2% a few months ago. Pedro Strop, right now, has something like a 4.5 BB/9 and a 3.70 xFIP but has an ERA of 1.56.

That's as much analysis as you can muster?

Your analysis sucks. You can't just remove a ****-ton of data from a set and then act like you've drawn a useful conclusion.

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