Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rays Get Edge in World Series by Losing Game 5 to Boston

Normally, when I write a stupid headline like that, I'm kidding.

This time, that case is actually being argued by...



Rays' momentum should make Phillies nervous

Wait a minute...momentum?

Philly should be rusty entering World Series, while Tampa is coming in hot

That's true. The Rays have won one (1) game (game) in a row. Their current postseason baseball winning streak total is The Phillies have won their last two, and are 7-2 in the postseason. Ice. Fucking. Cold.

Nobody in Tampa thought this at the time, but losing Games 5 and 6 of the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox may prove to be the best thing that could have happened to a young team making its first-ever postseason foray.

Even the Rays sweeping the Phillies in 4 games would not "prove" that.

We can say that because the Rays didn’t collapse. They didn't cave to the pressure of Game 7 against the defending World Champions. And in refusing to blink in the white glare of the national spotlight, they’ve been given a huge boost in confidence going into their first World Series.

More confidence than, say, dominating (one of) the best team(s) in baseball?

They’ve also got another weapon they weren’t even aware they had

#1 overall draft pick David Price? Trust me, they were aware of him.

a big-game left-handed closer with blistering speed and composure far beyond what a kid who started the season in Class A should have.

David Price racked up his first major league save ever on Sunday. (You had to listen really closely, but under his breath, one of the commentators mentioned that he's never saved a regular season game before. I don't think he knew his microphone was on.) He's a "closer" now. Funny thing is, ol' Mikey here has no clue that he's ticketed for the rotation pretty darn soon.

The kid’s name is David Price, and if it weren’t for him, Boston would be celebrating its third improbable ALCS comeback in the past five years.

I love this blip here. I really do. It implies that no other pitcher in the world could have come in the game in the 8th inning, bases loaded, 2 outs, TB up by 2, and won the game pitching the last 4 outs. News flash, Celizic. Even though J.D. Drew is really good at baseball, he's gonna fuck this up at least 60% of the time. Price got the job done, but it isn't like it was some inexplicable feat of pitching.

These are huge advantages for a team that had never had a winning record before this season, a team that had finished last season with the major's worst record. The last two season have't been kind to those teams coming in rested.

"Have't" is the world's newest favorite contraction.

Thank you for pointing out something that has more to do with luck than an actual, sustainable trend. Use it to argue whatever idiotic point you want. I, however, will counter with this.

Teams entering World Series with five or more days off and how they fared
Year Days Team Opp. Result
2007 8 Col Bos L, 4-0
2006 6 Det StL L, 4-1
2005 5 ChW Hou W, 4-0
2002 5 Ana SF W, 4-3
2001 5 Ari NYY W, 4-3
1996 6 NYY Atl W, 4-2
1995 6 Atl Cle W, 4-2
1991 5 Min Atl W, 4-3
1990 5 Oak Cin L, 4-0
1989 5 Oak SF W, 4-0
1988 5 Oak LA L, 4-1
Source: Elias Sports Bureau

THIS IS PRINTED ON THE FUCKING SAME PAGE AS YOUR ARTICLE. The team with >5 days rest has gone 7-4 over the last 11 occurrences. You are a fucking idiot for trying to claim something based on the most recent two.

Last year’s Rays were the Colorado Rockies, another young team that hadn’t known much success.

Only the 2008 Rays are significantly better than the 2007 Rockies (sorry Larry).

The Rockies did have more veteran experience, mainly in the person of Todd Helton, but, like the Rays, the postseason was unfamiliar territory.

What the hell is your point? The Rox choked it in the World Series. Why are you mentioning this in an article devoted to explaining why the Rays will win?

The Rockies won 14 of their last 15 games to reach the playoffs, then won eight straight to get to the World Series. At the time, we all thought it was wonderful. It turned out to be the worst thing they could have done because they had eight days to rest before the Fall Classic began.

Dude, I'm going to call the Cause-and-Effect police if you don't shut the fuck up right now.

The problem was that with two weeks to go in the playoffs, the Rockies couldn’t even imagine the playoffs.

THIS is the problem? The Rockies tore apart the Phillies and Diamondbacks, followed by losing to the Red Sox because they couldn't even imagine the playoffs??? Something was wrong with the neural synapses in their brains, inhibiting this concept from entering their minds??? know what, fuck it, I'm drunk (yeah!!!! awesome!!!!), and know nothing about neurological science, and just want to point out cleverly in some way that Celizic is a motherfucking moron for attributing (any)% of
the outcome(s) of the Rockies' 2007 playoff run to how many days of rest they've had.

When they got to the World Series, they were flatter than Kansas.

There's like 20313231231e094 celebrity women who would have made for a funnier punchline at the end of this sentence than "Kansas".

(I am aware that "e" appears as a digit in that number. I wrote it in hexadecimal. Base 16, dontcha know.)

And when the Red Sox lit into them, they had no idea how to fight back.

Huh. "Hitting", "pitching", and "fielding" never entered their minds. Go figure. Major league team. Didn't even think of those things.

The same thing was true for Detroit in 2006, when they entered the World Series on six days of rest, but lost to a Cardinals squad in five games.

Again, what happened the prior 6 times a team entered the World Series on >5 days of rest?

The Tigers had won 96 games that season and trounced the Yankees and A's en route to the World Series. St. Louis barely finished over .500, escaped against the Mets in the NLCS, yet rolled in the World Series. Clearly, the Cardinals were helped by staying on a roll.


This is in the running for "Most Useless Paragraph of All-Time".

The Rays could have been in a similar situation had they beaten the Red Sox in five games, as they might have if manager Joe Maddon hadn’t started fiddling with his pitching rotation.

Woah this Celizic PRAISING the Rays for adjusting their pitching rotation so that they might more likely LOSE game 5???

What the FUCK???

I'll drop this little tidbit for ya. Scott Kazmir got in an argument with Derryl Cousins, the home plate umpire for Game 6, earlier in this season. You think that might have had something to do with the switch? Or also, if you have to win one game out of three, the best chance you have is to adjust your pitchers to favor your team heavily in one specific game. Getting Shields to pitch at home, not against the Boston ace, Matsuzaka, is absolutely the correct move.

They’d have come into the World Series having lost just one of eight playoff games with no clue what it feels like to face a must-win game.

A situation that absolutely crippled the 2005 White Sox, who lost the Series in 4 games to the Houston Astros.

Actually speaking of the White Sox, they won 4 straight do-or-die games this season. Why the hell are the Rays doing this much better than they are? Why didn't the confidence of winning from having their razorbacks against the Great Wall of China propeller blade them deep impact into the playoffs?

See, it's fun to insert nonsense words into arguments that make no sense to begin with.

But they lost Games 5 and 6 and then had to find out just what they had inside. As things turned out, it was more than enough.

Here's some counter-anecdotal bullshit to that anecdotal bullshit.

"The Rays, in losing a dramatic Game 5 on the road and a demoralizing Game 6 at home, squeaked by in Game 7 to barely salvage the American League title. However, they move on to the World Series, their minds scarred by the fact that they almost blew everything. What happens when a good team finds out just how vulnerable they are? Just ask the super-confident Phillies."

Yeah. That oughta show ya.

Just as important as what the Rays know is what their opponents, the Phillies now know. They’ve been sitting around with nothing to do but watch the ALCS since they eliminated the Dodgers on Oct. 15. Besides getting rusty with inactivity, they’ve watched the Rays first dig themselves a hole and then climb out of it. As surely as the Rays now know they can come back against one of the game's best teams, so do the Phils.

The Phillies now know that they're supposed to try super hard EVEN IF they are leading in the World Series, the ultimate championship of all that is baseball. Brilliant point!

Wait, what the fuck? The worst the Rays were losing this series was 1-0. They were NEVER in a significant hole.

As fans, we want a seven-game series and the maximum drama. But the reality is that this World Series could easily turn into a rout, just like the past four Series, three of which were sweeps and one of which ended in five games.

You've yet to make any cogent point about why this will happen. Like, using the past matchups (which were comprised of completely different teams) is totally stupid for doing this.

In the past 10 years, there have been just two Series that went the distance. In the 2002 Fall Classic, the Angels prevailed over the Giants in seven, and in 2001, the Diamondbacks plunging a stake through the heart of the Yankee dynasty with a walk-off Game-7 hit.

The odds of the World Series going 7 games is 31.25%. With all likelihood, 3 of those 10 Serieseses, rather than 2, would have gone 7 games. Huh. When you use facts, that hardly seems worth pointing out at all, eh?

This year’s participants are more likely to go short than long, and the team that is probably in more danger of being swept is Philadelphia. There are several reasons to say that. One is that the Phillies are facing more pressure.

With all due respect to the fans and everything, I don't think that Brad Lidge and Pat Burrell care about what happened to the Phillies in like the 90's or anything.

Blame their history for that. As bad as the Rays have been before this year, the Phillies have been bad for almost forever. They have lost more games than any team in major league history, a distinction helped by the fact they’ve been playing the game since 1876.

Again, Shane Victorino probably doesn't give a shit.

They’ve also been waiting since 1983 to get back to the World Series and since 1980 to win it again. That 1980 flag remains their lone championship banner.

See, this is absolutely terrible. The Phillies made the World Series in 1993. Before you think this is a typo, they made the World Series in 1983 as well, making it perfectly plausible that HatGuy is a fucking moron that knows nothing about anything. That's all I'm trying to prove here. It's not a lot to ask that you just believe me.

In Tampa, the newspapers are congratulating the Rays. In Philly, they’re writing about the Phillies' past failures and asking the players why this year should be any different than all the others.

Again, you failed to point out the part where Carlos Ruiz and Brett Myers get negatively affected by this.....

There are no curses in sports, or in life.

Finally, reason wins.

But prolonged losing streaks are helped along by the pressure heaped upon the teams.

We would also have accepted: variance.

Players tend to try so hard to prove they’re not losers that they make the mistakes that turn them into losers.

Jamie Moyer lost all ability to throw hard way before he was a well-known, crafty pitcher. You think he needs to win this World Series to prove he's not a loser? How about Ryan Howard? That 2006 MVP screaming "loser" in the back of his mind?

The only curse Tampa has worked against during the franchise’s lifetime is lack of talent and money. They’ve got the talent now, and they know it. They also know that they can come back because they’ve already done it.


Actually, this is hilarious. This is the 2nd time that Celizic has made this awful inference, but he clearly believes that the Rays "came back" by winning game 7 of the ALCS when the series was tied.

The Phillies are a powerful team, but they don’t know what they can do.

What kind of thing to say is that? "They don't know what they can do????" You disgust me.

They only know that they were swept in the NLDS last year by the Rockies and they sailed past the Brewers and Dodgers this year, never facing a game that they absolutely had to win.

Might I remind you that before Game 7 of the ALCS, the Rays were never in a situation when they absolutely had to win the game, and they still won that game anyway.

Last year, The Rockies sat for a week waiting for the Series to start. Once it did, all their momentum was gone.

They were the inferior team, and weren't very fortunate in the World Series. Nothing else to say here.

Had the Rays taken care of business in Game 5, I would've said the Phils had the edge. But they didn’t, and in losing they became stronger.

This is the most ridiculous sentence I have ever read. Not only does the fact that the Rays didn't win in only 5 games mean NOTHING, but you would have honestly taken the Phillies? You'd take the Phillies over the team with home field advantage that won 97 games in the best division in baseball? REALLY????? Fuck you and your unjustified having-a-job abilities.

They’re no longer strangers to winning, to post-season play or to must-win games. They’ve been there and done that.

If I were a Phillies’ fan, I’d be afraid. I’d be very, very afraid.

Because they're a worse team and Evan Longoria owns Brad Lidge's soul?

Yeah, that's what you're getting at.


Tonus said...

Let me see if I have this "momentum" business worked out...

The Red Sox win game one against an inexperienced Rays team. The Sox have momentum.

The Rays win the next three games, pounding home runs at a ridiculous pace. The Rays have momentum.

The Red Sox come back from a late 7-0 deficit to earn a shocking win, then win game 6. The Red Sox have momentum.

The Rays win game 7.

Looks like momentum isn't worth shit.

Angelo said...

I saw a talk by Sidney Redner based on this paper that says that the mlb data for winning and losing streaks agree with theoretical predictions up through 16 game streaks. After that, the actual frequency is about a factor of 2 higher than expected. It may be due to the small number of statistics (only 27 streaks greater than 16 games since 1901). There was some method to test the role of self-reinforcement on streaks, which was found to be nonexistent for streaks less than 17 games long. Sorry for the long comment but I thought it was interesting. In summation, hatguy is stupid.

Chris W said...


Don't tell LarryB that. I heard he gave Dan Bob 4:1 on the DEVIL Rays for game 7

dan-bob said...


Rockies NEXT October.

dan-bob said...

I'm just sayin', is all!

Angelo said...

re: last two comments
current featured comment on is "this fan predicted in march that the phillies would play in the world series." Okay, douchebag, you're the only person to pick his favorite sports team to win a championship. Ever. I'm just sayin!

pnoles said...

Gee ESPN, thanks a bunch for that "news" blip.

Coming up next....a resident of Manhattan didn't think the Red Sox would make the World Series! Why? Stay tuned and find out....

Tonus said...

Well, he's ahead of ESPN's experts. None of them picked the Phillies to play in the World Series, and they made their picks at the end of the season.

McGatman said...

I personally thought the Rays would fall apart like a $2 sweater in a briar patch, so color me surprised...

Larry B said...

The 2007 Rockies would beat the 2008 Rays if they played anytime between September 15th, 2007 and October 15th, 2007.

dan-bob said...

Because that's when the Rockies had the MOMENTUM!

Momentum ain't just a river in Egypt, children.

Larry B said...

THERE ARE NO INTANGIBLES IN BASEBALL, EVER. The Rockies' 8 day layoff had NOTHING AT ALL to do with how, at the very least, Game 1 of the World Series went. That is pure uncontroverted fact and if you disagree, you probably like Bill Plaschke and you should be shot.

/Dan-Bob and PNoles

CHart said...

Man, I've been reading the blog on my RSS at work, which doesn't include comments. So when I came to the site to comment, and saw that 12 people had already done so -- I was worried. I was worried that 12 people had beaten me to the punch to say "pnoles, you're an idiot". Luckily, only LarryB beat me to the punch, so I don't feel bad reiterating. Pnoles, you're an idiot.

To say that the 8 day layoff had nothing to do with the Rockies implosion last year is foolish. To take the hottest October team of all time, and make them take a full week off was a near guarantee for disaster. I bet if you asked Rockies players now if they would have rather gone 6 or 7 games with the DBacks, if it meant having a shorter layoff, they would all take it.

Say what you want about "momentum", but in the Rockies' case I don't think you can deny it. I invite you to get all statty to prove me wrong, but baseball is a streaky sport. Players get "hot" at certain times, when a bunch of players on one team get "hot" at the same time, the team gets "hot". Taking a week off can "cool down" this "hot" team. I'd make this more scientific, but Blogger makes it hard to insert Thermo equations.

pnoles said...

Might've affected Game 1. I checked out the Game 1 performances of the teams on that list with a 5+ day layoff. They went 5-6 in Game 1, despite going 7-4 in terms of winning the series. I'm not saying it doesn't matter, but it doesn't affect things all that much. It isn't like the Phillies are swapping Pedro Feliz for Evan Longoria.

HatGuy blatantly argued that this layover singlehandedly changes which team is favored to win. I'm allowed to simultaneously think that's crazy while also allowing for the possibility that the week long rest might affect the Phillies negatively.

Tonus said...

The argument can be made that the reason those teams had such a long layoff is because they had a short series due to, I dunno... BEING A PRETTY DAMN GOOD TEAM!!!

But I didn't research that. Still, it sounds good. I'm old school like fucking hat guy, that's right.

cs said...

Baseball is a ridiculously streaky sport. And playoff baseball is almost impossible to analyze because it's all dependant on 10+ guys doing their own individual thing well at the same time in a very short period of time. And sometimes 7 or 8 of those guys can shit the bed, but the team still won cause a couple of guys got hot as hell. Playoff baseball is fucking madness.

Chris W said...

Larry B--

It's not that there isn't momentum, it's just it's impossible to predict.

Yeah, the Rockies lost game one after an eight day layoff and the Red Sox came in with "momentum" after winning 3 straight to battle back from a 3-1 deficit.

OTOH if the Red Sox would have come in an lost we would have said that "momentum" worked to their disadvantage b/c the Rockies were well rested and confident going into the WS whereas the Red Sox were unconfident because they'd almost lost to the Jndjans.

Momentum seems to always be judged after the fact. For instance, yeah, the Rockies had "momentum" during their incredible September run, but then again, going into any given game, you could also say "but they have to lose eventually". Inevitably, only after the fact can we say they had momentum rather than "can they keep this up" tumultuousness behind their games.

Who knows. It's an immeasurable.

Tonus said...

Phillies win game one. Hamels claims that the long layoff may have helped. If the Phillies win, expect Hat Guy to write a column on how the Rays were "too psychologically tired" to deal with the "well-rested Phillies."

pnoles said...

chart - I'll refer to Angelo's blip above, which is actually very interesting. There's absolutely no proof whatsoever that "streakiness" is a factor in the next game. "Streakiness" exists, but because of variance. It's not its own cause.

I don't appreciate being called an idiot by a Rockies fan clearly looking for any excuse possible for his team losing the World Series. I'm sorry, but that's exactly how you come off when you get that angry and don't use a single fact to support yourself.

When you're ready to talk to me calmly and offer some sort of proof for your case besides vague statements that "players get hot sometimes", I'll listen. Really, I will.

Also: your "point" about momentum is counter-intuitive. You say the Rockies are hottest October team of all-time, but the layoff cooled them down, and that if the series went 6 or 7 games instead, they would have been better off. But if they series went 6 or 7 games, that would have involved the Rockies losing games, which would have "cooled them off" as well. ]

See, that's why you have no case. How do you weigh the competing variables of what the team's winning percentage has been lately and how many days it's been since they've last played? You CAN'T. It's not possible.

For the record:

Fresh "hot" Rays: 0
Cooled off guys who haven't played in a week: 1

Your move. Try to include as much Rockies bias as possible, please.

Larry B said...

C-Dub: I'm not sure I believe in "momentum," at least not in terms of it having a huge impact. However, I do believe that having an 8 day layoff will affect any MLB team. No matter how hot or cold you were before the layoff, not being in game situations for 8 whole days will throw off your timing. I'm fairly confident in making that assertion. There are some things you just can't practice ("intangibles," if you will), and I think the Rockies lost some unknown quantity of those "things" between the end of the NLCS and the beginning of the WS. That's all I'm saying.

CHart said...

Let's go about this in a different way. Let's say that instead of the Rockies series going 6 or 7, they had swept (woo, NL champs!). Now, would it have been in their best interest to have the Indians or Sox win in 5 games? I say yes. So in the same sense, it was in the Red Sox best interest to play a long series, get a cold Rockies team, and then sweep them. Just like this year, in that it might have been in the Rays best interest to leave the Phillies in the dugout for as long as possible (league rules clearly state the team must remain in dugout until ALCS is finished).

So in that situation, you don't have to choose which is more important to momentum: winning games or playing games recently. Although I'd probably have to say playing games recently is more important -- I'm getting a detailed spreadsheet with the last 50 years of postseasons broken down so we can know for certain. But really, it's implied that any WS team will have at least a one-game winning streak, probably in a pressure packed game. Stay tuned for that spreadsheet, so we can all know 100% with out a doubt for sure.

I told you this personally, Pnoles, but just so everyone knows, I'm not into facts. Especially in this case where it's not facts your after, it's data. Well, one very personal experience with an October choke is enough data for me.

CHart said...

Wow, I'm sorry. It should say "you're". That's more embarrassing than Larry's 21st birthday.

pnoles said...

No. I'm after facts. Larry just made a comment that disagrees with me that stated facts, and no data, and I'm perfectly able to respect that. I believe he's right. When you don't play for 8 days, it probably does throw of your timing. I'd argue that this is mitigated a bit by saying that though the hitters probably suffer on timing, starting pitchers probably benefit from the extended rest, especially ones who have been ridden extra hard down the stretch and in the postseason. Relievers are probably a toss-up, but we'll say it hurts them a little because they are used to throwing a little bit every few days. But starters probably benefit, which at least takes away some of this effect.

My point is that the extended rest doesn't make that big of an impact on the outcome of the series. Despite all the hoopla about teh Rox last year, this is most likely true. The last 12 teams to play a Game 1 on at least 5 days rest are 6-6, and the last 11 teams to play the World Series on at least 5 days rest are 7-4. I don't have more data at my fingertips. I really would like to see your spreadsheet, and if you show me indisputable facts, I will publicly admit on this blog that I was wrong. However, you have to promise me that you show me the sheet anyway even if it doesn't support your case.

Larry B said...

This blog is actually not in the public domain; Blogger has us regulated so that we can only be accessed from basements of residential dwellings.

cs said...

Dude, not for anything, but 12 games/series is not exactly a worthy sample size. It's crap really. Means nothing. Those are "facts" and "statistics" in the most shaky sense.

pnoles said...

Agreed, it's a small sample. There's only been so many World Series in which that has happened, though. I have the easy job here. All I have to do is give evidence that long layovers have an ambiguous or inconsequential effect on the World Series. It's fun when the burden of proof finally isn't on me. Basically all I mean to say when I brought that up is that recent history does nothing to support the opposing case. By no means do I think that data proves anything. But it is evidence against the idea that long layovers do much to affect the outcome of the Series.

CitizenX said...

The Rockies should have swept in 7 games.

Best of both worlds.