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Hey Clay Man: Diff

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Hey Clay Man: Diff

Unread postby FUDU » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:21 am

First off, nice piece on the Diff, and you make a good point that still EOD the most important stat is Ws & Ls.

I'm just curious as to when you do and can take the Diff stat as some of significance, if we're keeping things in context while doing so.

As I type this our Diff is -41.

So I went back and looked at our the schedule overall for varying margins of victory & defeat. L: 11 run loss once, and a 7 run loss on 3 occasions. So that's 32 runs in 4 games that would surely make the Diff look more respectable, however just like a win is a win, a loss is a loss, I'm sure you'd agree. W: 7 run victory once.

So I tried to reason what would be a good number to judge a blowout on or at least a loss by a significant amount of runs, and do so by keeping in mind the context of our offense. Let's face it we are very middle of the road in that regard with SLG being our bigger weakness right now.

I chose >4 runs, if for no other reason than b/c it requires more than one swing of the bat to overcome, and it relates nicely to our 4.4R/G avg. The Tribe has 14 losses of >4, or 37% of their total losses. While also having 9 wins by >4, 23%.

I guess what I want to know is, would you feel that half way through the season a Diff of -41 (in which 37% of the teams losses are of 5 runs or greater) is actually a very telling sign of this team's true identity? We're not talking about a team that lost 1 game 22-0 which would really throw the stat out of whack.
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Re: Hey Clay Man: Diff

Unread postby aclayman » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:20 pm

I suppose I look at the DIFF more as a warning label. "Danger: Team Might Not Be as Good As It Appears." At this stage, or even at the end of the season, the exact number of the DIFF probably shouldn't be over-analyzed. I realize my whole article sort of did that, but that was more to show how these various metrics use it as ammo to crap on the Indians' playoff chances.

Your breakdown of the blowout games certainly helps offer some better perspective. We haven't had our asses handed to us all that often. But if the chairmen of DIFF were here, they would definitely back up the importance of all those >4 run losses. Even the 7+ run blowout games wouldn't be summed up as anomalies, considering that they often point to a lack of depth in the rotation or middle relief. Basically, DIFF never lies. It just has a 20-30% margin of error, maybe. :/

To me, the big factor that most of these metrics are failing to account for is the strength of the backend of our bullpen, which has allowed us to win a lot of those 1 and 2 run games by holding leads in the late innings. I would guess that the bullpens were a big factor in helping those six teams from the past that made the playoffs with a negative DIFF (2007 D-Backs, for example, had Valverde and a nice crew of setup guys). If you're not a juggernaut like the Rangers or a pitching staff like the '90s Braves, you have to scrap your way in close games and hold slim leads late. That's the Indians' best avenue to proving the metrics wrong and sneaking our way to a division title: Smith, Pestano, and Perez maintaining their current level.

Although, if the Tigers flip the switch in August as they did last year, it will be a moot point.
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Re: Hey Clay Man: Diff

Unread postby FUDU » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:57 pm

Well I agree you in regards to the Diff and other metrics relating to playoff chances. At this point in the season the most significant factor in that is games back or being in 1st, obviously. IMO the AL Central right now is the perfect storm of an underachieving team and an overachieving team arriving at the same time and place. So there really is nothing left to do but show up everyday and grind it out seeing as that is the opportunity presented to you.
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