Monday, July 26, 2010

Rox Talk - Week 16

The Week That Was
A 1-6 week against the Marlins and Phillies. The Rox currently stand at 51-47. Seven and half games back from division leading San Diego in fourth place. Currently 31-16 at home and 20-31 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 461-433 (expected wins is 52 versus historical wins at 46). On pace for 84 wins with 762 runs scored and 716 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.06 (>1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

And that my friends is the season. It is time to face facts that with this disastrous road trip the Rox are no longer in contention. With 64 games remaining, seven and half games out, three teams ahead in the standings it would require the Rox to go 39 - 25 down the stretch to get to 90 wins. MLB playoff odds stand at 7.1 which is the lowest all season. The simple fact is that we are running out of games and Padres aren't making it any easier. Padres at 58 - 39 only have to go 32 - 33 to win 90. Meanwhile Rox are only 4.5 out in the Wild Card but again being 4th in our own division it makes it tough to leap frog all of these teams.

Because of this I think the management really needs to build for next year instead. Time to rid the team of Hawpe, Iannetta, and maybe Rodgers to bring in a some more offense. See below for some information. Rox need to realize that good teams consistency win and that winning teams don't just go on 20 games wins to squeak into the playoffs. Rox need to be consistent winners. Nose dives like this last road trip just show how much the Rox really lack that playoff drive. Sure the Rox are a good team but they just seem to be lacking something...

Winning Percentage versus Offense Prowess
It would seem that the pundits are claiming what the Rox are missing is some offense power. It has been highlighted that hitting with runner's in scoring position has been dismal. Well what does the data show? The figure below shows home runs by teams versus their winning percentage. The darker blots are the division leading teams and the purple dot is the Rox.

Not a lot of correlation between winning and hitting homers. The next figure shows slugging percentage versus winning percentage. Data shows a bit better correlation. From this figure it would suggest the Rox are slugging fine. Perhaps some more pop but Rox aren't that far off.

And finally the final figure shows how often baserunners score. While this is not specifically batting average with runner's in scoring position it does show how teams bat when there is a runner on base. From the figure below it would seem that teams that score runner tend to win more...duh! Either way Rox don't seem to be in that bad of position. They are least in the top half. At 0.146 (351 runs scored with 2388 at bats with runner's on base), Rox are above the league average of 0.143.
So either way I don't think the Rox aren't winning because they can't drive runs in. More important is that they aren't scoring when it counts...a study for a later day...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rox Talk - Week 15

The Week That Was
A 1-2 week against the Reds. The Rox currently stand at 50-41. Four games back from division leading San Diego in second place. Currently 31-16 at home and 19-25 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 434-396 (expected wins is 49 versus historical wins at 42). On pace for 89wins with 773 runs scored and 705 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.10 (>1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

With 90 games in the books, we have completed the 5th 18 game stretch. This stretch we really won some games we didn't deserve especially against St Louis. We should have only one eight but with these wins are record is more in line with expected W/L record. Rox certainly scored a lot of runs this stretch but also gave up a lot. Starting pitching kind back to earth yet the bullpen kept the team in there allowing the offense to win a few. Fowler came back with a vengeance, guess he didn't like Colorado Springs all that much (me neither!).

All Star Game and Second Half Start
Relatively quiet All Star game. The Year of the Pitcher continues. Jimenez make the Rox look good going two innings. Nothing flashy just a well pitched two innings. The National League went on to win after McCann's double plated the winning runs. Interesting side note was that many believe McCann wasn't deserving of an All Star nod (and thus wins the MVP award). So if things had played out, it could have been Olivo in there and then what would have happened? Hopefully the same result which still would have brought the National League home field advantage. So with Jimenez starting the All Star game, I wondered how many pitchers started an All Star game and then went on to start Game 1 of the World Series. Quite a few actually as the table below shows. The last was 1998 with David Wells. Also in 1939 both All Star pitchers wound up pitching Game One of the Series.

With 74 games remaining what needs to happen for the Rox to make the playoffs?

1) Jimenez and Hammel need to continue pitching lights out. De La Rosa needs to get back into the grove and Cook or Francis need to find some innings.
2) Consistent bullpen with Betancourt and Street closing down the 8th and 9th inning.
3) Healthy Tulo return
4) Line up consistency
5) Helton riding the bench and whoever at first gaining some production

Right now I think the team is borderline playoff material. They have shown some instances of being a good team but inconsistency between the pieces (one day good pitching, no hitting, one day hitting but bad bullpen...) has kept this team from gaining on the Padres. I think at this point we can safely say the wheels aren't going to fall off the Padres so Rox need to start winning, a lot! No Wild Card, let's be greedy and win the West!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alternative Universe Standing 2010

At the All Star Break you can see how the team's stack up in my alternate universe.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rox Talk - Week 14

The Week That Was
A 5-1 week against the Cardinals and Padres. The Rox currently stand at 49-39. Two games back from division leading San Diego in second place. Currently 31-16 at home and 18-23 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 430-385 (expected wins is 48 versus historical wins at 41). On pace for 90 wins with 792 runs scored and 709 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.12 (>1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

At the All Star Break, the Rox sit at 49 - 39. A nice July run has put the Rox right on the heels of Padres for the division lead. Had it not been for a late inning bullpen meltdown, the Rox could have been tied with the Padres for the lead at 50 wins. As a fan this season, it has been a bit maddening. We have seen so many individual highlights but we have yet to see the team breakout and just hit and pitch. This latest winning streak has seen the offense breakout of its funk and yet the pitching has disintegrated.

Since Game 67 (35-32), the Rox have seen the projected runs allowed grow from 619 to 709 in 21 games. In that same stretch runs scored has only gone from 730 to 792. The bullpen is obviously tired. This time last year they had pitched only 257.2 innings while this year they have gone 275.1 innings. With Morales and Corpas already in the doghouse, Daley injured, Belisle seeing a ton of innings already, it might make sense for O'Dowd to find that seventh inning specialist from the American League to come in and give some late inning relief. Again I think it will be a quiet trade deadline for our Rox as we really don't have a real deficiency assuming Tulo can come back sooner than later. This will allow Barmes to slink back to second. With de la Rosa back in the fold the Rox are basically getting a new starter. All in all I think what we see on the field now will take us to the playoffs.

Short post this week (All Star Writing Break) and just a quick shutout to Ubaldo Jimenez and Troy Tulowitzki for their All Star nods. Plus for all those Pirate fans out there who think their team will never be good again well just think a Colorado pitcher is starting in the All Star Game!If that can happen anything in baseball can happen! What an achievement. Let's hope U-Ball wows like his hero Pedro...

Interesting to note the offensive all stars haven't done much while pitching has done pretty well. An instance that pitching does beat hitting?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Rox Talk - Week 13

The Week That Was
A 5-2 week against the Padres and Giants. The Rox currently stand at 44-38. Five games back from division leading San Diego in third place. Currently 26-15 at home and 18-23 on the road, the Rox have outscored its opponents 385-348 (expected wins is 45 versus historical wins at 38). On pace for 87 wins with 761 runs scored and 688 runs against. Playoff indicator (Runs scored/Runs Against ratio) is 1.11 (>1.16 indicates high playoff potential).

At the half way point, the Rox sat at 43 - 38. Not a bad place to be but sitting in third place makes it a long road to climb. Thing you have to love about baseball is the unpredictably. I mean I will be honest I didn't even bother thinking about the Padres during the preseason. No one gave them any love and yet here they sit, sixteen games above .500. An amazing first half but can it continue? I am going to say yes because you don't play that kind of ball and just disappear. Will 86 wins make it?

Half Way Point
Back in March I provided an overview of 2010 projections comparing Bill James, Marcels, and CHONE. I added ZiPS later. Each of these projections provided at bats, plate appearances, run scored and wOBA for each hitter and innings pitched, runs allowed, and FIP for each pitcher. Taking each of these data points and averaging them I put together a projection for a Rox projected lineup. Since we passed the halfway game mark, we are approximately halfway through the season so how do the projections stack up to the real data (i.e. CarGo has scored 49 runs this year so far so he is projected to score 98).

The solid bar represents the average of the four projections and the red line is the 1st quarter pace while the blue line is the halfway pace. So above represents that CarGo is on pace for about 30 more runs then what the average projection had him before the start of the season. Obviously Hawpe's injury limited his time so his numbers are low and with Ianetta stuck in AAA he isn't scoring a lot of runs in the big leagues. Interesting to see Tulo still above his projection even though he is injured and all the Barmes haters can shut up and take notice that he has been offensively playing a lot better. The projections don't do the bench players much justice because they assume they will get a lot more starts and thus more runs. Based on this analysis the team is on pace to score 791 runs.
In addition to the hitters the above graph shows the runs allowed for the pitchers. With the pitching flux this year it is hard to get a real feel for what this staff is capable of. U-Ball continues to be amazing albeit more earth like. Hammel is doing well but Francis seems to be hitting a wall after a year off from pitching. Relief pitching seems to be settling in especially with Street back. Team is on pace to only allow 658 runs which would be a new team record. We shall see...

Based on projections the team is headed for about 94 wins but with other stats (WAR and wOBA/FIP) it would seem the Rox are only headed for about 83 wins. Little low to ensure a Wild Card or Division Title but still in the hunt!