25 November 2010

No Visible Means of Support

In games allowing three runs or less, the 2010 Diamondbacks stumbled to the worst record for that split in the National League. Not helpful, when your pitching is already terrible and usually yielding more runs than three.

The record itself (37-22) doesnt sound too bad, until you contrast it with other teams' splits within the division:

Padres 70-16 +54

Rockies 58-14 +44

Giants 65-23 +42

Dodgrs 59-20 +39

That divisional range of 54 to 39 games over .500, represents a huge advantage over Arizona (+15), in a relatively small number of "like" games. Arizona held opponents to three or fewer runs less often(59) than any NL team except Pittsburgh (52), while our divisional rivals averaged over eighty. Part of that is because we're anchored in a hitters' park - and part because our pitching was subpar. ( By comparison, the high altitude Rockies managed 72 such staff performances.)

But in addition, as stated at the outset, Arizona managed the worst W/L percentage in these games, that teams are generally predisposed to win. It would seem that has little to do with pitching or defense, as that's essentially been controlled for. It's the offense that's not taking sufficient advantage of these well pitched games.

The Diamondbacks' offense inspires varied opinions, some not suitable for a genteel blog - or even here. They scored a league average number of runs while shattering fans' patience and the all time seasonal strikeout mark. Is their failure in well pitched games merely bad luck (random variation) or is it an embedded offensive shortcoming?

What's troubling about this is we made a similar discovery in 2009, using starters' Game Scores from Bill James Online. Then, the Dbacks sported a league worst record when their starter pitched well (Game Score 50-69). So it's not an identical finding, but it's consistent with the idea that Dback bats dont support their better pitching performances as well as we might expect, at least not based on seasonal run totals.

Based on seasonal runs, Pittsburgh and Houston were the league's worst offenses, by a considerable margin. They each scored roughly a hundred runs less than league average - and a hundred less than Arizona. Here are their records when they held their opposition to three runs or less:

Houston 60-15 +45
Pittsbrg 40-12 +28

What's going on here?

1 comment:

Diamondhacks said...

For methodology's sake, I revisited Bill James' "Performance By Quality of Start" for this year, and the Dbacks are - again - dead last in the NL when their starters throw up a Game Score between 50-69 (above average).

Here's the NLW records when each team's starters had Game Scores of 50 or above:

SFO 78-26
SDG 72-27
COL 62-29
LAD 64-34
ARI 51-38

Unlike the measure in the post, the bullpen isnt controlled for here, so logic suggests they're partly to blame. But whatever combo of offense and bullpen is kicking these games away, the result is we're winning 57% of these good to excellent starts, while the rest of the division wins over 70%.