Thursday, August 06, 2009

Managing Expectations

The Fan was at one of his favorite blogs this morning and the topic was Roy Halladay's lack of run support since he came off the Disabled List a while back. And there is no doubt that Halladay, if he had gotten any support, should have won three or four of those games instead of one. But in this day and age of empowerment when everyone with a computer has an opinion, the following comment followed the blog post:

Wilner is now officially a propagandist! Halladay gave up 5 runs(4 earned) , 10
hits and he's still good??!! The Yankees braodcasters gave mad props to Doc BUT
one of them mentioned the fact that they got 5 runs off of him at Yankee
Stadium, which isn't like Doc. In addition, Doc gave up 10 hits in that 3-2 loss
to Oakland. If anyone think sthat he is the same old Doc ...think again. Thanks
to Ricciardi, who rattled him with all this trade talk, he's off his game. Bad
Job, JP look at what you've done. (sic)

Can we have a reality check, please? The American League's average ERA among all pitchers is 4.43. The average hits per nine innings for the entire league is just over nine (or just over one hit per inning). If a pitcher at his worse is league average, wouldn't you say that is a stud? The problem with guys like Halladay, Carpenter, Santana, Beckett and studs of their ilk is that the expectation is that they will go out every time and throw a shutout. Heck, wouldn't you take Halladay at his worse (remember, league average) than Brad Penny on any given occasion?

The great Johan Santana gets blown up in a game and his ERA shoots up to 3.10. Oh my goodness! He must stink now? What's wrong with Santana! Come on! 3.10 is still a full 1.22 runs below the National League average ERA of 4.22. Give the Fan that guy every game for 30 starts a year and he'll take his chances.

The same thing holds true for studs like Albert Pujols or Alex Rodriguez. Pujols went through a rough patch recently and the big story was: "What's wrong with Pujols?" A-Rod has gone 60 at bats without a homer. What's wrong with A-Rod? There is nothing wrong that a two-homer game (like Pujols had the other night) won't fix. A-Rod will hit his share before the season is out. It's a long season and even studs aren't perfect.

The expectation thing happens to teams too. The Red Sox and the Dodgers have lost a few games the last couple of weeks. All kinds of analysis have occurred to figure out what's wrong. Umm...there is little wrong with either team. The Dodgers are second in the league (behind the Phillies) in OPS+ and second in the league (behind the Giants) in ERA+. Meanwhile, the Red Sox lead the American League in ERA+ and are fifth in the league in OPS+. That hardly seems like teams to hit the panic button on.

Sometimes you pay for being so good. If David Cook came out on American Idol and sang, "God Bless America" in falsetto, everyone would wonder what was wrong with David Cook. Geez, he just had a bad night. But this Fan bets, that his "bad" week would still sound better than Brittney Spears.

Give this guy a Roy Halladay at his worst and the Fan would be very happy to have it.


Josh Borenstein said...

The ERA+ with the Red Sox might be a bit misleading, though. They probably have the best bullpen in all of baseball. But apart from Beckett and Lester, their rotation is really a mess.

eyebleaf said...

Thanks for the kind words, mate.