Jun 04

Greinke was wrong, and why the ‘W’ is a dumb stat

After the last 6-game losing streak, Zack Greinke told reporters that this team is way too good to lose more than six in a row.

Color me shocked here, but he was wrong. The Royals lost their 7th straight, and Greinke is the last hope to keep the streak from reaching eight games tomorrow, then nine, then a dozen, then 19 – just like that awful 2006 team. (Yes, a 7-gamer turns me into a totally grumpy defeatist.)

Anyway, I didn’t see all of today’s game, so that’s not really what this post is about. Wednesday and Thursday nights’ Omaha Royals games were excellent examples of why it is irresponsible to judge a starting pitcher based solely on the number of wins he has.

Brandon Duckworth pitched eight shutout innings Wednesday night, and didn’t give up a run. He struck out six batters and only needed 102 pitches to get through his outing. But, of course, the ‘pen (in this case, just Victor Marte) coughed up a few runs and ruined the night for Duckworth. The offense didn’t help, managing just one run against Round Rock starter Josh Muecke. It was another one of “those” games.

Tonight, Lenny DiNardo was Lenny DiNardo: One of the best pitchers in the league, but people don’t seem to be noticing because he’s not racking up the Ws. And he’s not racking up the Ws because pitching 7.2 innings and giving up only one run isn’t good enough for the Omaha Royals to win right now. No, apparently the only way for a pitcher here to get a win is to pitch the whole darn game himself, and make it a shutout.

Like Duckworth last night, DiNardo was pretty efficient, throwing 103 pitches in his 7.2 innings. But DiNardo didn’t walk anyone, and he struck out nine.

Going into tonight, DiNardo had given up fewer hits than any other PCL starter (min. 50 IP), and second place was the VERY good Vin Mazzaro, who is now in the Majors. He ws tied for the 5th-fewest runs given up, and 4th-fewest earned runs. DiNardo has only given up two homers, which again puts him in the company of some fine pitchers. Oh, and he’s only walked 10 batters, good for 3rd in the league.

In fairness, Round Rock’s starter tonight was Bud Norris, who is up there with or ahead of DiNardo in all those categories. He also leads the league in strikeouts by a wide margin (although interestingly enough, the pitcher with the 2nd-most Ks is our own Bruce Chen, who deserves his own ranting post at some point).

But still. I am sick and tired of this losing crap. And “crap” was like the 17th word I tried typing there, after deleting words that are much less family-friendly but much more accurate. Being a Royals fan right now is NOT an easy job.  

Related posts:

  1. Lenny DiNardo and his guitar
  2. Zack Greinke is an honest man
  3. Gil Meche is the new Zack Greinke

1 comment

  1. Terry

    Hi Minda,
    I am brand new to your blog, and pretty much new to blogging, in general, being an old-guy and all that. I am SO impressed by your site and by your passion. I am obviously depressed by yet another lost season staring us in the face and I need some guidance before I utterly despair.
    I am SO dad-gummed old I can remember distinctly the 16-game win-streak in ’77, the one loss and then the follow-up 8-game streak that made it 24 of 25. I seriously thought that Whitey Herzog and staff had paradigmed baseball down to it’s essence: speed, fundamentally sound defense, intelligent, bullpen-by-committee pitching, speed, grinding, contact at-bats, speed, gap-power, speed. What’s missing here: POWER!
    It seems to me that the entire game of major-league baseball is still drunk from the game-saving home-run chase that was the summer of 1998. I was there, I remember it, and even an elementalist such as I was THRILLED by it. It immediately evoked memories of the summer of ’61, when the MM boys, Mantle and Maris, chased Babe Ruth’s fat behind and absolutely LIT UP America. (PS- just as a reminder to neophytes, ’61 was, as I recall, an expansion year.) But the ’98 duel only served to distort this loveliest of games, and distort it, as we later learned, most putridly through the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
    So my question to you is this: What is SO bloody wrong with a gap-hitting team full of speed demons, who put the ball in play on a regular basis, who run the bases aggressively, and properly, who know how to manufacture runs, who can not only identify the cut-off man two out of three times, but who can actually HIT him on occasion, who can shorten their bloody swing with two-strikes, who can live without seeing themselves on SportsCenter every other night? In short, where is Willie Bloomquist when you need him?
    Surely you remember Jim Wohlford from the late 70’s, a utility man’s utility man. (Well, perhaps you don’t, you seem awfully young.) Jim Wohlford rarely failed to advance a runner, make a key catch in the late innings, or steal a base when you really, really needed it. I have probably traded automobiles more frequently than Jim Wohlford went yard in his entire career. But he was like a good beat-cop, always in the middle of it, always there, even when you didn’t know you needed him.
    Baseball always seems like such a grinding business, due to it’s unrelenting season. You HAVE to have grinders in order to grind. Jim Wohlford was a grinder. Willie Bloomquist is a first-class grinder. Are there, in fact, any other grinders on this Royals roster? I sincerely believe that Billy Butler, despite his lack of defensive skills, will get there. I think that Mike Jacobs is an emotional grinder, there to cheer his teammates on, despite his limitations as a jacker. (If he wasn’t so emotionally involved with this team as a cheerleader, I would have to seriously question his acquisition. He has no skills defensively, and he advances no runners. Again, this lust for power rears it’s ugly head.)
    I think Jose Guillen, despite his rhetoric, grinds for no one other than himself. How can he pontifacate about winning when he clogs up the bases, and the outfield, with his bad hip? (The Royals are a team with at least 3 legitmate DH’s. Too bad you can only truck one of them up to the plate at a time.) Jose is past him prime as a defender, prideful and selfish. Yes, he is a legitimate bat, yes he has a quality arm, but there must be people on base in order for this old man to drive them in. He must also be in a position to field a ball in a timely manner in order for him to have a chance to utilize his fabulous arm and have an impact on a play. (But I digress.) If there is a cancer in this clubhouse, I cannot think of a better candidate to own that distinction than this guy. How many teams has be played on in how many years? There is talent and then there is over-blown, cancer-causing talent. Give me someone with less power, who can actually chase a ball down in the gap, and who actually inspires by the quality of his play, not by the pontification about HOW he inspires to play. As I have always been lectured about writing: show, don’t tell.
    Please share your thoughts with me, if you feel like it, Minda. You have tons more insights than I and I want to know if this season can be salvaged at all. I think Detroit’s rotation is coming together and that they are on the verge on just running away and hiding in this mediocre, injury-riddled division. If our boys could have just competed around .500, and not the .250 ball they’ve been playing for a month? I really think the team is on the verge of missing it’s last boat: the fans were SO starved for a competitor, and SO in love with a refurbished stadium, that they would have cut it some slack during a mediocre start. But no longer. The thrill of a tremendously renovated Kaufman stadium shall soon fade if a quality team does not soon inhabit it.

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