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Kepner (NY Times): Ryan Looks to recapture past success

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#21 mike wants wins

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:59 AM

Which is why the real best team is the team with the best regular season record. the playoffs don't indicate the best team very well at all, frankly. No playoffs do.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#22 Willihammer

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:11 AM

You don't end up with those kind of numbers through simply underachieving and poor managing, you get them by not being talented enough. I'd like to get back to where we were but not what we were, we need deeper talent next time around. Having said that, the next time may just be one of those "lightning in a bottle" times that characterize the playoffs.


This is my thought as well. I think its strange that Gardy is the one with his feet to the fire when for most of those teams, JR was the GM in charge of filling out his roster. Seems a little one-sided to me. That's my only quibble.

#23 nicksaviking

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:37 AM

IMO, it is all about just getting to the playoffs. Once you're there, you might get hot and make a run. I'd argue that a look at the recent world series winners shows you just have to get there.

2012 - Giants - tied for 3rd best record in NL.
2011 - Cardinals - 4th best record in NL
2010 - Giants - 2nd best record in NL, 92 wins
2009 - NYY - best record in AL
2008 - Phillies - 2nd best record in NL
2007 - Red Sox - 2nd best record in AL
2006 - Cardinals - 4th best record in NL
2005 - White Sox - best record in AL
2004 - Red Sox - 2nd best record in AL
2003 - Florida - 3rd best record in NL

So over the last 10 years, the "worst" team to make the playoffs (from the league that won) has won the world series as often as the best team. Baseball playoffs are a crap shoot. Any team can beat any other team in a 7 games series, even more so in a 5 game series. Just because the twins didn't win it all during their recent run of success doesn't mean they were doing anything wrong, it just means that it didn't happen.


It's not a crap shoot, every one of those teams save perhaps the 2011 Cardinals had a better top of the rotaion than any the Twins sent to the playoffs. You need great pitching, particularly guys with dominating stuff. Only the 2011 Cardinals and 2005 White Sox had staffs that weren't full of strikeout artists.

#24 Longdistancetwins

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:00 AM

It's not a crap shoot, every one of those teams save perhaps the 2011 Cardinals had a better top of the rotaion than any the Twins sent to the playoffs. You need great pitching, particularly guys with dominating stuff. Only the 2011 Cardinals and 2005 White Sox had staffs that weren't full of strikeout artists.


Good point, and the quality of pitching was alluded to in the piece. Anyway, thanks for pointing the article out. I'm in New York and am not used to looking in the Times for Twins news.

#25 twinsnorth49

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:00 AM

I hate Joe Mauer.


Posted Image......................what's this about again?

#26 birdwatcher

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:24 AM

Well, of COURSE the Twins are striving for mediocrity. What bugs me is that they could strive for putridity instead, and I'm angry and hateful about this, and have been all Millenium. I think I'll call someone names.

#27 grover738

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:12 AM

It's not a crap shoot, every one of those teams save perhaps the 2011 Cardinals had a better top of the rotaion than any the Twins sent to the playoffs. You need great pitching, particularly guys with dominating stuff. Only the 2011 Cardinals and 2005 White Sox had staffs that weren't full of strikeout artists.


Ok, let's look at strikeouts, in my book the best measure of "dominating stuff". Let's compare the team that won the world series to the other 3 teams that made the playoffs from their league in each of the last 10 years:

2012 - Giants - 3rd out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2011 - Cardinals - 3rd out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2010 - Giants - 1st out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2009 - NYY - 1st out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2008 - Phillies - 4th out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2007 - Red Sox - Tied for 1st out of 4 AL playoff teams
2006 - Cardinals - 4th out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2005 - White Sox - 2nd out of the 4 AL playoff teams
2004 - Red Sox - 2nd out of the 4 AL playoff teams
2003 - Florida - 2nd out of the 4 NL playoff teams

So, 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 4th, 4th, T1st, 4th, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd. See a pattern? I don't. It's random. Because it's a crap shoot. 162 games determines the best teams. 5 & 7 game series determine the world series champ. Just get to the playoffs, anything could happen. Just because it didn't happen for the Twins doesn't mean they were built wrong. It just means they didn't win it all. Everyone wants a reason, sometimes there is no reason.

There seems to be this belief that the only way you win a world series with with a dominant #1 and/or #2 starter who strikes out a ton of people and carries the team to victory, winning the MVP. The only examples I could find of this happening in the last 20 years was the 1995 Braves (Glavine) the 2001 Diamondbacks (Schilling & Johnson) and the 2003 Marlins (Beckett).

Hamels won the MVP in 2008, but only struck out 8 guys in 13 innings. Livian Hernandez won it in 1997 with 7 strikeouts in 13.6 innings. Heck, in 1991 Jack Morris only struck out 9 guys in 23 innings, for a Blackburnish K/9 rate of 3.5. Think a K/9 rate of 3.5 would produce an ERA of 1.17 over a 162 game season? It did over 3 starts in October of 1991.

Meanwhile, guys like David Freese, Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein, Jermaine Dye, Scott Brosius and Pat Borders have won world series MVPs. Why? Because anything can happen in 7 games.

Edited by grover738, 22 February 2013 - 11:15 AM.


#28 ThePuck

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:16 AM

Meanwhile, guys like David Freese, Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein, Jermaine Dye, Scott Brosius and Pat Borders have won world series MVPs. Why? Because anything can happen in 7 games.


It's been a long time since we got to a 7 game series to find out...or a 4th game of a 5 game series for that matter... :-)

#29 Riverbrian

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:42 AM

Ok, let's look at strikeouts, in my book the best measure of "dominating stuff". Let's compare the team that won the world series to the other 3 teams that made the playoffs from their league in each of the last 10 years:

2012 - Giants - 3rd out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2011 - Cardinals - 3rd out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2010 - Giants - 1st out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2009 - NYY - 1st out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2008 - Phillies - 4th out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2007 - Red Sox - Tied for 1st out of 4 AL playoff teams
2006 - Cardinals - 4th out of the 4 NL playoff teams
2005 - White Sox - 2nd out of the 4 AL playoff teams
2004 - Red Sox - 2nd out of the 4 AL playoff teams
2003 - Florida - 2nd out of the 4 NL playoff teams

So, 3rd, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 4th, 4th, T1st, 4th, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd. See a pattern? I don't. It's random. Because it's a crap shoot. 162 games determines the best teams. 5 & 7 game series determine the world series champ. Just get to the playoffs, anything could happen. Just because it didn't happen for the Twins doesn't mean they were built wrong. It just means they didn't win it all. Everyone wants a reason, sometimes there is no reason.

There seems to be this belief that the only way you win a world series with with a dominant #1 and/or #2 starter who strikes out a ton of people and carries the team to victory, winning the MVP. The only examples I could find of this happening in the last 20 years was the 1995 Braves (Glavine) the 2001 Diamondbacks (Schilling & Johnson) and the 2003 Marlins (Beckett).

Hamels won the MVP in 2008, but only struck out 8 guys in 13 innings. Livian Hernandez won it in 1997 with 7 strikeouts in 13.6 innings. Heck, in 1991 Jack Morris only struck out 9 guys in 23 innings, for a Blackburnish K/9 rate of 3.5. Think a K/9 rate of 3.5 would produce an ERA of 1.17 over a 162 game season? It did over 3 starts in October of 1991.

Meanwhile, guys like David Freese, Edgar Renteria, David Eckstein, Jermaine Dye, Scott Brosius and Pat Borders have won world series MVPs. Why? Because anything can happen in 7 games.


Well Done Grover!!! Grade A... Plus 1... Applause... If the Like Button was still here... You'd be getting a Notification in your inbox that Riverbrian liked this post.

#30 twinsnorth49

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:53 AM

Atlanta had arguably the best pitching staff of the 90's, winning 6 Cy Young awards, they reached the WS 5 times and won only once. That's a good reflection on the fickleness of playoff baseball.

#31 birdwatcher

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:00 PM

Atlanta had arguably the best pitching staff of the 90's, winning 6 Cy Young awards, they reached the WS 5 times and won only once. That's a good reflection on the fickleness of playoff baseball.


They just weren't striving.

#32 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:23 PM

It's not a crap shoot, every one of those teams save perhaps the 2011 Cardinals had a better top of the rotaion than any the Twins sent to the playoffs. You need great pitching, particularly guys with dominating stuff. Only the 2011 Cardinals and 2005 White Sox had staffs that weren't full of strikeout artists.


I really believe you're on the right track here. Winning a World Series is hard, partly because you have to have a team capable of doing two things, a) finishing well in a very long season, and B) winning in short series when the approach changes. You don't face the same pitchers in the post-season, again for two reasons, a) the mediocrities don't get their innings anymore, and B) the stars no longer hold back in order to survive the long season; on the offense side, similar things are in play, so you might see platooning for lefty-righty reasons but not just in order to give your regulars some rest.

Grover's listing of strikeout rankings for teams might change if one took the time to sift out the fifth- and sixth-starters and the long-men in the bullpen, aside from whether strikeouts tell the whole story (although they are along the right track).

I have no idea how to quantify the concept, but the "piranhas" and hustle guys that the Twins ran out there to win enough games in the regular season seemed to be overmatched in the post-season. They have what it takes to compete when the opposition has AAAA and benchwarmer major leagues sprinkled through the lineup, but when the opponents in the playoffs no longer give you free outs to shorten your pitchers' innings, and no longer give you many mistake pitches, and are no longer flummoxed when you attempt to bunt for a base hit, well, if you are Boof Bonser or Jason Tyner, and the other team has beaten your one ace pitcher 3-2, what do you have left in your bag of tricks? Not too much, I'm sorry to report, you just "try real hard, get 'em tomorrow".

The guys Grover listed like Freese and Renteria are a clear step up from the Jason Tyners that the Twins (to their credit, in one sense) get the most out of during the regular season but then try to succeed with in the post-season.

As I said, I don't know how to quantify what defines the kind of player I'm talking about, but we recognize them when we see them: the Pedro Florimons who with a little more coaching *may* figure out how to stick the bat out there against regular-season pitching and get a few more base hits, but will revert to futility against real talent in the playoffs.

#33 twinsnorth49

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:23 PM

They just weren't striving.


Clearly decided they had gone far enough.

#34 Kwak

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:28 PM

Much back-and-forth here. It seems there are two groups--Group A "It's Random, just get to the playoffs and Hope to get Lucky!" and
Group B "The Twins Front Office are Idiots!" Methinks there should be a Group C.

#35 James

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

Much back-and-forth here. It seems there are two groups--Group A "It's Random, just get to the playoffs and Hope to get Lucky!" and
Group B "The Twins Front Office are Idiots!" Methinks there should be a Group C.

What about group C: "The playoffs are random and the Twins FO are idiots"?

I wouldn't put myself in that group, but it's a logical group C.

You can come up with statistics to prove anything. Forty percent of all people know that.


#36 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:26 PM

It's a little of both when it comes to talent vs. performance in the playoffs. I'd argue that the 2009 team had no business even being in the playoffs after MIN and DET both tried their hardest to not make it (though watching Nathan blow game 1 was disheartening to say the least), but I would not make the same excuse for 2004, 2006, or 2010. Those teams were good enough to advance, and they wet their pants.

#37 grover738

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 01:57 PM

I really believe you're on the right track here. Winning a World Series is hard, partly because you have to have a team capable of doing two things, a) finishing well in a very long season, and B) winning in short series when the approach changes. You don't face the same pitchers in the post-season, again for two reasons, a) the mediocrities don't get their innings anymore, and B) the stars no longer hold back in order to survive the long season; on the offense side, similar things are in play, so you might see platooning for lefty-righty reasons but not just in order to give your regulars some rest.

Grover's listing of strikeout rankings for teams might change if one took the time to sift out the fifth- and sixth-starters and the long-men in the bullpen, aside from whether strikeouts tell the whole story (although they are along the right track).

I have no idea how to quantify the concept, but the "piranhas" and hustle guys that the Twins ran out there to win enough games in the regular season seemed to be overmatched in the post-season. They have what it takes to compete when the opposition has AAAA and benchwarmer major leagues sprinkled through the lineup, but when the opponents in the playoffs no longer give you free outs to shorten your pitchers' innings, and no longer give you many mistake pitches, and are no longer flummoxed when you attempt to bunt for a base hit, well, if you are Boof Bonser or Jason Tyner, and the other team has beaten your one ace pitcher 3-2, what do you have left in your bag of tricks? Not too much, I'm sorry to report, you just "try real hard, get 'em tomorrow".

The guys Grover listed like Freese and Renteria are a clear step up from the Jason Tyners that the Twins (to their credit, in one sense) get the most out of during the regular season but then try to succeed with in the post-season.

As I said, I don't know how to quantify what defines the kind of player I'm talking about, but we recognize them when we see them: the Pedro Florimons who with a little more coaching *may* figure out how to stick the bat out there against regular-season pitching and get a few more base hits, but will revert to futility against real talent in the playoffs.


I have a way to quantify the concept. Players who have world series rings have "it" and players who don't don't. BUT - "it" is only good for the year you won it, not for the future.

Just look at the Giants from last year. Yes, they had Cain, who was 5th in Cy Young voting. They came back after being down 2-0 to the Reds (who had Johnny Cueto, 4th in Cy Young voting), then came back from being down 3-1 to beat the Cardinals (who had Lohse, 6th in Cy Young voting) then swept the Tigers, who are "built" to win postseason games, with Verlander (Close 2nd in Cy Young voting) at the top of the rotation. Random.

It's tempting to look at the weaknesses (I'm no Jason Tyner fan) of Twins teams that failed in the playoffs and, in hindsight, say that they were missing something, then look at their weakness as a team, which was (ignoring Santana and pre-surgery Liriano) the lack of high end fireballers, then say that you need one or more high end fireballers to win.

But the great thing about baseball is that all the information is out there, a few clicks away. And the only thing that info shows is.........(drumroll).......you have to make the playoffs to win the world series. Because a 5 or 7 game series between two of the best 8 teams in baseball is a random crap shoot.

#38 Willihammer

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 02:45 PM

As a project right now, I'm going back through all team v team records dating back to 1996, to try and build on John's binary probability blog from a few months ago. The first goal being, to try and account for differences in divisional strength, as an indicator of playoff success or failure. I am a long way from finished. I can say at this point, the early returns are showing that non-divisional Pythagorean records within the same league, during the regular season, appears to have a more sizeable correlation with playoff series success than 0.07. As examples, the Twins faced 2 eventual world champions during the 00s - the 2002 Angels and the 2009 Yankees. Those teams had .686 and .610 non-divisional Pythagorean records in 2002 and 2009 respectively. By comparison, the Twins' non-divisional (same league) W-L% were just .478 and .402.

#39 Kwak

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:10 PM

Save your time--statistics only display the result of what happened not why it happened. Matchups, psychology, injuries (yes those "little ones" where a guy still plays--but not as well), fatigue, weather, manager's decisions, scorer's decisions (hit or error), capability of the fielder, the field, lighting ("dome hits") and so on. The game is played by people and the end result is caused by people, not probability, or prior results. True, there is an element of luck or "random events", but over time that element is over-rated.

#40 grover738

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:26 PM

As a project right now, I'm going back through all team v team records dating back to 1996, to try and build on John's binary probability blog from a few months ago. The first goal being, to try and account for differences in divisional strength, as an indicator of playoff success or failure. I am a long way from finished. I can say at this point, the early returns are showing that non-divisional Pythagorean records within the same league, during the regular season, appears to have a more sizeable correlation with playoff series success than 0.07. As examples, the Twins faced 2 eventual world champions during the 00s - the 2002 Angels and the 2009 Yankees. Those teams had .686 and .610 non-divisional Pythagorean records in 2002 and 2009 respectively. By comparison, the Twins' non-divisional (same league) W-L% were just .478 and .402.


I'd be interested in seeing where that ends up after crunching the data. One tough thing about the playoffs is that you could play between 3 games and 19 games assuming no play-in games. You could go 11-3 and win it all. Or you could lose the first 3 games and be done. Maybe you were about to go on an 11 game run, but you'll never know because you got swept out in the first 3 games. Drawing conclusions on teams that lost their first 3 games or 3 out of 4 would be difficult. If everyone played 19 games, and the team with the best record won, well then you could draw better correlations between whatever regular season factor you select and playoff success.