Pirates Shut Out Tigers

Before we get to the game summary, a few notes……

Baylor Don 983-80_Bat_NBL

— Don Baylor passed away yesterday at the age of 68.  I don’t know how many of you know Baylor for being anything but a former manager of the Rockies and the Cubs.  I will tell you that in his prime he was one of the more feared offensive players in MLB.  He finished his career as a player in 1988 and was one of just six players to compile 325+ HR, 275+ SB and 1200+ RBI.  The others were Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Andre Dawson and Carlos Beltran.

—  Francisco Cervelli is now tied for the 6th best OBP among catchers with at least 240 PA. Cervelli and Chris Stewart (.658) combined have a higher OPS than Elias Diaz (.634) does in AAA.

— The Pirates are undefeated when Sean Rodriguez gets an at bat.

— Trevor Williams has compiled a 3.39 ERA in his last ten starts.

— John Jaso, with last night’s home run, is now 8-26 as a PH in 2017 (.307).  In 2016 he was 8-25 (.320) as a PH.

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Pirates’ Williams, bullpen one-hit Tigers in 3-0 win

| MondayAug. 7, 2017, 10:00 p.m

Trevor Williams gave the bullpen some needed rest.

Williams allowed one hit in seven scoreless innings Monday night, the strongest outing this season for the rookie right-hander in a 3-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park. Only three batters reached base against him on two walks and a single.

trevor williams

He combined with two relievers for the shutout.

The 25-year-old threw a season-high 107 pitches with 62 strikes. That surely was comfort to a bullpen taxed by extra innings a day earlier.

Right-handed newcomer George Kontos, a waiver claim from the San Francisco Giants, threw one scoreless inning on his first day with the Pirates. Kontos used just nine pitches for a groundout, a flyout and a strikeout in the eighth. With closer Felipe Rivero unavailable after a long outing Sunday, Juan Nicasio earned the save with a scoreless ninth.

The win was the Pirates’ fourth in five games.

jaso home run

They used an RBI double from Francisco Cervelli and a pinch-hit, two-run homer from John Jaso to scratch together three runs off Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann (8-8). The left-hander was solid over seven innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs.

But Williams was nearly flawless.

Tigers catcher James McCann managed the only hit, a leadoff single in the third. McCann stole second, but Williams needed just 11 pitches to escape his only jam. He struck out Dixon Machado looking, forced a groundout by Zimmermann and Ian Kinsler flew out.

Williams struck out five.

This was the first of four consecutive games against the Tigers, with two in Pittsburgh and two in Detroit. The teams have become quite familiar with one another, having faced one another in an interleague series six seasons in a row. After visiting Detroit, the Pirates will travel to Toronto for three more interleague games.

cutch dive

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the second when Cervelli doubled to score Gregory Polanco, who had walked two batters earlier. Cervelli and Zimmermann had battled through an eight-pitch at-bat, with the catcher fouling off four pitches. With a 3-2 count, Cervelli drove Zimmermann’s pitch to the wall in right center.

In the seventh, Jaso’s homer pushed the lead to 3-0. Jaso drove a full-count pitch from Zimmermann to right, scoring Cervelli. The home run was Jaso’s eighth this season, which includes three pinch-hit blasts. Jaso has six pinch-hit homers in his career.

nicasio save

Williams has pitched well at PNC Park. He allowed more than three earned runs just once in his eight previous home starts this season. He entered Monday ranked fifth among National League rookies in innings pitched (98.2) and tied for sixth in strikeouts (71). His ERA was fourth best among NL rookies with at least 90 innings pitched.

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

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138 thoughts on “Pirates Shut Out Tigers

  1. As I read Richard’s post below regarding Taillon and stating that he’s had “nightmarish” luck recently which has bloated his ERA, could one also counter and say perhaps he was very fortunate to have such a low ERA earlier?

    So it’s bad luck when a guy pitches poorly but when he pitches well then what?

    Was Cutch also just unlucky the first two months of the season and then became lucky?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A guy has bad luck, when he has bad luck and good luck when he has good luck. It’s not tied to pitching well or not.

      The beginning of the season, Taillon was having good luck, but not to the same degree his luck has been bad since the All Star break.

      McCutchen was playing poorly in the beginning of the season. Numerous stats were presented indicating as such. He’s made improvements on all measures.

      People like to bemoan and belittle advanced statistics. It’s because they misunderstand what they represent or because they see others misrepresenting them. Standard statistics like ERA, WHIP, Batting Average, OPS and HR are all good at telling you what a player did. Advanced stats like ERA+, FIP, xFIP, wRC, WOBA and BABIP are more predictive stats. They attempt to tell you what may happen in the future based on trends and relations of how a player’s past performance and results compared with average results of others giving similar performance measures.

      Advanced statistics aren’t perfect predictors. Anyone claiming that is probably a fool. But they’re better predictors than the standard rate stats and time and analysis have shown it repeatedly.

      I understand some people, maybe you’re one of them, like to live just in terms of what has someone done lately, and they refuse to believe that there could be any other indication of future performance than just how many hits they got last week or how many runs they let up the last 2 starts, and that’s fine. It’s short sighted and laughed at by any modern day GM, but whatever…

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Very true. In two very bad starts in a row he gave up 17 runs in 6 2/3 innings. Now will really wreck a pitcher’s ERA. I was always a little math challenged but if you discount those two starts (I know you can’t, it doesn’t work that way), then, the way I figure it, his ERA would be around 3.06, I think. Fell free to correct me if I am wrong, I won’t get upset.

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  3. Can anyone else see Nova dealt? I see talk about Cole being dealt, but I think there’s a chance Nova is instead. I’m talking about in the off season. The Pirates are likely planning on giving Glasnow a shot again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i think it depends on how well he pitches the rest of the way. there may not be much interest in him, even though he has a very team-friendly contract.
      His past 3 starts ( and 5 of his past 8 ) have not been good. If he returns to his earlier form, then Id say theres a chance he could be dealt.

      Howver, both he and Cole are under control for the next 2 yrs. So if Nova does return to his earlier form, perhaps it would be better to trade Cole. Nova would be pitching better and would be cheaper. And Cole would probably bring more in return.

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      1. In his last start Nova went six innings and gave up one earned run. He was tagged for four runs, but one scored on a wild pitch and another on a throwing error. The second run he gave up got on via an error with two outs. After that it was all unearned.

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      1. I’m in no rush. Glasnow could stink in his next shot too. I’m just trying to think like the team does. I think the team may see SP depth and think they can spend the money elsewhere

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      2. Pirates have been very fortunate this season so far in that there have been no pitchers who have lost playing time due to pitching related injuries. Can’t remember the last time that happened.

        Pitching depth is a plus which is one reason why they are unlikely to trade any starters this off season.

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        1. I don’t think it did happen Steve. If you remember, Cole had TJ surgery earlier this year and Taillon and Nova were both going to the DL not long ago. Well according to all of the diagnosing going on by our exclusive FOB medical staff.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. It doesn’t make sense that they are going to trade anyone from that starting rotation before Brault or Glasnow actually establish themselves as competent major league arms. Cole will be here at least through the end of the 2018 season. Nova’s price is very reasonable. Kuhl, Williams and Taillon are inexpensive and have tons of control. It’s more likely that T-Glas himself, or Brault might be dealt than an established starter.

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      1. With as well as Williams and Kuhl have pitched, I could easily see one of Glasnow, Brault, Williams or Kuhl getting moved for a 3b.

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        1. I hope it’s a prospect, and I don’t care which one. I hate parting with proven established players. Prospects are like buses; there will be another along any minute now.

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  4. FIP is a worthless stat for 2 reasons:
    1) as long as you keep the ball in the park and K a batter per inning, you will have an excellent meaningless FIP. You can give up as many gap-rockets as you like, but if the umpire gives you a favorable strike zone, you are golden.
    2) the FIP equation contains a constant “to put it on the same scale as earned run average.” Why do we need a stat thats comparable to ERA . . . when we already have ERA?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. FIP is like every other analytic. It’s a tool for analysis. None of the analytics are gospel and none should be assumed in a vacuum to tell all. Presumably a collection of them together will yield reasonably good information on a player although none are infallible.

      Is it a better stat than ERA? In theory it does remove the effects and/or differences caused by quality of defense. At the same time, as is noted in your posts and on the comments on Taillon below, it can be every fit as off if circumstances are out of wack.

      I maintain that the slew of new analytics provide more information for analysis and from a quantitative standpoint, more information is always helpful. I remain unconvinced that any given analytic, including this one, is substantially better than the existing stats.

      And the biggest problem I have with analytics is a word Richard uses 4 times below…luck. The analytics community takes the position that whenever the true results do not correlate the analytics its simply a factor of luck. In reality, I believe it’s just the nature of sport. Analytics tend to track long-term results but for any given period, it’s perfectly normal for a player to over or under perform their analytic trends.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To that end, there was a story last year about the LA Kings and how they were dominating corsi but still missed the playoffs. Corsi is hockey’s new it analytic and the perception of the analytics community is that the best teams are high corsi teams. It’s a measure of puck possession which is driven by the difference in shot attempts for vs shot attempts against (the idea being if you have the puck more you’ll generate more shots).

        The conclusion of many in the analytics community was the King were unlucky. There was not way they could control shots and puck possession and not score more often over the long haul.

        What the writer did was go beyond the analytics. He started breaking down tape and discovered that the Kings were playing hockey’s version of a 4 corners offense. They were definitely possessing the puck but it was almost entirely outside the faceoff dots an on the fringes of the offensive zone. He further discovered that a very high percentage of the Kings shot attempts were what you would call “low danger.”

        Again, imagine a basketball team passing the ball around the perimeter until the shot clock hits 2 seconds and the throwing up an off balance 25 footer. They have good rebounders so they get the ball back and do it again. That’s the Kings last year.

        In that case, the analytic fails.

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      2. Adam, agree with your response. No stat/analytic tells the complete story on its own. Unfortunately, some saber folks believe that to be true of sabermetrics.

        however, i dont agree that FIP “remove[s] the effects and/or differences caused by quality of defense.” As stated before, FIP uses a constant that brings it in line with ERA. Therefore, that constant does have some defense-correlated affect.

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  5. With efforts like last night’s shutout, and SRod’s walk off homerun win, I find myself balancing hopefulness with objectivity. And my objective side pretty much wins out telling me the Pirates will not pull off a somewhat miracle of a finish and win the Central Division.

    And this all reminds me of the Green Greenie season, 1966, where the Pirates played well, winning 92 games, but still finished three games behind the Dodgers. That was,however, a fun season.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/1966.shtml

    Interestingly, the Bucs that season demonstrated no home field edge, going exactly 46-35 both home and away.

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  6. Williams is not a power pitcher, to be sure, but he sure seems to have a feel for the edges of the strike zone. The best thing about that is the league can’t adjust to it. Throwing strikes that aren’t in the meat of the zone have been the bread and butter of some of the greatest “nibblers” in history including Maddux and Glavine.

    Getting batters to swing at balls and borderline strikes is the name of the game. Williams has been very good at that, so far.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, you are right. Maddux owes everything to the umpires. Although, one wonders why the umps would favor him over others. Unless he was performing sexual favors for them. Yeah, that must be it.

            I mean really. You expect me to believe that these men who some claim are incompetent to begin with, actually are smart enough and quick enough to make conscious decisions to favor one pitcher?

            Why the sour grapes?

            Liked by 1 person

            1. not sour grapes. just reality.

              Maddux had pinpoint control. His catchers would position their glove(s) a couple of inches ( maybe more ?) off the plate, and Maddux would hit the glove dead center — time after time after time . . . .
              Since the catcher’s glove never moved, it was called a strike. We see this all time for most pitchers.

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              1. We see pitches more than a couple of inches off the plate called strikes, all the time, so as long as the catcher’s mitt doesn’t move?

                I gotta start watching these games on the network that you and Mike are watching on. I miss so much just watching these regular telecasts.

                Is this the same network that allows the watchers to see the mental “toughness” of some players too? Maybe it’s not the network, after all. It may be my TV.

                Liked by 1 person

                    1. I’m not interesting in reading what Peter Gammons has to say.

                      Do they say why the umps felt the need to give him an advantage and/or hoe much Ted Turner paid them to do so?

                      By the way, is a borderline strike a strike? What defines s borderline strike? Does a borderline ball exist?

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                    2. They should put the black trim back on home plate like it was when I played back in the stone age. The black was actually a ball by the book, but umpires would give it to pitchers, but no more than that. They used to call it “painting the black.”

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                    3. Look at the link. It depicts the average called strike range…then Maddux’s. It’s pretty stark.

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                    4. To what end and to who’s advantage?

                      I attribute it to basic human umpire error. Hence, being a proponent of an electronic system.

                      It’s like that ump that called three straight balls right down the pipe against Ted Williams. When the catcher asked him why he didn’t call any of them strikes, he said, “Son, when Mr. Williams sees a strike, he’ll swing at it.”

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                    5. So they’re not good enough to call balls and strikes on a regular basis, but they are good enough and quick enough to give an advantage to one pitcher, for no gain or reason.

                      Makes sense to me.

                      Of course, I don’t think that the refs are out to get the Steelers, so my opinion on the subject is moot, I suppose.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    6. I think it’s just like TomP said.

                      He had a reputation and undeniable control. Catcher sets up with half his glove on the plate and the web 2 to 3 inches off….ball plops into webbing without the mitt moving. Steee-Rike!

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                1. Stealing Strikes
                  Maddux was the dean of expanding hitters’ strike zones. In ’08, he had the highest called strike rate (42.8 percent) among National League starters and trailed only another deserving, though much less acclaimed, Hall of Famer in Mike Mussina (43.8 percent) among all pitchers. Maddux was especially adept at getting called strikes on borderline pitches.

                  http://www.gammonsdaily.com/how-greg-maddux-dominated-with-mid-80s-heat/

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      1. Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were not the HOF pitchers we came to know them as in their rookie seasons. It’s hard to say what Williams future holds, but it would also have been hard to predict what would happen to most HOF pitchers in their rookie seasons.

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    1. Didn’t start this year either. He has consistently, through college at AZ State, the Marlins minor league system and at Indy been just that kind of pitcher. Great control, low ERA and not a lot of strikeouts. He just wins. He was a First Team Pac 12 pitcher in his sophomore year. He’s going to be good, if not great, for a very long time.

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  7. Pirate starting pitcher FIPs:

    Taillon 3.36
    Williams 3.60
    Kuhl 3.94
    Cole 4.21
    Nova 4.31

    Since All-Star Break:

    Kuhl 2.89
    Taillon 3.01
    Williams 3.21
    Cole 3.36
    Nova 5.37

    Expect Nova to get back on track. His xFIP since the break is 3.36.

    Liked by 4 people

          1. You remember that, eh? You can remember how the Pirate defense played behind a certain pitcher over the last 6 weeks or so? Not measurable errors, mind you , but just how they played and plays that they “could’ve got to”?

            Some of you watch the game a lot closer than me and have the memories of elephants.

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              1. I’m a cynic by nature, Mike. I need to see it, feel it, touch it, smell it, etc. Do you any shred of evidence to support the claim?

                If your saying that you remember how the defense has played behind every pitcher going back more than one game, you sir, are simply amazing and I do mean that as a compliment. Until then, my cynical personality will call bullshit.

                Do you have scorebooks you kept or anything? How is the defense playing behind Kuhl? How about Marinez when he was here? Hudson? Or perhaps link me to the page on Fangraphs where I can get this info?

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                1. It was in 2 of his past few starts. I just remember watching and complaining. I can’t remember specific plays. I understand your skepticism and respect it.

                  Liked by 1 person

                  1. That is completely different. I remember several plays that weren’t made. I also remember the announcers harping on it. If I said the defense was lazy or not trying you would have a point. It’s like when a SS bobbles the ball and they don’t turn two. It’s bad defense, but not an error. On a bunt when you go for the lead runner and don’t get the out. It’s bad defense but not an error.

                    I get your snark with Diaz. Here you have no leg to stand on

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                  2. I agree with that. Even the CS stat posted by someone to bolster the claim that Diaz is a better defender than Cervelli is rife with inaccuracy. A catcher does a lot more than just prevent stolen bases, and about 75% of stolen bases are stolen against the pitcher.

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                    1. about 75% of stolen bases are stolen against the pitcher.

                      An excuse used by many to hide the shortcomings of a catcher. I don’t recall that excuse being made when martin was in Pittsburgh throwing out guys at a high rate.

                      Cervelli has a 20% CS rate. A 7.56 range factor. 7 pass balls which is the worst in the NL with the amount of games he’s played. Heck, even Christ stewart has a higher CS and range factor.

                      Cervelli is a decent catcher, but he’s certainly not one of the top 10 defensively in the NL. Better than average hitter for sure.

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                    2. As is yours to put the blame at 75% on the pitcher. So it’s all on the pitcher?

                      That’s why Cervelli has a 20% rate. Maybe look at his time with the Yankees. Same with Stewart. They’re both terrible at throwing runners out. The simply are. It doesn’t matter who the pitcher is.

                      Funny thing is the all know (at least he things so) Bob Walk said the other night while criticizing the Brewers’ catcher that a team’s catcher should throw out around 30%. I guess that goes for every team but the Pirates.

                      Martin has a 385 CS rate with the Pirates in 2014. Cervelli had a 223 rate in 2015. Their were many pitchers with the pirates both those years. So explain that!

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                  3. Sure Bob. Maybe mix in watching a game when Diaz catches or listen to Pirates management discuss his defense. Pretty well known in the organization and outside that he is an oustanding defender.

                    Oh and as you constantly compare Diaz AAA numbers to Cervelli’s MLB numbers to make your point (which is like comparing apples to opranges since we don’t know how Diaz will hit MLB pitching if he plays everyday) perhaps you should check out Cervelli’s last year in AAA in 2012 with Scranton where he played 99 games has an incredible OPS 657!

                    So, seems clear to me that AAA stats simply don’t mean much when determining how a player will hit in the majors since at times Cervelli has hit better than a 657 OPS, in fact every season.

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                    1. Please let me know where I can find the comments by Pirates management about Diaz’s defensive skills compared to those of Cervelli.

                      And let me ask you these questions: Why did the notoriously tight-fisted Nutting regime sign Cervelli to a contract that carries through 2019 and which is valued at $31 million when they had such a stud like Diaz available?

                      And how many teams put top prospects on a schedule to be an MLB starter when they are 29, as is the case with Diaz?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. really? Just go back and read anytime they discuss him. Do you pay attention to Spring training? The tv broadcasts where they continually bring it up?

                      The Cervelli signing was a good one. I said as much. I don’t think he’s lived up to the contract though as his numbers have declined since signing it.

                      You seem to be confusing things so let me start this over.

                      First off, I have, as well as a few others on here, stated that Diaz should be the BACKUP CATCHER. Again, BACKUP CATCHER! Did you catch that? I said backup. Never said starter, not one time. Is that clear?

                      secondly, it is my opinion that Diaz should be the back up now and I would guess there are some who agree because you want your best 25 in Pittsburgh.

                      And thirdly, I believe, due to Cervelli’s continued inability to stay healthy, it would be smart next season if the Pirates played Diaz somewhere between 30 and 40% of the games. Probably closer to 35% or so. That will keep Cervelli fresh.

                      So, I hope you are clear now. You started the whole Cervelli VS Diaz things which was totally a non story. You continue to use non-comparable stats to distinguish the two.

                      You criticize some for their “love” of Diaz but it’s seems you have a “love” for Cervelli and for a reason I can’t explain some kind of disdain for Diaz.

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                2. I think in a lot of these games where Frazier and Jaso are outfield starters, etc., that there is a certain level of poor defense that comes from a lack of range on Frazier’s part, to not taking the right angles to fly balls and a lack of range on Jaso’s part. Sometimes those defensive shortcomings have cost the team runs. Whether or not that ocurred more often with Taillon pitching than anyone else, I cannot truly say. I do know that defensively, the Pirates are much better defensively with Marte, Cutch and Polanco starting in the outfield.

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      1. It’s more than somewhat surprising. It’s outrageously shocking.

        I would definitely not say that he has been as good as his FIP suggests. But his exorbitant ERA is greatly affected by nightmarish, luck-impacted BABIP and Left-on-Base percentage numbers that can only be sustained in science fiction.

        His BABIP is .457; .160 higher than league average. His LOB% is 46.3%; 26.3 points below average.

        But his numbers in the stats that are least affected by luck (K, BB, and HR) are very good since the break. 9.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9.

        I wouldn’t expect his ERA to be 3.01 the rest of the way, but it’s reasonable to think that it will approximate his current full season xFIP of 3.65.

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        1. FIP measures K’s, BB’s & HRs. Taillon’ s numbers in the 1st and 2nd half have been about the same. Actually the 2nd half a little better than the first.

          However, teams have been scoring a lot of runs by hitting singles, doubles, & triples against Taillon in the 2nd half which is something FIP does not account for. Note Taillon’s against splits:

          1st half: .257/.332/.397
          2nd half: .361/.404/.585

          More specifically Taillion has given up a lot more doubles in the 2nd half.
          1st half: 62.2 IP, 13 doubles
          2nd half : 23.1 IP, 13 doubles

          Liked by 3 people

          1. I believe Taillon’s K, BB, and HR numbers will remain consistent, while his singles, doubles, and triples substantially decline.

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              1. FIP is a better measure of a pitcher’s individual performance than is ERA, which is impacted by a number of factors that are out of the pitcher’s control; such as fielding, the performance of relievers who replace the pitcher in mid-inning, luck, weakly hit balls finding a hole, line drives being hit right at a fielder, and the sequence of batting events.

                FIP is not affected by any of that.

                Taillon’s 9.64 ERA since the break is an aberration. His future performance will be consistent with his current, full -season 3.65 xFIP. I expect that because BB, K, and HR percentages are historically more consistent than batted ball averages, which are much more significantly impacted by luck.

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                1. FIP is also impacted by a number of factors that are out of the pitcher’s control. Specifically, one huge factor: the inconsistent individual strike zones of 60+ umpires.

                  why do you insist on ignoring that?

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                  1. An umpire’s inconsistent strike zone probably affects just about every pitching stat. If the ump’s strike zone favors the pitcher hitters are less likely to get as many walks, hits, and runs. Vice versa if the zone favors the hitter.

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                    1. I think you are using obtuse incorrectly. ( Perhaps youve seen Shawshank Redemption too may times. )

                      You may disagree with my post, but my post isnt lacking intelligence or perception. in fact, just the opposite. My perception is that, when it comes to compiling statistics ( particularly FIP ), a collection of umpires’ strike zones is just as inconsistent as various team’s defenses are.

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                2. Richard, that may be true, but any stat that shows 378% variation from another stat, that are supposedly trying to show the same end result, makes me wonder about either stat. My feeling is that the real number obviously lies in between, but given Taillon’s eye test lately, it leans more towards the 9.64 and not 3.65. Just my opinion.

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  8. There is certainly a path for the Pirates to win the division. They have 7 games left with the Cubs and 8 games left with the Brewers. Further, they only have 8 games left with elite teams: 4 with the Dodgers and 4 with the Nats.

    It’s in their hands.

    I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that they finish the year with 4 in Washington.

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    1. If, as I suspect, Washington continues to run away with the East, and the Pirates are close at that point, the Pirates may benefit from Washington getting its rotation ready for the playoffs and the Bucs might catch a break. I have a hard time looking that far ahead when it may not matter. I just bought tickets yesterday for the Saturday and Sunday games just because I was pretty sure there wouldn’t be any available if I waited until after Labor Day. Especially the Sunday game which is fan appreciation day.

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      1. You’re joking, right?

        1. Patrick was being sarcastic.
        2. Being Only PH is NOT Jaso’s role.

        Unfortunately, because of Nutting’s cheapness, Jaso IS miscast and has to start countless times this year. And batting in the top and middle of the order many times, although that part is on tinker and not Nutting.

        Additionally, you may be the only soul on the planet, outside of Bob Nutting himself, that doesn’t think he’s cheap.

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        1. Additionally, you may be the only soul on the planet, outside of Bob Nutting himself, that doesn’t think he’s cheap.
          ——————————————————————-

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  9. Bucs .500 or so season can be traced to lack of slugging % as much as anything. The team is 28th in slugging overall and 29th at home. Sure doesn’t allow for many comeback wins when it’s pretty much Cutch or Bell that have to be relied on to pop one.

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  10. Pirates remain 4.5 games out of first place and still have three teams ahead of them so their playoff chances are still pretty slim.. However, it’s nice to see them doing enough to at least making it interesting this late in the season. Hopefully they can continue.

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    1. It would at least be nice to finish ahead of the Cardinals. After chasing thiem for the last 5 years and falling short, now we’re at a point when the Cards are average at best, and the Bucs are still chasing them.

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      1. Yes, that would be nice indeed. The Pirates haven’t had a better final season record than the Card since something like 2003. Not sure if that was the year but it’s been a long time. No matter how good the Pirates are the Cards always seem to be a little bit better.

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          1. I don’t get this need to finish in front of St. Louis. If the Cardinals finished fifth in the Pirates fourth, is that supposed to be good?
            ——————————————————

            Some Pirate fans just have to keep lowing that bar Bob.

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    2. Steve

      not sure I agree that they have slim chances because there are three teams ahead of them.

      The 4.5 games out of first is really all that matters and as others have posted with 20 or so games against teams ahead of them in the Central, they may control their own destiny to some extent.

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      1. How the Pirates finish depends on how well they do the rest of the season but also how well the teams they are competing against do.

        Seems like competing against three teams as opposed to one makes it more difficult. There is a greater chance that one of those teams (most likely the Cubs) gets hot.

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  11. For all those people still distraught over the Pirates failure to trade for Jose Quintana (Q), consider these SSSs:

    Quintana in his four starts with the Chicago Cubs: 4.13 ERA. Q in his past three starts: 5.81 ERA
    Williams in his past four starts: 2.88 ERA. Williams in his past three starts: ERA 1.47

    I remain skeptical about Williams and all pitchers of so little experience (James McDonald), but his performance since joining the rotation has been most heartening.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. So you present numbers to back your skepticism of Quintana and then state your skepticism of Williams. Where I come from, they call they riding the fence or covering your ass.

      So, I’ll ask. Is your official position they should have traded for Quintana or stand pat with Williams?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was not in favor of trading for Quintana, who had a 4.49 ERA when he was dealt. Nor was I suggesting Williams was a better option that Quintana. Quintana clearly is the better option.

        I will fall back on these words from an NL GM who did not trade for Quintana or Sonny Gray

        “We’re always going to have to balance near term with long term. That’s true now, it’s going to be true next year and it’s going to be true the year after that. Our goal here is to have a team that is in position for us to add at the deadline year after year after year.”

        Not Neal Huntington, but David Stearns of the Brewers.

        http://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/mlb/brewers/2017/08/05/brewers-gm-david-stearns-did-not-veer-teams-trading-strategy/534601001/

        Liked by 2 people

            1. Of course. I have trouble understanding your position many times and just wanted to be sure I understood you clearly. I know you have accused others of having PSS and I don’t want to falsely accuse you of anything.

              Thanks for the clarification.

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  12. I was a kid when Baylor was in the 2nd half of his career, so I only remember his career during the 1980s. By then he was almost exclusively a DH and his base stealing days were long behind him. From ’72 to ’79 (8 years) he stole 234 bases…almost 30 a year. In the years I remember him (’80-’88) he stole 50.

    He was the key return for the A’s in the infamous 1976 trade that sent Reggie Jackson and Ken Holtzman to Baltimore. It was the first of what would become many late ’70s trades of unsigned players that were playing out their options and were going to be free agents the following year. Jackson played one year for Baltimore without a contract and signed with the Yankees; Baylor played one year for Oakland without a contract and signed with the Angels.

    The Pirates would be involved in one of those very same trades the following year when they dealt Richie Zisk for Goose Gossage and Terry Forster. All three played only one year for their new team before Zisk signed with Texas, Gossage with the Yankees, and Forster with the Dodgers.

    One item that has escaped my baseball collection is this: A panel that has Zisk, Gossage and Baylor all painted up into new uniforms. To my knowledge, it’s the only licensed Goose Gossage card that ever had him in a Pirate uniform.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/1977-Hostess-Baseball-Panel-127-129-Zisk-Gossage-Baylor-HOF-NM-/231767901540?hash=item35f6718564

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    1. can recall before the 1980 season Baylor commenting he’d like to be traded to Pgh to hit in between Parker and Stargell. thought that would be the catalyst for the repeat. But the trade never happened, Willie got hurt, and the 1980 Bucs limped to 83-79.

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  13. I still maintain that Jaso, if used correctly, would be a valuable bench player. Used correctly means no more than about 75 games played and no more than about 150 PA. Starting in the outfield is not being used correctly. Before anyone says, “Well they didn’t have any other outfielders to use”…well…whose fault is that? He’s a pinch hitter and defensive replacement. That’s about it. But he’s good at it so there’s no harm in it. Guys like Greg Gross, Del Unser and John Vander Wal made careers out of it.

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    1. The 12-man pitching staff and thus the five-man bench has basically eliminated the role you see for Jaso. With the Pirates starting first baseman being a switch-hitter, who performs better as a lefty, Jaso’s role as a first baseman, his best position, has pretty much been eliminated. He’s been forced to move to the outfield, where he is, at best, barely adequate.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “The 12-man pitching staff and thus the five-man bench has basically eliminated the role you see for Jaso.”

        Example #1274 that illustrates why I prefer 1970s and 80s baseball to the modern game.

        Commissioner Fats would, in the best interests of baseball, mandate a maximum of 11 pitchers on each 25-man roster.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Tone of voice is helpful in conveying sarcasm, but it’s not possible here. Too bad you can’t type in italics or something like that to convey sarcasm.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. The team ERA is 4.14, which ranks 7th of 15 NL teams. That’s nice, but not great. It’s also not good enough when your hitters are ranking 12th or 13th in most categories. Williams’ ERA is 4.17 (decent), Kuhl’s is 4.53 (not too great) and Taillon’s is 4.60 (also not too great). I don’t think anyone thinks they’re bad pitchers, and nobody is giving up on them, but they (we) merely point out that if you want to win, you either have to improve your hitting or improve those numbers in the rotation. Otherwise…well…you won’t win.

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      1. Granted, but look at Kuhl’s improvement:

        April 6.26
        May 5.81
        June 4.50
        July 3.27

        I for one was ready to banish him to the pen after his less than spectacular April & May, but to suggest that now following his one start in August, I think the individual @Cannonballcrner would have me keel hauled.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So? I completely agree.

        And no, Williams’ and Kuhl’s overall numbers are not spectacular. But they have shown considerable improvement, as Henry showed in the case of Kuhl, and which has been demonstrated by others concerning Williams. Yet people keep saying they are the starters that need replaced, and as far as I can tell the only reason they think that is because they do not have the “names” of pedigrees of Cole, Nova, or Taillon. They have been the two most effective starters over the last two months.

        The hitting is a much bigger problem.

        Liked by 1 person

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