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

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#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.

#41 Riverbrian

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:16 PM

You have to qualify for the Playoffs first... That's Obvious...

Once in the playoffs anything can happen but I don't know if Random is the right word. It's a fresh start and you gotta play ball. Season Records going into the playoffs only matter for seeding purposes but they don't carry over to the playoffs.


In 2001... The Seattle Mariners finished 116-46... Led By Freddie Garcia... Jamie Moyer and Aaron Sele on the Mound. It's the best baseball season (record wise) in the somewhat modern day.

During the course of that incredible Mariners 116-46 Season:

From April 29th to May 8th... The Mariners went 3-5
From May 18th to May 22nd... The Mariners went 1-3
From June 17th to June 28th... The Mariners went 4-7
From July 4th to July 7th... The Mariners went 1-3
From August 16th to August 20th... The Mariners went 2-3
From August 26th to August 31st... The Mariners went 2-3
From September 20 to September 23... The Team went 0-4

7 stretches of games that would have knocked them out of the playoffs at that time if it were the playoffs.

BTW... In the actual playoffs in 2001... The Mariners 116-46 record during the regular season... Did not reach the World Series... They just got past the Indians 3 games to 2 which included a 17 to 2 loss to the Indians before being knocked out by the Yankees 4 games to 1 in the ALCS

The Yankees lost to the D-Backs.

in 2012... The Minnesota Twins finished with a record of 66 and 96.

From May 28th to June 12th... The Twins went 10-3

A winning streak that was long enough to put the team in the World Series if the World Series was happening at that time. From July 27 to

August 7... The Twins were 9-3. Which would have also gotten them to the World Series.

Yes I know... The Opponents for the Twins were not World Series caliber for all of those games... But they were not World Series Caliber teams that the Mariners lost to during their down periods in 2001 either.

The point of it all... Baseball is a streaky game... Once the Playoff starts... It's a clean slate and the 1st team to 11 wins... Gets the title. Your regular season record doesn't apply to anyone anymore.

Who is playing the best baseball at that moment will win. It ain't so much random... It's who's hot... But you gotta get in... so... getting into the playoffs is always going to be the most important goal.

I just picked the 2001 Mariners because they had the best record and I picked the 2012 Twins because we know them so well.

Pick any year... Any team... And you will find stretches where anybody was hot enough to win it and cold enough to lose it.

#42 ashburyjohn

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:02 PM

During the course of that incredible Mariners 116-46 Season:


Very nice analysis.

The point of it all... Baseball is a streaky game...


So can coin flipping, if you have 30 teams flipping (weighted) coins 162 times a year against each other. With that many sequences of flips you could easily find sequences like these. Or so they say - it's been a long time since I ran a coin-flipping tournament on a rainy afternoon, and I didn't keep my records.

#43 Riverbrian

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:16 PM

Very nice analysis.



So can coin flipping, if you have 30 teams flipping (weighted) coins 162 times a year against each other. With that many sequences of flips you could easily find sequences like these. Or so they say - it's been a long time since I ran a coin-flipping tournament on a rainy afternoon, and I didn't keep my records.


I just started flipping a quarter to test your theory... It came up Heads 3 Times and Tails once and once it landed on edge propped up against my phone... I did a do over and it rolled under my desk. I tried to find it but it was gone. I had to leave my office for a second and I came back to my office and saw a co-worker who is always short of change drinking a coke. I'm now suspicious of him.

I think this means the Twins will win on Saturday! ;)

#44 Thrylos

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:28 PM

Good lord, are you going to take every single quote posted on this board and spin it as proof that the Twins don't want to win a World Series?

There is not a single player or coach in all of baseball that does not desperately want to win the World Series -- I can pretty much guarantee you that. It's time to put your bizarre obsession with this absurd notion to rest, or at least keep it to yourself.


It is not about wanting to win the World Series. Of course they do. This is not what I am arguing here.

It is about setting the bar of what success and "winning" are, up to there. Setting expectations. Saying that every season their goal (not their want, or they'd love to or whatever, because every team does) is to win the World Series... If the bar is set lower, mediocrity will "meet expectations" and everyone will be happy.

BTW, this quote is from Mauer, and not Ryan or Gardy. Still waiting.

Also, if the post-season were a crabshoot, the Twins would have won a World Series in the 00s and have been in at least another one. They haven't. On the other hand, look and the Giants and the Cards on relative post-season to WS success. Not a crabshoot.
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#45 Nick Nelson

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:35 PM

I think you can certainly argue that the Twins have not generally been well built to win in the playoffs. As a rule, teams with high-end starters, power hitting and (perhaps most importantly) experience are going to be better off, which helps explain the Yankees' string of success not so long ago, but not even those things are fail safe by any means. Just look at the Yankees lately. Won 95 games last year, then got pressed in the ALDS by the mediocre Orioles and trounced in the ALCS by the Tigers. The prior year the Yanks won 97 in the regular season and got knocked off in the first round.

At the end of the day, it really is more random than anything. As grover astutely put it, we're talking about 5-7 game series between the eight best teams in the game. No one blinks when the Royals beat the Yankees in a three-game series during the regular season. That's baseball.

For everyone who says an ace is the be-all, end-all ingredient for playoff success, consider that the Twins last won a playoff series with Joe Mays as their ace. In three of the next four years, they dropped out in first round with Johan Santana -- indisputably one of the greatest pitchers in the game -- fronting their rotation.

#46 Nick Nelson

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:43 PM

It is about setting the bar of what success and "winning" are, up to there. Setting expectations. Saying that every season their goal (not their want, or they'd love to or whatever, because every team does) is to win the World Series... If the bar is set lower, mediocrity will "meet expectations" and everyone will be happy.

Why do you care so much about the generic sound bytes they give out to the media? Utterly meaningless. Whether Terry Ryan tells a reporter that he wants to win the division or win the World Series (a matter of semantics, honestly) has no bearing on what will happen.

Anyway, making the playoffs is a fine goal. If your team is built to make the playoffs, it is by definition built to contend for a championship. Your implication seems to be that once they reach the postseason they stop trying, which just comes off as ignorant.

Also, if the post-season were a crabshoot, the Twins would have won a World Series in the 00s and have been in at least another one. They haven't. On the other hand, look and the Giants and the Cards on relative post-season to WS success. Not a crabshoot.

For multiple reasons, this illustrates that you do not understand what a crapshoot is.

#47 70charger

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 05:57 PM

For multiple reasons, this illustrates that you do not understand what a crapshoot is.


I was about to launch into a giant tirade about why this idea of a "crabshoot" is so godawful stupid, but I think you've summed it up pretty well. Not that he'd get it anyway...

#48 twinsnorth49

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:16 PM

I think crabshooting is illegal in the state of Minnesota.

http://t3.gstatic.co...fZ3aN_TDnmXD3cq

#49 grover738

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:18 PM

I think Riverbrian and I are saying the same thing. He says whichever team gets hot wins. I say it's pretty much random who wins. I guess it's obvious that which ever team gets hot wins. I think it's random who gets hot.

A bit more digging. Here are the playoff records and ERA of the Cy Young award winners the past 10 years.

2011 - Justin Verlander - 20.1 IP, 5.31 ERA, Tigers - 5 wins, 6 losses, lost in ALCS
2010 - Roy Halladay - 22 IP, 2.45 ERA, Phillies - 5 wins 4 losses, lost in NLCS
2007 - CC Sabathia - 15.1 IP, 8.80 ERA, Indians - 6 wins 5 losses, lost in ALCS
2006 - Johan Santana - 8.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, Twins - 0 wins 3 losses, lost in ALDS
2005 - Bartolo Colon 8.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, Angels - 4 wins 6 losses, lost in ALCS
2005 - Chris Carpenter 21.0 IP, 2.14 ERA, Cardinals - 5 wins, 4 losses, lost in NLCS
2004 - Johan Santana -12 IP, 0.75 ERA, Twins - 1 wins 3 losses, lost in ALDS
2004 - Roger Clemons - 25 IP, 3.60 ERA, Astros - 6 wins 6 losses, lost in NLCS

So teams made the playoffs 8 times in the last 10 years while having the BEST pitcher in their league. These teams were "built to win in the playoffs". And those teams have combined for a 32-37 record and have never made the world series.

Oh, and I see the Yankees losing the last couple of years not as a random thing, I see it as proof there is a God. And I am opposed to shooting crabs.

#50 JB_Iowa

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:31 PM

Anyway, making the playoffs is a fine goal. If your team is built to make the playoffs, it is by definition built to contend for a championship.

I'm not sure this is true. There still seems to me to be a difference between maintaining a steady course and holding a team together over the long course of the season and having a team that is built to win in shorter playoff series. I've thought about this a lot with regard to Gardenhire and why I think he's generally been a good regular season manager and yet had little playoff success. I think the Twins usually select players who have (or will develop) a conviviality with one another that allows them to function well over the course of a long season -- basically creating a team that (hopefully) won't implode due to personality conflicts (and I do think that may have led to "overachieving" during the regular season at times). But I also think that may lead to a team that is on too much of an "even keel" when they reach the playoffs -- and when they may need a player or two to get under other players' skins and to motivate when time is of the essence. I don't have any proof of this -- I'm just not sure that a team built to make the playoffs is NECESSARILY (or as you say, by definition) built to win a championship (and I think this may be especially true in the A.L. Central).

#51 Riverbrian

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:39 PM

I think Riverbrian and I are saying the same thing. He says whichever team gets hot wins. I say it's pretty much random who wins. I guess it's obvious that which ever team gets hot wins. I think it's random who gets hot.

A bit more digging. Here are the playoff records and ERA of the Cy Young award winners the past 10 years.

2011 - Justin Verlander - 20.1 IP, 5.31 ERA, Tigers - 5 wins, 6 losses, lost in ALCS
2010 - Roy Halladay - 22 IP, 2.45 ERA, Phillies - 5 wins 4 losses, lost in NLCS
2007 - CC Sabathia - 15.1 IP, 8.80 ERA, Indians - 6 wins 5 losses, lost in ALCS
2006 - Johan Santana - 8.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, Twins - 0 wins 3 losses, lost in ALDS
2005 - Bartolo Colon 8.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, Angels - 4 wins 6 losses, lost in ALCS
2005 - Chris Carpenter 21.0 IP, 2.14 ERA, Cardinals - 5 wins, 4 losses, lost in NLCS
2004 - Johan Santana -12 IP, 0.75 ERA, Twins - 1 wins 3 losses, lost in ALDS
2004 - Roger Clemons - 25 IP, 3.60 ERA, Astros - 6 wins 6 losses, lost in NLCS

So teams made the playoffs 8 times in the last 10 years while having the BEST pitcher in their league. These teams were "built to win in the playoffs". And those teams have combined for a 32-37 record and have never made the world series.

Oh, and I see the Yankees losing the last couple of years not as a random thing, I see it as proof there is a God. And I am opposed to shooting crabs.


:th_alc:

Before I got married "Randomly Hot" was a good discription of the girls I dated.

#52 70charger

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:02 PM

:th_alc:

Before I got married "Randomly Hot" was a good discription of the girls I dated.


win.

#53 FrodaddyG

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:24 PM

I think Riverbrian and I are saying the same thing. He says whichever team gets hot wins. I say it's pretty much random who wins. I guess it's obvious that which ever team gets hot wins. I think it's random who gets hot.

A bit more digging. Here are the playoff records and ERA of the Cy Young award winners the past 10 years.

2011 - Justin Verlander - 20.1 IP, 5.31 ERA, Tigers - 5 wins, 6 losses, lost in ALCS
2010 - Roy Halladay - 22 IP, 2.45 ERA, Phillies - 5 wins 4 losses, lost in NLCS
2007 - CC Sabathia - 15.1 IP, 8.80 ERA, Indians - 6 wins 5 losses, lost in ALCS
2006 - Johan Santana - 8.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, Twins - 0 wins 3 losses, lost in ALDS
2005 - Bartolo Colon 8.0 IP, 4.50 ERA, Angels - 4 wins 6 losses, lost in ALCS
2005 - Chris Carpenter 21.0 IP, 2.14 ERA, Cardinals - 5 wins, 4 losses, lost in NLCS
2004 - Johan Santana -12 IP, 0.75 ERA, Twins - 1 wins 3 losses, lost in ALDS
2004 - Roger Clemons - 25 IP, 3.60 ERA, Astros - 6 wins 6 losses, lost in NLCS

So teams made the playoffs 8 times in the last 10 years while having the BEST pitcher in their league. These teams were "built to win in the playoffs". And those teams have combined for a 32-37 record and have never made the world series.

Oh, and I see the Yankees losing the last couple of years not as a random thing, I see it as proof there is a God. And I am opposed to shooting crabs.

And yet every single one of those teams that weren't the Twins managed to make it past the Divisional series. Weird.

#54 Riverbrian

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:24 PM

win.


Yeah... But randomly not hot would also apply.

#55 twinsnorth49

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:38 PM

And yet every single one of those teams that weren't the Twins managed to make it past the Divisional series. Weird.


I'm sure that means a lot to them and their fans, I know I always remember the teams that finished 3rd the most.

#56 TheLeviathan

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:42 PM

For everyone who says an ace is the be-all, end-all ingredient for playoff success, consider that the Twins last won a playoff series with Joe Mays as their ace. In three of the next four years, they dropped out in first round with Johan Santana -- indisputably one of the greatest pitchers in the game -- fronting their rotation.


Now there is an "Homage to BYTO" topic we could all get fired up about. FWIW - I've always been in the same camp and got a good chuckle out of all of the media and fans that say "what we've always been missing is an ace!"

To me, what we've always been missing is just that one break that gets the ball rolling. See: The multiple bad breaks of 2006. Whether or not Gardy should be somehow accountable for not getting those breaks is beyond my pay grade, but at some point continued failure at least should generate consideration for changing up the "mojo" if nothing else.

#57 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:05 PM

So many of those teams just choked... Honestly, that started in 2004 when Gardy let Nathan in way too long. Everyone watching that game knew what was going to happen... except Gardy.

#58 The Wise One

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:48 PM

It is not about wanting to win the World Series. Of course they do. This is not what I am arguing here.

It is about setting the bar of what success and "winning" are, up to there. Setting expectations. Saying that every season their goal (not their want, or they'd love to or whatever, because every team does) is to win the World Series... If the bar is set lower, mediocrity will "meet expectations" and everyone will be happy.

BTW, this quote is from Mauer, and not Ryan or Gardy. Still waiting.

Also, if the post-season were a crabshoot, the Twins would have won a World Series in the 00s and have been in at least another one. They haven't. On the other hand, look and the Giants and the Cards on relative post-season to WS success. Not a crabshoot.


Is Dave St. Peter good enough?

"It's probably unreasonable to think we're just one or two players away from being a world championship contender at this point," St. Peter said. "At the end of the day, I think we're trying to build this thing and do it the right way. Ultimately, that's going to come from the players within this organization."
-----------------------------------------------

#59 Kwak

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:52 PM

I think you can certainly argue that the Twins have not generally been well built to win in the playoffs. As a rule, teams with high-end starters, power hitting and (perhaps most importantly) experience are going to be better off, which helps explain the Yankees' string of success not so long ago, but not even those things are fail safe by any means. Just look at the Yankees lately. Won 95 games last year, then got pressed in the ALDS by the mediocre Orioles and trounced in the ALCS by the Tigers. The prior year the Yanks won 97 in the regular season and got knocked off in the first round.

At the end of the day, it really is more random than anything. As grover astutely put it, we're talking about 5-7 game series between the eight best teams in the game. No one blinks when the Royals beat the Yankees in a three-game series during the regular season. That's baseball.

For everyone who says an ace is the be-all, end-all ingredient for playoff success, consider that the Twins last won a playoff series with Joe Mays as their ace. In three of the next four years, they dropped out in first round with Johan Santana -- indisputably one of the greatest pitchers in the game -- fronting their rotation.


I think you took both sides of the issue. 1) "The Twins have not generally been well built to win in the playoffs."
2) "At the end of the day, it really is more random than anything."

I definitely agree with statement 1). especially when you add "...high-end starters, power hitting and (perhaps more importantly) experience...". I maintain that the Twins were constructed "assymetrically" to "conventional wisdom" (high-end starters, power hitters) in order to assemble a more consistently entertaining team, but one with "less upside". Sort of like teams trading stars for multiple decent players who individually won't improve (much) but the two extra (decent) players will generate an additional win versus the lesser competition of the regular season, but won't help when opposed by the stouter playoff opponent. The three combined salaries quite like represent a cost saving when compared to the one star player plus the two "replaced" players.

I will disagree with statement 2). because it more than just losing four consectutive playoff series, but every game of those four playoff series. If entirely random there should have been some wins along the way. Random implies something like a 50% probability of a Win in any game. 0.5 raised to the 12th power is (rounded) 0.000244, or less than a .02% occurence of zero wins in 12 games, definately not random. Clearly, the other factors in baseball outweigh random occurence.

#60 TheLeviathan

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:01 PM

I will disagree with statement 2). because it more than just losing four consectutive playoff series, but every game of those four playoff series. If entirely random there should have been some wins along the way. Random implies something like a 50% probability of a Win in any game. 0.5 raised to the 12th power is (rounded) 0.000244, or less than a .02% occurence of zero wins in 12 games, definately not random. Clearly, the other factors in baseball outweigh random occurence.


Sure, that's one definition. I think "random" is being used here in terms of there not being one set method/formula/recipe etc for winning. So the idea that you can sit, pre-playoffs - and call the winner is not easy to do. The other factors in baseball come into play on a game-by-game basis, but the idea that you can solve the World Series by having a particular roster construction is WAY overplayed.

There have been plenty of WS winners in the last ten years that were FAR from ideal on paper and still found a way to win.