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Enjoying the Playoffs

So far, I’ve been pretty happy with the playoffs. While the ALCS looks like it might end a little early, the NLCS is shaping up to be as good as it was last year. We’ve really seen some great pitching in both series.

Which got me to thinking about which Tigers could be playing a role in either of the league championship series if they played for any of the four remaining teams. Definitely Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez, but other then those two, it’s a little spotty. A healthy Carlos Guillen would be better then David Eckstein. And I could also see a guy like Craig Monroe possibly playing the role of a fourth outfielder. Jeremy Bonderman might be a fourth or fifth starter, and Fernando Rodney and Franklyn German could round out somebody’s pen.

The problem is, most of these guys would be more role players on one of the teams contending for the World Series, while on our team, they’re the best we’ve got. That’s why I think Jim Leyland has his work cut out for him, as Tram did the last three seasons. Throw in the fact that we have a light free agent market this year and it leads me to thinking the Tigers might be a few more years away then I initially hoped.

For now though, I’ll be enjoying the rest of the playoffs. Once things are over with, I have a laundry list of things I want to do on the blog. No diary for the Tigers next year, so I think I’m going to do a combination of season lookbacks like Black Sox Blog is doing, along with some All Decade Teams similar to what Blade over at Reds Cutting Edge has done. One of the things I didn’t get to last off season was a look at Norm Cash’s 1961 season, so I’m also hoping to do something on that. And of course we’ll be following the Tigers through off season along with my weekly Business of Baseball Report over at the Hardball Times.

And now of course the Astros are up 3-1 so that could be done tomorrow. The games within the NLCS have definitely been exciting though.

Posted by Brian on October 16th, 2005 at 9:07 pm

The thing I thought about more while following the playoffs is how much better the White Sox are than I had initially thought. And they’ve got a bunch of those guys (especially their pitching) wrapped up for the next couple of years.

Posted by jeff k on October 17th, 2005 at 10:15 am

Yeah, you have to be impressed. While they caught some breaks, they did shut down the Angels (and before that, the Red Sox) with their pitching. A lot of people, including myself, never gave them the credit they deserve.

Posted by Brian on October 17th, 2005 at 10:26 am

They have no business being in the playoffs. They are an extremely lucky team, in terms of both their exceeding their expected record and their plethora of guys all having good, healthy years at the same time. They’ll be average or slightly above average next year. They are riding a wave of luck, and all of their jerk fans are having the time of their lives. Believe me, I live in Chicago, and this is the biggest bunch of bastards in all of baseball. They deserve to be disappointed. Any time now.

Posted by Dan on October 17th, 2005 at 11:21 am

Looks like someone is a little bitter.

And I like how all these stat heads like throwing out “expected wins and losses.” I went to Hardball Times and 14 of the 30 teams were off from their expected records (either over or under) by at least four games. Only eight teams were off by one game either way, and of those eight, only one team was right on.

If this is supposed to measure an “expected record” why does it do such a poor job.

Clutch hitting and good pitching. That’s how the White Sox have gotten as far as they have.

Go Sox!!

Posted by Jay Maxwell on October 17th, 2005 at 11:42 am

It doesn’t do a poor job. It’s a better predictor of next year’s record than this year’s record is. Don’t believe me? Watch the Sox tank next year. They are a 91-win club, and that’s accounting for all of the healthy, standout seasons that happened at once. Ozzie Guillen ran his offense poorly all season, but it didn’t come back to haunt him because you happened to score 3 runs when the other team scored 2. You happened to score 4 when the other team scored 3. When you gave up 6, you scored 7. That is luck, jackass.

They deserve credit for everything coming together, I suppose. If you believe they have a special quality deep in their hearts that makes them score one more run than the other team 70% of the time, you are in for some real disappointment this season.

Damn right I’m bitter. You people sicken me.

Posted by Dan on October 17th, 2005 at 12:26 pm

I mean next season. This season is already an incredible success, whether they decide to throw the World Series again or not.

I heard there are some big bets in New York going down on the Astros. Could it be Arnold Rothstein?

Posted by Dan on October 17th, 2005 at 12:29 pm

Hmmm, let’s take a look. Expected Wins are from Baseball Reference.

Indians – 2005 Actual Wins 93
2004 Expected Wins 81

White Sox 2005 Actual Wins 99
2004 Expected Wins 84

Tigers 2005 Actual Wins 71
2004 Expected Wins 79

Twins 2005 actual wins 83
2004 expected wins 87

Royals 2005 actual wins 56
2004 expected wins 64

The CLOSEST is the Twins at four games. It looks like expected (pythag) wins provides a good estimation of just about nothing.

Posted by Jay Maxwell on October 17th, 2005 at 12:41 pm

You’re right, Jay, the White Sox didn’t overachieve this year. What a tremendous ballclub! I guess the Hawk, Ed Farmer, and John Rooney are right. They are the greatest team in the history of baseball and they win with heart and old-school, rough-nosed baseball. “Smart Ball”, one might say. Juan Uribe, Aaron Rowand, A.J. Pierzynski, Joe Crede, Scott Podsednik, Tadahito Iguchi, and Jon Garland all deserve Gold Gloves, too.

2005 Actual Wins 93
2004 Expected Wins 81
2004 Actual Wins 80

White Sox
2005 Actual Wins 99
2004 Expected Wins 84
2004 Actual Wins 83

2005 Actual Wins 71
2004 Expected Wins 79
2004 Actual Wins 72

2005 Actual Wins 83
2004 expected wins 87
2004 Actual Wins 92

2005 Actual Wins 56
2004 Expected Wins 64
2004 Actual Wins 58

You missed the point, numnuts. The expected record in a given year does a better job of predicting next year’s actual record than said year’s actual record. I don’t need to prove this to you. It is a matter of public record. In 3 out of the 5 cases that you hand chose to illustrate your “point”, this was true. It’s too small of a sample size, at any rate. If you’d like to do some betting on this, I’m all for it.

Get bent.

Posted by Dan on October 17th, 2005 at 1:19 pm

I stopped by and read your blog Dan. Not sure why you have so much anger, both there and here on Brian’s blog. Maybe some therapy would do you some good.

Oh yeah, Go White Sox.

Posted by Jay Maxwell on October 17th, 2005 at 4:52 pm

Yeah, it would do me a lot of good. Some humility on the part of every fan of your team and everyone in the broadcast booths would do the trick, too.

Like almost every other White Sox fan on the planet, you can’t admit that you’ve gotten a lot of lucky breaks. From listening to Harrelson, Farmer and Rooney, you would think that they had fought adversity the whole way through. Lack of respect for the White Sox? What a joke. You have way more respect than you deserve.

Posted by Dan on October 17th, 2005 at 5:40 pm

Oh yeah, and no word on the expected record argument? Yet another thing grossly misunderstood by a White Sox fan.

Posted by Dan on October 17th, 2005 at 5:41 pm

I have to agree, Dan… Every White Sox fan I know is a raging blowhard and somehow every single one of them are anti-statistical analysis.

Here’s a lesson for those White Sox fans: ’84 Tigers: 5 games above expected W/L, ’85 Tigers: 85-77… ’05 White Sox: 8 games above expected W/L, ’06 White Sox: ???

Frankly, I think there’s a lot of parallels with the ’84 Tigers in this ’05 White Sox club: Hot start (Tigers 18-2 in April, 19-7 in May; White Sox 17-7 in April, 18-7 in June), mediocre patch late in season (Tigers 16-12 in July, 16-15 in August; White Sox 15-11 in July, 12-16 in August & 17-12 in September), but we remember how the Tigers flipped the switch come October, and it surely looks like the White Sox have done the same.

Posted by jeff k on October 18th, 2005 at 11:05 am

I have to admit that you’re right, Jeff. I’ll be rooting for the Astros or the Cards, however.

Posted by Dan on October 18th, 2005 at 2:05 pm

Me, too, Dan… The blowhard thing.

It’s going to get worse, because White Sox fans don’t like LaRussa, and Leyland came from LaRussa’s camp. Even former broadcaster Jimmy Piersall gets in on the act in his interview here:



“JP: ‘I had said during a show that whoever was coaching the outfielders wasn’t doing a very good job. They were out of position, they were throwing to the wrong base. It was a bad situation. So one night about eleven or 11:30 at night, LaRussa, Charlie Lau and Jimmy Leyland drive down to the studios. They told the guard they had an appointment to see me and he let them in. I’m in the studio and they march in. LaRussa’s yells, ‘are you trying to get Leyland fired?’ I didn’t know who was coaching the outfielders so I said ‘no, but whoever he is he’s doing a lousy job.’ They started to act tough when one of our producers walked in, he was a real big guy, about 6-4 and when they saw him they left. I tore Tony’s ass from then on. LaRussa acts real tough but he isn’t and Leyland is nothing but a little phony.’ ”

Personally, I don’t believe a word of it.

Posted by jeff k on October 18th, 2005 at 4:37 pm

Neither do I. Good stuff though!

Posted by Dan on October 19th, 2005 at 1:46 pm

very well said Jeff.

Posted by noel on October 25th, 2005 at 6:04 am

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