But there’s the catch: this lineup just couldn’t get it done. Kuroda had a rocky first few innings, where his pitches were sailing high on him, and he just couldn’t seem to keep control of–or even locate–the strike zone. He let a couple of Indians get on base in the first inning, then made one terrible mistake to Michael Brantley, and that was it. He settled down as the night wore on, collecting strikeouts, locating his pitches, and waiting for his offense to wake up.
But it never did. Watching this team play baseball tonight was like having front row seats to an open-heart operation where the anesthetized patient is awake but totally paralyzed (a sort of living horror the likes of which few people have ever experienced). Tonight was the baseball equivalent of the medical phenomenon known as “anesthesia awareness”.
Look, I’m still a RISP-nonbeliever. But I’m not immune to these awful games.
- The answer that I give when I get the RISP question is basically this: “Look, baseball is a game of probability, luck, and what we generally accept to be a mean, or normalcy. When you take a small sample–say one game, or a series of games–you’re going to see extreme variations that seem impossible to explain. We call these extreme variations from the mean “hot streaks” and “slumps”; and players aren’t the only ones who go through these random fluctuations. Teams all have certain baseline means, averages, that we can expect them to produce over the course of a season: but that doesn’t mean that they will produce those numbers every single game, or even every single series. The point is that hitting with RISP is the same, essentially, as hitting normally: sometimes you hit, sometimes you don’t; sometimes teams hit, sometimes they don’t. Ultimately, the streaks will even out over the course of a season–and if you feel like your team is hitting more slumps than hot streaks, then you have to decide whether your team is a) unlucky or b) bad. If the answer is (a), then you’ll probably see your team hit a hot streak soon. If it’s (b), then it’s possible that the team isn’t in a cold streak at all, but instead is playing at their normal level.”
- That’s a long, convoluted way of saying, “it all evens out eventually.”
- Which is disturbing when you realize that postseason success is all about streaks.
- Which, ultimately, is all about luck. (Sorry clutch hitting folks).
- I realize I’m going to catch some flak for this, but I do think that this is backed up by evidence. Of course, I’d love to hear any evidence to the contrary.
- Derek Jeter (2-5 on the night) is still hitting .326 on the season, which begs the question: if he hit really well in 2009 (134 wRC+, .390 wOBA), badly in 2010 (94 wRC+, .32o wOBA), acceptably in 2011 (104 wRC+, .332 wOBA), and really well in 2012 (123 wRC+, .357 wOBA), isn’t he still a good to very good offensive player on average?
- Raul Ibanez cannot hit Masterson.
- Mark Teixeira was 0-for-2 with RISP, both times with people on third base.