So yesterday I'm reading an item by a regular blogger here, GFoss59, whose first 5 inning picks I've followed, and it goes like this:
A glance behind [Jeremy] Sowers
's pitching log suggests he often gets through 5 innings
just fine -- then gets shelled. (A bet against Cleveland over 5
innings, during his nine starts, won only five times, with two pushes.
A bet against Cleveland for 9 innings won 7 times.) This is
reminiscent, e.g., of Garland for Arizona, liable to put up a 0 first
five effort, then get clobbered.
Thus, the mighty Red Sox got
only one run on Sowers early on May 7 at Fenway -- a
first-5 win for Sowers -- then scored two touchdowns (but missed the conversions) in the 6th inning
en route to a 13-3 win. He held
the Yankees to one first-five run on June 1 -- then was touched for
four runs in the 7th inning. In his most recent start,
he allowed one run to the White Sox in the first five, earning a push
-- then gave up four runs in the 6th inning
. [We call him] "6th inning Sowers."
And then last night, I'm watching the White Sox-Indians game, 2-1 Cleveland, as I start to worry heading into the bottom of the... 6th inning.
Here's the box score for the game -- with the 6th inning run total for Chicago bolded up.Final
Cleveland at Chi. White Sox
Yep -- "6th inning Sowers
." Great call by a great capper, and thank you to covers for posting it.
I've been agonizing now and then about certain games -- 5 innings or 9 innings? And why or why not?
One thing I find helps is writing down my reasons for one or the other. At least I learn over time, and I tend to do my homework.
Here, as a general matter, are my rules of thumb. A number of them are probably "duh" rules -- but again, it doesn't hurt to have something to go by... and this helps you refine things over time.
1. Starter -- 5 innings.
The more I like the starter in the matchup versus the other, the more I like 5. Yes, more good things can happen over 9 -- but so can more bad.
2. Team -- 9 innings.
The more I like the overall team, the more I like 9 over 5. Why not? It's an extra four innings for everything else to come into play... and teams care about winning games, not (alas) leading after 5 innings.
3. Certain guys.
Some pitchers periodically put up a good first 4-5... but nearly always get crushed by the 6th or 7th. (Garland; Sowers). These are guys you want to bet against for 9.
Others have a distinctively better record over 9 innings than 5 (for example, Lee of Cleveland -- though while their lineup is decimated, I've stayed off him altogether, or done the 5 instead of the 9.) 9 guys too.
And still others, of course, are burdened with lousy bullpens, or poor run support. Those fellows argue for 5 innings, of course. Now, the 5 bet means their weak-hitting teams have even less time to get going (such as Toronto, KC.) But these fellows (Halladay, Grinke) seem to have better won-loss over 5 than 9, and that, more than the theoretical possibilities, is what interests me -- performance.
When I really can't come up with a firm preference, I'll do some of each. I often do this with Billingsley, Lee, Halladay, and Pettitte (if I'm brave and betting Pettitte at all.)
I'm indebted to gfoss59 and goallinebob for getting me interested in this -- thanks, guys.
With all the nonsense about Jordan vs. Kobie, Kobie vs. LeBron, we may be missing a paradigm shift in the NBA.
The last 10 titles, going back to 98, have all been won by teams with a dominant big man -- Celtics, Spurs, Magic and Lakers with Shaq.
The question may not be, "who's another MJ?," but rather, "who's another Russell/Wilt?"
My own guess is that this year's finals continue the trend -- for LA to win, it must have its three talented bigs deal with Dwight Howard, and at both ends.
Whatever Kobie does will be flashy and get the coverage, but keeping DH busy pushing and shoving (against Bynum) and running around (vs. Gasol) will help determine whether KB gets to the rim and the free-throw line...
Or is content with contested jumpers, as vs. Celtics last year, as vs. Houston this year.
(As a matter of fact, I think the Lakers will do it. But to me, the key is whether they do it.)
Is LeBron another Kobie? Is Kobie another MJ? A look at history, this year's series, and the likely future, suggests the answer is: