09-12-2012, 04:30 PM #41
I tend to think there's a cause-and-effect dynamic at play. Did the 2011 Twins lose because they lacked synergy, or did they lack synergy because they lost?
09-12-2012, 04:30 PM #42
While I agree that there is a correlation between run differential and won loss record, the reason that Baltimore is performing much better with a -22 RD is because they are 25-7 in 1 run games. They win the close games.
09-12-2012, 04:50 PM #43
winning close game is not a repeatable skill. There are studies on the interwebs that show that. Again, I am not saying there is no hope, I am saying you cannot base your company's strategy on hope.
09-12-2012, 05:28 PM #44
09-12-2012, 05:51 PM #45
09-12-2012, 05:54 PM #46
One thing I haven't seen noted is that while the Orioles "plan" may appear to be luck, they were building around a set of prospects. It's just many of their pitching specs have underwhelmed so far.
I still think this team's best bet is to build around it's largest collection of controlled talent and not to chase phantoms. Baltimore was doing exactly that and it has worked out, but for different reasons.
09-12-2012, 05:58 PM #47
09-12-2012, 06:04 PM #48
09-13-2012, 01:07 AM #49
The O's success this year has depended a lot on luck (which Nick acknowledged in his post), but Nick is right that the Twins would stand a puncher's chance next year if the pitching improves to a league-average level, which probably means eliminating 125-150 runs allowed. (Easier said than done, right?)
So what did the O's do in the past year to fix their team? To recap Nick...
They signed an inexpensive Asian SP (Chen costs $3.2M this year) who has been a bit better than league-average, unlike Terry Ryan's bargain flyer for the Twins rotation last spring.
They swapped league-average-ish SP's with Colorado (and got a good reliever, Matt Lindstrom, in the deal who was later traded for Joe Saunders, another dependably average SP). Freed from Coors Field, Jason Hammel has had a breakout season. (Btw, although Jeremy Guthrie fell apart in Colorado, he's also been very good through 10 starts with Kansas City this season.)
They found Miguel Gonzalez, a 28 year-old minor league free agent released by the Red Sox last winter (because he had a 6.17 ERA, 1.59 WHIP in 46.2 IP at AA last season), who has, incredibly, posted a 3.62 ERA, 1.23 WHIP in 79.2 IP (including 11 starts) for Baltimore.
One young pitcher, Chris Tillman, who struggled in 3 prior partial-seasons with the O's, suddenly has been very good in 11 starts this year. The other young pitcher Nick mentioned, Zach Britton, has been lit up a number of times this season, but recently he had a string of 4 very nice starts, too.
Finally, the bullpen has been very good. Whereas the Baltimore bullpen had a 4.18 ERA last year, it rates 4th in the AL with a 3.15 ERA this season. A few key relievers (Luis Ayala, Darren O'Day, Steve Johnson, Lindstrom) were not part of the team last year.
So, those things. Not to mention acquiring Wilson Betemit and Nate McLouth, who have been solid additions to the lineup, and Chris Davis having a minor breakout year at 26, after the O's got him from Texas for Koji Uehara last summer. And of course the lineup core (Jones, Markakis, Wieters, Hardy, Reynolds, all under 30 years old) are all playing well this season.
It's true that none of these moves cost a lot of money, or essential talent from the organization. But, at the same time, you'd have to admit that it is quite a few bargain-hunting moves (about 10, plus Tillman making the leap) that have worked out all at once for the O's. Tommy Hunter hasn't panned out, and a few of their pitching prospects besides Tillman have continued to scuffle, but a really high percentage of these bargain deals have paid off for them this year. You might even say that the O's front office has been as lucky as the team on the field. (I mean, Miguel Gonzalez! Come on!)
But a reason for Twins fans to hope? OK, sure. If Terry Ryan can pull off 8-10 inexpensive moves that work out, particularly if a few of them fill holes in the rotation, maybe Twins fans will get to enjoy such luck next year, too.
Last edited by frightwig; 09-13-2012 at 01:23 AM.
09-13-2012, 11:33 AM #50
09-13-2012, 12:38 PM #51
The cynic in me sees this article as pre-emptive rationalization for the Twins continuing to cut payroll and sign players players off the scrap heap. The Orioles are giving the Twins org a perfect excuse to stand pat or make minor changes on the periphery. I can't wait for the offseason.
"The lineup is great blah blah blah...Bruce Chen really solidifies the starting rotation... Diamond and Deduno are aces blah blah...are you guys as excited as me about (minor league FA no one has heard of)? He's the next Deduno...Just a tweak here and there and the Twins are blah blah blah..."
Here's to one more year of the Pohlads pissing on your leg and telling you it's raining!
09-13-2012, 01:20 PM #52
Interesting teams you mentioned there as many have strong similarities: most changed managers shortly before their hope-cited seasons.
Team, New Manager, Year Manager took over
2012 Orioles, Showalter, 2011
2012 Pirates, Hurdle, 2011
2011 DBacks, Gibson, Mid-Year 2010
2010 Padres, Black, 2007
2009 Rockies, Tracy, Mid-Year 2009 after 46 games (18-28)
2008 Astros, Cooper, Mid-Year 2007
2007 Indians, Wedge, 2002
So of the 7 teams cited - and I'm presuming those were off the top of your head, 5 of them replaced their manager either in the season of hope or in the year before. Sometimes, a new voice can get players to perform better than the old voice. That's not saying that the managers they replaced weren't good. New 2009 Rockies voice Jim Tracy, for example, replaced old voice Clint Hurdle - who later became the new voice for the Pirates. I'm not suggesting that a change at manager absolutely turns the team around; just saying that when teams turn around after struggles, sometimes it is easier to do with a different leader.
Finally, I totally agree. I'd feel much luckier with improved pitching. Diamond is not a #1 guy in 2012, nor Deduno, nor DeVries, nor Hendricks, and none of them figure to be in 2013. Pavano is not a #1 guy. A healthy Baker is not a #1 guy. If league average pitching is what is needed, the team needs a #1 and a #2 to go with the #3 (maybe Diamond), #4s, and #5s (the rest) that we have.
09-13-2012, 06:31 PM #53
If you are winning more than you are losing it stands to reason that you are scoring more runs than you are giving up. It wouldn't be surprising if teams with the better records have better run differential... It should be expected. I expect to see that in side by side comparisons.
However... A negative run differential and a winning record doesn't mean a team is lucky. It simply suggests that they have lost big on occasion and won a bunch of close games. If I see a team winning a bunch of close games. I see a team playing baseball. If I was an Oriole and someone was writing me off as lucky with the good vibe they have going. I'd have Jim Thome pick up Brian Roberts by the ankles and strike you with him.
They did it again today. 3 to 2 in extra innings over Tampa. Tip your cap to them. Don't diminish it with the comment of luck. Key hits, moving runners over, Big pitches, bullpen picking up the starters, Big catches, exgressive base running, smart plays in the field isnt luck. Its baseball being played the right way. They don't deserve being called lucky. Calling them lucky is bad form.
As for changing managers. I like Gardy and think he's a good manager. I'd help build a statue in front of Target field but I do think a change in leadership would be a good thing. Good for Gardy and good for the Twins. Gardy can take over the Blue Jays next year and do great things. (They have lots of catchers in the Jays organization). The Twins could have a fresh voice because I believe inspiration is important even if it primarily comes from the players themselves. At least I believe it's the job of the players to inspire each other.
Speaking of inspiration. I believe that is correct word to use. The Orioles are inspired right now. Not lucky... Inspired!!! If you are inspired... You work hard... If you work hard... You create some luck.
Your list of managers is interesting. I hadn't really thought about that. One explanation is that teams change managers frequently. There are only a couple of managers who have stayed with the same club for a long long time.
For a team to come out of nowhere they had to be nowhere. Not many managers survive nowhere. Gardy could be the exception.
Decent pitching is the the great equalizer. Pitching can keep you in games and when you are in a game... The guy hitting .180 can drop a game winner in... Please Terry Ryan... Whatever it takes... Brings us some arms next year and defense to support that pitching. At gunpoint if you have to.
Last edited by Riverbrian; 09-13-2012 at 06:34 PM.