Monday, August 8, 2016

Mistakes Matter

Game 116, August 7, DBAP
Gwinnett Braves: 5
Durham Bulls: 2
Season: 53-63; Home Stand: 2-3
Wrap, Box, Herald-Sun

Game Score: Schultz 48; Season Avg 54 (23 starts, 114 innings)
Tm wOBA: Game .294; Season .301; Difference -.007

Steve Wiseman, writing for the Durham Herald-Sun, captured some of my feelings about the game here:
In the eighth inning, [Casey] Gillespie represented the tying run at the plate with one out and Durham runners on first and second. But, on a 3-0 count, he grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“For a young hitter to come to Triple-A and get the green light, you try to get a good pitch to hit and do some damage,” Sandberg said. “Obviously it’s easy to be critical of him because he made an out. But I want him to be aggressive there. I was pleased with how aggressive he was.”
In the ninth inning, the Bulls loaded the bases with two outs thanks to a Gwinnett error and two walks. But, after working the count full against Braves hard-throwing closer Maikel Cleto, Alec Sole took a called third strike to end the game.

Actually, I'm not critical of Gillespie, I'm critical of the manager. The same manager who, at the start of the 6th inning, didn't even have a reliever warming up when Jamie Schultz was at 90+ pitches. After a double, a long fly ball that moved the runner to 3B, a walk, an errant pick-off throw that scored an unearned run, another walk, Schultz was up to 106 pitches. Markel was finally warming up. The same manager who, with an unusually deep bench, sent to the plate a fellow who has yet to have a hit for the Bulls.

By the way, new to the Rays shortstop Matt Duffy was with the Bulls on a rehab assignment, 0 for 4.

Outside the game —
  • The Bulls have a day off. It's time to note just how much harder these guys work than their major league counterparts. The Bulls first game this year was on April 7, the Rays first game was earlier, April 3. The Bulls have played 116 games in 122 days. The Rays have played fewer games (110) in more (126) days and, of course, traveled in much more comfort. Today is the last day off of the season.
About those unearned runs ...

Unearned runs are the result of mistakes by the defending team. So, it somehow doesn't seem fair to count them against the pitcher. That's why we have earned run averages. Overall, one of the many problems of the Bulls this year is mistakes of various sorts (errors, passed balls, etc.). That situation can be expressed as the percentage of unearned runs as part of the overall runs scored against the Bulls. It is not a pretty picture. And it has been an unlovely picture for most of the year. For the International League as a whole, 10.5% of the runs scored have been unearned. For the Bulls, as of last night, 13.8% of runs scored were unearned. That's down from a season-high of 15.9% back on May 8th, but the Bulls have been above the IL average since very early in the season. Some of that percentage can be attributed to Eddie Gamboa's contribution to the passed ball numbers, a league-leading  28, but the Bulls also hold second place in errors in with 93.

Here's how the unearned run rate has looked since the All-Star break (game 93).

click on chart for larger image

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