Viewer Mail 4.14.2011

Books, Management, Paul Lebowitz's 2011 Baseball Guide, Players

Kevin Guiney writes RE the Red Sox starting rotation and me:

The back of the bubblegum card tells me that Beckett, Lackey and Matsuzaka have all trended into 5+ ERA pitchers in the AL East. Ironically enough, it also tells me that you are an idiot and there’s a reason “we’ve never heard of you”.

Rather than present an intelligent and researched counterargument to my posting The Back Of The Bubblegum Card Tells Much, you offhandedly reference a negligible (at best) stat like ERA, and call me an idiot.

One of the most out-of-context statistics in baseball is ERA. One game can blast it into the stratosphere as evidenced by Jonathan Papelbon in 2009-2010; aside from a few games in which he got rocked all over the park his numbers were nearly identical; as a result, his ERA was two runs higher from one year to the next.

Are you able to grasp this concept?

Do you know how to examine that which you’re attempting to “discuss”? Naturally that’s contingent on calling your comment a retort to my posting instead of what it is—a simple hit and run job with no capacity to present a case for what you supposedly believe—based on ERA of course.

I suppose it’s easier to do what you did, mention a number, call me a name and recede into the sludge. Making a broad-based assertion followed by a pathetic attempt at an insult and then running away isn’t much of a challenge for me, but I’ll answer you anyway.

The mere mentioning of the AL East as if it’s the hideous beast of baseball is meaningless. Did you look at the individual records of Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka before saying they all pitch to a “5+ ERA”?

Do you know how to research such a thing? It’s not difficult to find the information, but given your clear lack of skill and simmering anger stemming from the frustration of being a fan of the pitching-short Yankees, I can understand how you chose this tack.

Did you look at individual matchups? Gamelogs? Ballparks? Advanced statistics as to why the ERAs are as they are? Could you decipher this information and come to a rational and intelligent conclusion to dispute my posting that the Red Sox are going to wind up ahead of the Yankees?

It doesn’t appear so.

Do you remember when Lackey broke into the big leagues and the AL West was the powerhouse of baseball with three teams over 93 wins? Did that division not have hitters to reckon with? The 100-win A’s of Miguel Tejada (the 2002 MVP) and Eric Chavez? The last place team in the AL West that year was the Rangers who had Alex Rodriguez hitting 57 homers. Would that affect a pitcher’s ERA?

Is it simply the AL East that causes the ERA jump—by magic—or is it the relevant teams in the AL East and the players they have? Rosters are not static as evidenced by the Rays of 2011 in comparison to 2008-2010. Did you check individual circumstances with players and the Red Sox pitchers to see if they’re good or bad matchups?

Did you do any digging at all?

Are the Red Sox current struggles a permanent state of being that your allusion to the ERA implies? Or is it more than that? And would that require you doing something other than finding a number, calling me an idiot, trying—and failing—to offend me?

Here’s my advice: if you’re going to come at me, you’d better be prepared; and if you’re going to call me names in something baseball related, I’d suggest you have your position ensconced with verifiable facts and a coherent, organized presentation.

Maybe I’m wrong about you. It’s possible that you have acquired an innate understanding of baseball that Theo Epstein, Bill James and one of the best front offices in all of baseball has yet to grasp; something that says an ERA of 5+ is a clear indicator that you’re right and they’re wrong. Perhaps Theo has been blinded by the glare of his two championship rings to be able to accurately gauge the numbers any longer.

I doubt it though.

You’re overmatched beyond belief here, but are welcome to continue your masochistic exercise in making a fool of yourself. I’ll be more than happy to batter you again if you so desire.

It’ll be my pleasure.

****

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//

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