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Handicapping "Think Tank" technical handicapping and statistics

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Old 05-02-2006, 08:12 PM
blogguy blogguy is offline
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Default Wednesday Convergence Nominees

For your consideration on Wednesday:

OLSON of FLORIDA vs. Philadelphia. The Phillies did bust out of their doldrums last night. We do have a higher strikeout pitcher tonight in Olson (7.3 to 5.9 for Willis). It's still a pitcher's park, and the wind is still blowing in. Olson's got an ERA of 2.12 this year as well. The only drawback is that the Umpire is an extreme Over guy (thanks JJD for posting the heads up alerts to readers!). So...if you're playing that Over based on the ump, you may not want to cross things up with Olson and Under for the game or for five innings.

COOK of COLORADO vs. Atlanta. Cook's got an ERA of 3.44 despite pitching for Colorado. He's an extreme ground ball guy (59%), even moreso than Jennings who shut down the Braves last night (50%).

Atlanta's scoring the last couple of weeks:
0-2-2-2-2-3-3-4-8

They're having big trouble getting past 3 runs. We also have a decent park (neutral)...and the Umpire is an extreme under guy. The weather is showing the wind out at 7-12...but that's not always a big deal in this particular park. We're not seeing too many PERFECT convergences anyway. The fact that Cook is an extreme ground ball guy may negate the wind influence anyway.

NIEVE and SHEETS to SHUT DOWN EACH OTHER! lol. Both of these pitchers have good numbers so far. Sheets looks great if you throw out his first start back from the injury. It's a 97 park. Last night's game ended 4-2 with Rodriguez and Ohka. If the roof is open the wind's blowing in from center at 6-11. It was shut last night. Visibility doesn't seem so great there when the roof is shut (hence the 97 index). Maybe Under is the only way to go. I could see SHEETS and UNDER if you're so inclined. He is pricey though.

The LA DODGERS to score on HERNANDEZ. Last night sure didn't inspire confidence. But...that was with an extreme Under umpire. We still have the strong road scoring principals for the Dodgers this year. We still have a 104 ballpark index. And Hernandez has an ERA of 5.27 this year...5.00 his last three starts. Hernandez is an extreme fly ball pitcher (only41% ground balls)....and the ball has reportedly been carrying very well in Arizona so far. Warm weather helps.

MAROTH of DETROIT to shut down Kansas City. Many of the same factors in play from last night. Maroth isn't a high strikeout guy, but his ERA is 1.85 this year. The wind has supposedly reversed...blowing out to center at 7-12. That's a strike against it. The Royals offense is so bad that it may not matter. Again, no perfect convergences. Getting a sharp pitcher vs. a horrible offense in a neutral park is probably okay.


Those would be the best nominees in my opinion. I could also see:

*ARIZONA versus Perez might make some sense in that park given his full season ERA of 5.61. He has been better lately, and is a ground ball guy in what's been a HR park. We're already looking at the Dodgers vs. Hernandez (fly ball). This could be telling us that the Over by itself makes the most sense here. Depends on how much weight you place on the flyball/groundball stuff.

*TORONTO and BALTIMORE to both score against Jannsen and Benson. The K rates for these guys are 4.8 and 4.9. That means the offenses put the ball in play. THESE offenses can do damage when they put the ball in play. Wind is forecast to be blowing out to right at 8-13. It's not normally a hitter's park though....and the two pitchers don't have embarassing ERA's. It's more a theoretical hunch that guys who don't get strikeouts would have trouble against these offenses.

*SANTANA of Minnesota to shut down Seattle. Hey...it's Santana and that 8.7 K rate. Seattle's offense comes and goes. I really don't want to ask pitchers to perform for me in this particular ballpark just yet. Figured I'd list it just so we can see if we can tell if they've turned the AC on in the dome yet, lol

So...from the team total perspective:
Philadelphia UNDER vs. Olson
Atlanta UNDER vs. Cook
Houston UNDER vs. Sheets
Milwaukee UNDER vs. Nieve
Dodgers OVER vs. Hernandez
Kansas City UNDER vs. Maroth

The pitchers we'd be looking at to have a strong first five innings...in order of my preferences...would be Sheets, Maroth, Cook, Nieve, and Olson. That's the subset that had a 0.60 ERA through five innings in last night's sample.

Share your thoughts!
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:43 PM
blogguy blogguy is offline
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Default Wednesday Convergence Nominees

You know you've got to keep tinkering when the "maybe's" do better than the "probably's"

Looks like we've got some better nominees to consider for Wednesday

P. MARTINEZ to shut down PITTSBURGH. Great pitcher...neutral park with poor visibility at night...vs. a horrible offense.

COLORADO to score against CLAUSSEN, who is an extreme fly ball pitcher in Colorado (116 park) at altitude with the wind blowing out to left at 9-14. The critical number is 6 for the Rockies...which would seem manageable in this park vs. this pitcher. Claussen's ERA is over 6.00 this year because he's having trouble in the high home run environment.

YOUNG of SAN DIEGO to shut down LOS ANGELES. The Dodgers have had troubles scoring at home this year (93 park index). Young is tough to hit at first because he's 10-feet tall. That's why his ERA is so good this year.

ROBERTSON of DETROIT to shut down the other Los Angeles. The Angels offense hasn't been explosive this year. Robertson's ERA is 3.77. This is a low scoring park when the wind is blowing in (10-15 from right field in the early forecast).

TAMPA BAY to score on WRIGHT of the YANKEES. Wright hasn't pitched well since he was in Atlanta. He had an EAR of 5.68 v.s Tampa Bay last year...and is at 7.20 this year. You're getting TB as a dog in the tandem. If they get to 5 runs, you can't go 0-2 with TB and Over. You can split with a dog winner, split and juice out, or sweep. Can TB get to 5 runs? I would have said definitely 10 days ago. They've been inconsistent. It still makes some sense given who their facing...and the fact that the Yanks could bail out the Over play by scoring 9 runs or more on their own.

BOTH KC AND MINNESOTA to score on MAYS AND RADKE. Both of these offenses do reek. But...it is the Metrodome and these guys each h ave an ERA over 8 for the year (Radke near 9 and Mayls over 11).

The closest thing to an ideal tandem we've seen so far is that Colorado and Over combo vs. Cincinnati and Claussen. We don't know the umpire. That's the only downside. Colorado's been scoring everywhere this year and may actually have an offense.

Pedro and Under makes a lot of sense...but he's very expensive. Colorado's cheap.

Tampa Bay is a great underdog combo. I wish they'd been scoring more consistently lately. It reminds me of Toronto and Over vs. Wells a few weeks back. They had 5 runs by the second inning. Worth thinking about anyway.

For the day I'd rank them this way:
Colorado to get to 5.5 team total (or Colorado and Over)
Tampa Bay to get to 5 team total (or TB and Over)
Pittsburgh to FAIL to get to team total (probably 3) (or Mets and Under)
LAA to FAIL to get to 4 team total (or Tigers and Under)
LAD to FAIL to get to 3.5 team total (or Padres and Under)
KC/Minnesota Over 9.5

We've been looking for ideal convergences. I'd have to say that Colorado vs. Claussen is the best of the week..

Feel free to share your thoughts!
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Old 05-03-2006, 09:01 PM
Superfly Superfly is offline
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Default Wednesday Convergence Nominees

I arrived at Colorado and over independently of this thread, so I hope you're right. I also agree with you on the Rays and Tigers, but would never lay the price with Pedro against a live young arm like Snell. Also, the way the Mets aren't hitting, 2-1 Pirates can happen,

BTW, I'm keeping a very close eye on the Pirates. they have much better talent than the 60 win team they've been playing like. I think the high expectations and the tough early schedule were too much for them, but they are starting to play decent ball. Won a series from the Phils and split with the Cubs in the last week. With the arms they have,and the overlays we are seeing, the Pirates are going to be a money team in May. I am certain of it.

I think the Mets and Reds are going to be the opposite. Neither is as good as they've played so far, and the value will soon be the other way. As you said, Colorado is very cheap tonight. A very large play for me.
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Old 05-04-2006, 09:25 PM
blogguy blogguy is offline
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Default Wednesday Convergence Nominees

Congrats on your Colorado play Super. I don't think I'll be excited about the Pirates until I see the offense score more runs. The scorelines have them centered around 3 I think. They only score when the wind is blowing out or they're facing a really bad pitcher. But we should keep an eye on them based on your feel of the situation. It could be that Unders make sense if you're right about the live arms...then if the team starts hitting we can look at them in value spots.

So far this week I'm having flashbacks to prior years where I tried stuff like this. Asking good offenses to score runs in great hitting parks against vulnerable pitchers is just something THAT DOESN'T WORK AS MUCH AS IT SHOULD! That tells you how hard it is to string together offense against a pitcher who's got movement. Sometimes that stats you see just tell you what happened when the guy didn't have reasonable stuff in prior outings. For Tampa Bay and Colorado to combine for just 5 runs against Claussen and Wright is pretty ridiculous in terms of math.

But...this stuff happens every year. I was hoping the increased offense that we had seen earlier this season might have signalled a change in the sport. It's just such a great strategy to play tandems when you know teams are going to score. In baseball, you can't "know" that to the degree I'd like.

What has been doing okay though has been asking good pitchers in good spots to shut down average or poor offenses for five innings. The guys we've posted (Willis, Rodriguez, Bonderman, Olsen, Cook, Sheets, Nieve, Maroth, Santana, Martinez, Young, and Robertson) have a combined ERA over the first five innings of 3.67. If you take out the horrible game Sheets had, it drops to 2.26. Since we're looking for "how often" we get good games rather than averages...that 2.26 is worth remembering. In eight of the 12 appearances...the starter went 5/1 or 5/1. Taking that guy and the Under over 5 innings went 11-7-3 (using only the Under in Sheets vs. Nieve because they were playing each other).

Trying to hold teams under their tema totals with these guys only went about 50/50 because even in the good outings...Willis imploded later, Pedro got victimized by Wagner, Young was left in too long vs. LA.

Taking the pitchers and Under for the full games went 12-9 (using only Under for Sheets/Nieve).

We had talked earlier about only using 5 innings to neutralize the impact of bullpens...or the tendency for managers to go a few outs too long with a tiring starter. Comparing 11-7-3 to 12-9 is 61% to 57%. There weren't any painful pricey favorites that lost in a way that would mess up those percentages. In fact the priciest guys went 5-0-1 because they were facing Kansas City and Pittsburgh (Bonderman, Maroth, Pedro)

So for now...I'm not going to look for offenses to explode. This year doesn't seem to be any different from the others. Even in the steroid years...great offenses scored less "on command" than everyone realized. They would go 4-9-5-13 or something...which does you no good if the team total is 5.5.

Tonight...there really aren't any good pitching combo's. Most of the games are in hitter's parks with high indexes. The one that isn't in LA has shaky pitchers. From the offfensive end, Arizona looks tempting because they've been scoring runs at home and they're facing an off-rotation pitcher. Since I'm not looking at offenses any more, they'll lead 10-0 in the third inning.

Let me know if you saw anything else in the data you think is worth our attention. I'm optimistic focusing on 5 inning pitcher and Under combo's with the right cocktails are going to offer value.
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