Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Two Battles in Baseball

In baseball, unlike most sports, there are two battles going on at all times. One is the home team vs. the away team(team a vs. team b) and the second is the batter against the pitcher. This makes baseball a unique sport because the batter vs. pitcher matchup is on a microscopic level and the team a vs. team b matchup is on a macroscopic level. There are 162 games a season but tens of thousands of batter/pitcher matchups. This is why baseball is based around statistics. The reason for this is that you can turn all those pitcher/batter matchups into wins and losses much easier than offense/defense matchups into wins and losses.

The whole point of baseball is to get an edge. If the league average ERA is 4.20 and you're playing a team with an ERA of 4.70 you have a better chance to win. This is why the Red Sox have been so successful. They've have an above average rotation and they get on base at a freakishly high rate. The Yankees can never have a bad season because their hitters see 4.1 pitches per PA(the league average is around 3.6) and the more pitches you see the better the chance is of getting on-base. This way even if the Yankees start the season badly they'll end up doing well because the chances of going .500 with your team seeing 4.1 pitches per PA is nearly impossible.

The way baseball works is like this. You make the pitcher work(throw a lot of pitches) in every PA therefore getting on-base more often and tiring out the pitcher. The more you get on base the more runs you score and the more the pitcher tires out. As long as you keep the game close while you're tiring out the pitcher you'll win(most of the time) because every teams' weakness are their middle relievers and if you get to them, your chances to drive in runs increase by a lot. Just take the Mets-Yankees game Saturday afternoon(I live in Israel therefore I'm 7 hours ahead), the Mets kept it close, tired out Andy Pettitte and then blew the game open when Kyle Farnsworth came in. You know what happens when you score runs? YOU WIN GAMES!