Me, Elsewhere: Slightly Less Epic, But Still Impressive

My latest at Hardball Times responds to a reader request for great pitchers duels in more recent times. Specifically, it covers 1980-2010. I had to lower the standards somewhat, but there are some great games here, including a few in which the Padres participated: Orel Hershiser vs Andy Hawkins, 9/28/88; Andy Benes vs Bret Saberhagen, 7/15/94; Darryl Kile vs Kevin Brown, 9/2/98.

On another note, THT Forecasts are now available. Once again, I have contributed the Padres player comments. For more info, check out David Gassko’s article.

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6 Responses »

  1. Wow. Some serious surprises here. Detroit to win the AL Central by eight games? Hard for me to see both Minny and Chi under .500, when they play KC and Cleveland so often. By the same token, the Mets, Fish, and Nats seem overrated, given that they play in the same division with Philly and Atlanta. And how do the Giants win 96 games with that offense?

    The Padres at 80-82 means a ten-game dropoff but think of it this way — it’s a five game IMPROVEMENT from where they were supposed to be in almost everyone’s 2010 predictions, and they lost their best player (by far) in the interim.

    Two other things that I don’t understand. If you total all wins and losses, the NL comes out 74 games over .500 and the AL is 92 games UNDER. First of all, how is that possible? Second of all, doesn’t it kind of stand the experience of the last 10-15 years on its head?

    There’s a logical explanation, right?

  2. I was at that Hershiser/Hawkins game in 1988. Saw Hershiser break the record but then had to leave in extras… Ma said, “Ya got school tomorrow!”

  3. @The_Slasher14: I can’t speak to Brian’s methodology, but you might find this discussion (The Book) useful. As for the Padres, without having run numbers myself, I’m comfortable with anything in the 80-85 win range for them next year. They are definitely a better team than we thought they were headed into 2010.

    @Mike: Nice… I may have to write more about that game at some point.

  4. People often pine for offense but (for me) when it comes to memorable games it’s always pitching duels. I have the scorecard of a game that Pedro Martinez pitched at Jack Murphy (alright… the Q!) during interleague back in 2002… he was amazing.

    I also did a road trip out to Arizona in 2000 to see Randy Johnson against Daryl Kile and the Cardinals. I think it was one of the best-pitched and most exciting games I’ve ever seen:

    Johnson surrendered a run in the 9th to fall behind 1-2 and then the unthinkable happened… Tony LaRussa overmanaged! He took out Daryl Kile for the stellar Dave Veras, who promptly surrendered a 2-run walk-off HR to Tony Womack.

    That’s right… Tony Womack. An awesome pitchers duel, nonetheless. Daryl Kile and Randy Johnson were dialed in on that day.

  5. Geoff: I’m not questioning the scores for individual players (which is what the link you gave me seems to discuss) or even for individual teams. I’m making the point that the total of every team’s wins and losses must always be equal, and they aren’t in this projection. I’m also pointing out that all NL teams here have MANY more wins than all AL teams. There are 180 interleague games a year (30 teams times 12 games each, divided by two). The projection for all NL teams shows 74 more wins than losses, or 127-53 for a .705 winning percentage. Even in the worst years of AL dominance, this figure was never approached.

    The individual W-L totals, therefore, rest upon an impossibly shaky foundation. I’m not saying they may not be accurate on a RELATIVE basis, but unless I’m missing something they have no meaning in ABSOLUTE terms. The Padres may indeed finish fourth, but to say that they’ll win about 80 games requires accepting a math that is CLEARLY wrong to some extent, and PROBABLY wrong unless one believes the relative strength of the leagues is about to undergo a paradigm shift of historic proportions.

  6. @The_Slasher14: Ah, now I understand. I’ve brought this to the attention of the folks who run the numbers, and apparently it is a by-product of the way standings were calculated. A fix is in the works. As noted, this does not affect individual player projections. Thanks for the catch!