Re: Jason Varitek has Allowed 44 Runs in his Last 8 Pitching Starts!
posted at 6/6/2011 6:59 PM EDT
Well here is an example Moon that at least scratches at a logical explanation for the illogical conclusions drawn from the stats:
Buchholz had tightness in his lower back during his start against the Tigers May 29 and pitched with a degree of caution against the Athletics Friday. Pitching coach Curt Young noticed that Buchholz was not fully extending as he released pitches.
As a result, perhaps, he allowed eight earned runs over 10 2/3 innings in those two games.
The catcher who catches those 10 2/3rds calculated in CERA, as though he had a bad lower back, bad extension on his release. There is no way to know if this evens out over a season or not.
The other catcher caught a game this year where Buch lived a cat's life of nine lives. In two games Buch was awful. In one game he allowed (12 hits - 2 BB) 14 baserunners in 6 2/3 but only 4 runs. In the next start Buch allowed 10 baserunners in 6 2/3 but only allowed 2 runs.
But when two different catcher's own it as CERA it is 8 allowed in 10 2/3rds (6.75 CERA) versus (4.05 CERA). Having watched the four games and in particular the game versus Baltimore with the 14 base runners IMO luck and defense has a lot more to do with that short sample set than the catchers.
And in fairness for much of Tek's career he almost exclusively caught the majority of the staff and somebody, anybody else was asked to deal with the knuckleball. So the decade of data is a misleading though impressive claim.
Just what the numbers mean is very hard to say. The numbers last year said that Lester was slightly above his career averages with Victor and the 1968 version of Bob Gibson with Tek. Lester is a fine pitcher but over 32 starts last year he was not going to be sub 2.00 ERA pitcher who only wasn't because of the catcher.
The 2010 Red Sox with all the bumps and bruises their pitching staff had was not going to allow fewer runs than any other team in MLB if only Tek had caught all 162 games but that is what the numbers say.
Tek is a fine catcher in his twilight. Pitchers have always been very complimentary. Those factors make his continued place on the RS roster possible.
But when we go to the extreme of trying to quantify it by comparing stats, even if from the same pitchers, on different days, against different teams that may be running collectively hot or cold at any point in time you are going to find it hard to get a great followership. And when some of the variances that calculation produces are presented as though they are 100% statistical valid, the argument loses even more credibility.
All the numbers say is that different catchers, catching the same staff on different days, in different conditions, with different umpires have different results.
In baseball we love our numbers, we count everything but measuring the quality of a catcher's contribution to the pitcher may be one of those things that has to be taken for granted based on what the players and managers think about it.
Just my take