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Possible "5 ininng cocktails" for Tuesday Night
One of the ideas we've been batting around lately has been taking games you like to go Under in the first 5 innnigs rather than the whole game. Though we finally saw some full game Unders Monday for the first time in a while (having THAT many for the first time in a while), I still wanted to play around with some 5 inning possibilities.
I didn't post matchups yesterday or today because I needed time to study the first few days of those groundball/flyball and strikeout numbers. One thing that jumped out was that the high strikeout guys were largely able to impose their will on games much more dramatically than others. This is pretty much common sense. But...it has to be said that those guys were less prone to the scoring craziness than most other pitchers. Their games might blow up AFTER they leave...but few were getting into big trouble early on.
So...I decided to come up with a simple quick way to find cocktails where we might be able to combine elements in a way that makes sense for first half Unders. We can also consider them as full game Unders if it looks like the bullpens are finally out of kerosene.
First: ONLY look at games where the projeted K rates for the two starters add up to 11.5 or more. We either need to guys near 6 per 9 innings...or one guy well over 6 who balances out a guy below 6. At first I was using 12.0 as the threshold...but looking back it seemed that 11.5 was working out just as well.
Then...with that limited sample...use this:
BALLPARK: a range from +2 to -2 points depending on the scoring influence
WEATHER: a range from +1 to -1 point depending on the wind
UMPIRE: give a +1 for an Under guy...and a -1 for an Over guy (extreme or kicker)
I'm limiting those last two to +1 or -1 so we dont' get caught up in overreacting to weather or the umpires. There has been enough dispute on these pages about whether or not you can even pick winners based on those things that I didn't want to go overboard with them. For now we can monitor these for a few days and see what happens.
Tonight's pitching qualifiers:
LA Dodgers/Houston (Penny/Nieve)
Arizona/San Diego (Vargas/Peavy)
Tampa Bay/NYY (Kazmir/Mussina)
Detroit/LA Angels (Bonderman/Carrasco)
Houston: neutral park...but the wind is blowing in 8-13 from right field, and we've got Marquez who's an extreme Under umpire. That's +2 in the scoring system.
San Diego: +2 for this park (91 on index), and the wind is blowing in 7-12 from left field for another point. That's +3 in the scoring system.
Cleveland: +1.5 for the park (95 on the index) and the wind is blowing in from left field at 10-15. The weather is supposed to be cold...but I'm not adding in too much for the weather. That's +2.5 in the scoring system.
NYY: a neutral park, but the wind is blowing in from left field at 12-17. That's +1 on the system.
Texas: a hitter's paradise, so I'm putting in -2. Wind is sideways. That's -2 on the system.
Anaheim: The park is neutral with a 99 index...but I don't mind Unders here. Hirschbeck is the umpire...so that's a +1 (some of you may want to go higher with him). That's a +1 on the system.
Seattle: The park factor here is a very low 94...so that's +2 for the ballpark alone. The wind is blowing out to right at 7-12...so I'll take one off for that. That's a +1 on the system:
Ranking them looks like this:
Arizona/San Diego: +3
TB/NYY Under: +1
Detroit/LA Angeles Under: +1
CWS/Seattle Under: +1
I was looking for anything positive since we're starting with high strikeout pitchers. The fact that six of the seven show up as positive give us a lot of things to consider. On some nights...they'll all be in Colorado or Philadelphia or something. Here...we've got a pretty good alignment.
Because I'm paranoid about Houston...I'd feel better about the five games outside of Texas. I'm going to try and avoid over-thinking this stuff. Let's say the six games with positives "qualify" for final consideration as 5-inning Unders. I'll monitor those tonight...and keep an eye on qualifiers for the time being to see what we learn.
In sum...we're looking for 5-inning Unders from high strikeout pitchers in situations where the ballpark, weather, and umpires are either working in harmony with them...or at least not working against them.
Feel free to post any ideas you have in this general line of inquiry...
Possible "5 ininng cocktails
Here's how it went as of midnight ET, with some games still in progress:
Arizona/San Diego: +3 (2-0 after 5...W)
Boston/Cleveland: +2.5 (4-2 after 5...L)
LAD/Houston: +2 (2-2 after 5..W at 4.5)
TB/NYY Under: +1 (4-1 after 5...P or W if you bought half a run)
Detroit/LA Angeles Under: +1 (3-0 after 5...W)
CWS/Seattle Under: +1 (6-0 after 5...L)
Oakland/Texas: -2 (5-1 after 5...L)
Pinny lets you buy half a run on these and pay extra juice. If you did that...you went 4-3 but it wasn't really worth it. If you didn't I think it was 3-3-1..no harm no foul).
Four of the seven are still in progress as I write this. Boston/Cleveland went Over for the full game. LAD/Houston is 3-3 in extra's right now. TB/NYY went Over because of a meaningless run in the top of the 9th. Oakland/Texas went Over even though it was 5-3 in the 9th. So...in a way we did dodge bullpen disasters...lol.
The grading system did have some integrity. The worst graded choice was a loser. The top three went 2-1. Schilling picked a bad time to have a bad outing.
We'll keep looking at this approach. It could turn out that you have to focus only on the +2 or higher games. At least it's something that makes sense to try. I'll keep you posted...