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SoxxoS
06-21-2005, 10:37 AM
Partial article from a slowly turning believer...Rob Neyer (http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=neyer_rob&id=2090519)

When teams don't score more than three runs, they nearly always lose. You might be thinking, "Is it really so hard to win a game in which you score three runs?" No, it's not. But three's the upper limit here; all those three-runs-or-fewer games also include twos, ones and zeroes. And it's awfully hard to win if you don't score. Anyway, a year ago the Cardinals were 13-33 (.283) in games in which they scored three or fewer runs, and they were the best in the majors. Meanwhile, the White Sox last season were 7-50 in those games, third worst in the majors.

And this season? The White Sox are 9-11 (.450), tops in the majors. No. 2 in the majors: the Angels, who are 11-20 (.355) in games in which they score three or fewer runs. Oh, and in case you're wondering, another key to the White Sox' success is that they haven't played many of these games. They've scored three or fewer in 20 games; only the Red Sox and Rangers, with 19 apiece, have played fewer. So the White Sox are generally scoring enough runs to give themselves a chance, and when they don't they've still got a chance. Hey, maybe there's something to this run-manufacturing after all.

Oh, one more thing: Every team in the major leagues has won at least two of these games. Except one. The New York Yankeeographies have scored three or fewer runs in 24 games, and they've lost every one of them. Zero and 24. Don't worry, True Believers, they'll eventually win one. If Derek Jeter (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/profile?statsId=5406) can hit a grand slam, anything's possible.

(Thanks to STATS, Inc. for all the above numbers.)

Sxy Mofo
06-21-2005, 10:41 AM
Doing a bit more math, if i've got my formulas correct, which i think i do, the sox have scored 3 or fewer runs 28% percent of the games this year, compared with last years 35% of games with 3 or fewer. Weird.

Iwritecode
06-21-2005, 11:05 AM
Doing a bit more math, if i've got my formulas correct, which i think i do, the sox have scored 3 or fewer runs 28% percent of the games this year, compared with last years 35% of games with 3 or fewer. Weird.

It just shows how much more balanced the lineup is this year. Instead of scoring 10 runs one game and getting shutout the next 2, they are consisntantly able to put up 4 or 5 runs a game.

SoxxoS
06-21-2005, 11:11 AM
It just shows how much more balanced the lineup is this year. Instead of scoring 10 runs one game and getting shutout the next 2, they are consisntantly able to put up 4 or 5 runs a game.

Exactly.

maurice
06-21-2005, 11:42 AM
[A]nother key to the White Sox' success is that they haven't played many of these games. They've scored three or fewer in 20 games; only the Red Sox and Rangers, with 19 apiece, have played fewer. So the White Sox are generally scoring enough runs to give themselves a chance, and when they don't they've still got a chance. Hey, maybe there's something to this run-manufacturing after all.

We had a heated thread on this subject during the offseason. The FOBB contended that only run totals matter and that changing the team's style of play through an emphasis on spped and situational hitting would not affect run distribution. So much for that theory.

Flight #24
06-21-2005, 11:46 AM
We had a heated thread on this subject during the offseason. The FOBB contended that only run totals matter and that changing the team's style of play through an emphasis on spped and situational hitting would not affect run distribution. So much for that theory.

Well, Sox are 7th in runs scored, so that throws that out of the water. Similar totals AND less volatility = good.

fquaye149
06-21-2005, 11:50 AM
We had a heated thread on this subject during the offseason. The FOBB contended that only run totals matter and that changing the team's style of play through an emphasis on spped and situational hitting would not affect run distribution. So much for that theory.

I also remember FOBB's (And Hangar and the other Pods haters) claimed we did NOT have any problem scoring runs last year:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

they said these so called 10 run one day 0 runs the next day didn't really happen that often.

HMMM. If we were so awesome offensively last year how is it we score 3 or less in FIFTY SEVEN games???

I'm waiting, DaDawg...

scottjanssens
06-21-2005, 11:55 AM
We had a heated thread on this subject during the offseason. The FOBB contended that only run totals matter and that changing the team's style of play through an emphasis on spped and situational hitting would not affect run distribution. So much for that theory.

Pardon my ignorance, but what is FOBB?

Baseball Prospectus had an article last week looking at the numbers to see if they supported a small-ball strategy over a take-and-rake strategy. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4125 (Subscription necessary). It's a well written article that shows that take-and-rake will consitently generate higher run totals than small-ball. Where it breaks down is it doesn't go into that individual game totals win games not season totals. Still, some interesting reading if you have a subscription.

DaleJRFan
06-21-2005, 11:59 AM
Pardon my ignorance, but what is FOBB?

Friends of Billy Beane

fquaye149
06-21-2005, 11:59 AM
Pardon my ignorance, but what is FOBB?

Baseball Prospectus had an article last week looking at the numbers to see if they supported a small-ball strategy over a take-and-rake strategy. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4125 (Subscription necessary). It's a well written article that shows that take-and-rake will consitently generate higher run totals than small-ball. Where it breaks down is it doesn't go into that individual game totals win games not season totals. Still, some interesting reading if you have a subscription.

the problem with that number crunching is that small-ball teams in baseball are not generally small ball by choice - see TB, Pittsburgh, Seattle the last two years, etc.

Therefore, it doesn't really show what will happen when a team like the White Sox dedicates some significant money to putting together a SO-CALLED smallball team, getting the best base stealers and situational hitters they can rather than just looking at the "talent" they have and saying, "well, we're not going to get on base or slug it very well, so let's squeeze out as many runs as we can"

ilsox7
06-21-2005, 12:00 PM
Where it breaks down is it doesn't go into that individual game totals win games not season totals. Still, some interesting reading if you have a subscription.

So basically it's a worthless study?

Each game is a seperate entity in itself. If you outscore an opponent 10-7 over 2 games, but win one 10-0 and lose one 7-0, isn't that worse than winning one 5-4 and the other 5-3? That is essentially what the Sox are doing this year. Maybe a study on that can or cannot be done, but it seems that this article you speak of just rehashes old crap (sorry I cannot go read it b/c I wouldn't ever subscribe to BP).

Sxy Mofo
06-21-2005, 12:04 PM
I also remember FOBB's (And Hangar and the other Pods haters) claimed we did NOT have any problem scoring runs last year:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

they said these so called 10 run one day 0 runs the next day didn't really happen that often.

HMMM. If we were so awesome offensively last year how is it we score 3 or less in FIFTY SEVEN games???

I'm waiting, DaDawg...


How do they not remember those types of games? I could've told you without looking at the numbers that we had less 3 or less run games this year than last.

From years past I don't remember the big games as much as I remember the frustration in the lineup ("we have this many great hitters and we can't score more than one run") so many times.

dcb33
06-21-2005, 12:12 PM
the problem with that number crunching is that small-ball teams in baseball are not generally small ball by choice - see TB, Pittsburgh, Seattle the last two years, etc.

Therefore, it doesn't really show what will happen when a team like the White Sox dedicates some significant money to putting together a SO-CALLED smallball team, getting the best base stealers and situational hitters they can rather than just looking at the "talent" they have and saying, "well, we're not going to get on base or slug it very well, so let's squeeze out as many runs as we can"

The other problem is the Sox can't be typecast as having a "small-ball" or "take-and-rake" style offense because they play both styles very well and and can play whatever style they need to in order to win on any given night. The ruthlessly balanced offense of the Sox really shows in the stats: 1st in the AL in SB and Sac hits, 3rd in the AL in HRs, and 5th in the AL in runs scored. Outstanding production like that in so many different categories explains why they get the job done as much as they do.

scottjanssens
06-21-2005, 12:18 PM
the problem with that number crunching is that small-ball teams in baseball are not generally small ball by choice - see TB, Pittsburgh, Seattle the last two years, etc.

An excellent point.

scottjanssens
06-21-2005, 12:21 PM
So basically it's a worthless study?

It's not completely worthless. It doesn't prove that one strategy is better than the other. It just shows that take-and-rake will consistently generate more runs over the course of a season than small-ball. The traditional thinking was that they'd sort of balance out.

It's probably easier to create a take-and-rake team than a good small-ball team (not that the Sox play small-ball), though. In the end I maintain it's pitching that makes the biggest difference.

scottjanssens
06-21-2005, 12:23 PM
The other problem is the Sox can't be typecast as having a "small-ball" or "take-and-rake" style offense because they play both styles very well and and can play whatever style they need to in order to win on any given night. The ruthlessly balanced offense of the Sox really shows in the stats: 1st in the AL in SB and Sac hits, 3rd in the AL in HRs, and 5th in the AL in runs scored. Outstanding production like that in so many different categories explains why they get the job done as much as they do.

Exactly. This is why Ozzie calls it smart-ball (I can't stand that term). It's not small-ball, it's balanced-ball. (Hmm, I don't like that term either.)

ilsox7
06-21-2005, 12:24 PM
It's not completely worthless. It doesn't prove that one strategy is better than the other. It just shows that take-and-rake will consistently generate more runs over the course of a season than small-ball. The traditional thinking was that they'd sort of balance out.

It's probably easier to create a take-and-rake team than a good small-ball team (not that the Sox play small-ball), though. In the end I maintain it's pitching that makes the biggest difference.

Agreed.

Flight #24
06-21-2005, 12:24 PM
The problem lies not in the study, but in those who would take the results form that study and apply them inappropriately, or claim that the study is the be-all/end-all of studies rather than a look at a certain facet of the game that be necessity ignores many other variables which likely impact the results.

I.e., it's not the stats, it's the statisticians.

ElevenUp
06-21-2005, 12:25 PM
The other problem is the Sox can't be typecast as having a "small-ball" or "take-and-rake" style offense because they play both styles very well and and can play whatever style they need to in order to win on any given night. The ruthlessly balanced offense of the Sox really shows in the stats: 1st in the AL in SB and Sac hits, 3rd in the AL in HRs, and 5th in the AL in runs scored. Outstanding production like that in so many different categories explains why they get the job done as much as they do.


Excellent point. I do not consider this team a "small ball" group. It's not like 1-9 are a bunch of guys who walk, bunt, and steal. What KW has done well with this group is put together a team that can bash and/or manufacture runs when the game dictates. Having a great pitching staff helps with all of this as well.

elrod
06-21-2005, 12:27 PM
Winning close games is what it's all about. To win close games you need a balanced lineup, good defense, a good bullpen, and a strong starting staff. The defense numbers don't look great but the range is there and the errors haven't hurt us very much. But our offense is very balanced (lots of SBs, sac bunts and flies and HRs), our starters are 5th best in MLB, and our relievers are 5th best in MLB. In other words, we are the sort of team that keeps the opposition in check, holds leads, makes the plays, manufacturers runs and gets big home runs. The only thing that baffles the FOBBs is the low number of walks. I suspect that will change with Frank in the lineup but there is no doubt that our guys have made the most of a low OBP so far. So, other than the low walk total, there should be nothing statistically surprising about the team's success so far. And with walk totals about to jump I'd expect to see even that anomaly disappear.

scottjanssens
06-21-2005, 12:30 PM
I.e., it's not the stats, it's the statisticians.

Absolutely! The careless users of statistics make it difficult for those who actually know how to properly use them to make valid points.

Not that I'm bitter about it or anything.

FloridaSox
06-21-2005, 12:32 PM
Pardon my ignorance, but what is FOBB?

Baseball Prospectus had an article last week looking at the numbers to see if they supported a small-ball strategy over a take-and-rake strategy. http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4125 (Subscription necessary). It's a well written article that shows that take-and-rake will consitently generate higher run totals than small-ball. Where it breaks down is it doesn't go into that individual game totals win games not season totals. Still, some interesting reading if you have a subscription.

Thanks for the providing the link--it was a very interesting read. The Sox offensively are an interesting team--10th in league BA, 8th in OBP, but 5th in runs scored. Why is the offense more efficient than the periphals show? Perhaps two reasons--3rd in Home Runs (take and rake) and , of course, 1st in SB and Sacrifices bunts and flys--small ball.. Are we playing both rake and bake and small ball? Is seems so.

Flight #24
06-21-2005, 12:38 PM
Thanks for the providing the link--it was a very interesting read. The Sox offensively are an interesting team--10th in league BA, 8th in OBP, but 5th in runs scored. Why is the offense more efficient than the periphals show? Perhaps two reasons--3rd in Home Runs (take and rake) and , of course, 1st in SB and Sacrifices bunts and flys--small ball.. Are we playing both rake and bake and small ball? Is seems so.

Nah, it's all luck....just ask Joe Sheehan!

nebraskasox
06-21-2005, 01:17 PM
Exactly. This is why Ozzie calls it smart-ball (I can't stand that term). It's not small-ball, it's balanced-ball. (Hmm, I don't like that term either.)

I also don't like the terms the media keeps groping for to describe the way the Sox are playing. It's winning ball. Maybe "win or die trying" actually says it best. The Sox have been able to do whatever it takes: sac bunt, stolen base, key DP, timely hit, key strikeout (e.g., Tejada). That's what makes it balanced. They're playing as a team - everyone, including bench and bullpen, contributing. Ozzie called it "White Sox Baseball" after the Saturday game vs. Dodgers. That has a nice ring to it.

Isn't this great!

mjmcend
06-21-2005, 01:28 PM
In the end I maintain it's pitching that makes the biggest difference.

We have a winner. We are on pace to score 3 or less runs in 47 games this year as opposed to 57 last year. Not a huge difference (although every bit helps). It is the fact that we are winning those games at an over .400 clip that is amazing and what makes our record the best in the bigs. And that can be attributed to one thing only, pitching.

FloridaSox
06-21-2005, 01:36 PM
We have a winner. We are on pace to score 3 or less runs in 47 games this year as opposed to 57 last year. Not a huge difference (although every bit helps). It is the fact that we are winning those games at an over .400 clip that is amazing and what makes our record the best in the bigs. And that can be attributed to one thing only, pitching.

...the White Sox lead the majors in Defensive Efficiency and this is a major contributor to our ability to prevent runs.

elrod
06-21-2005, 04:50 PM
Last year, through 69 games, the Sox scored 3 runs or less 21 times, only one more than this year. But in those games the White Sox were 2-19. So the article's "insight" is wrong. We score 3 or less in just about the same amount of games. The difference is that our win pct. is .450 and not .095.

Daver
06-21-2005, 05:01 PM
I.e., it's not the stats, it's the statisticians.

And that is why all numbers lie.

How many championships have the propprellerhead GM'S won in the last decade?

fquaye149
06-21-2005, 07:38 PM
And that is why all numbers lie.

How many championships have the propprellerhead GM'S won in the last decade?

well, epstein won last year. but that was more a Manny, Ortiz, Schilling, and Pedro world series than a Marco Scutaro world series

StillMissOzzie
06-21-2005, 08:11 PM
the problem with that number crunching is that small-ball teams in baseball are not generally small ball by choice - see TB, Pittsburgh, Seattle the last two years, etc.


I'll give you TB & Pittsburgh, and probably a few more, due to small market payroll constraints, but Seattle? They've committed a gazillion dollars to acquire Sexson and Beltre, so not only would I not call them a small-ball team, it was definitely by choice that they've gone the big bopper route.

SMO

fquaye149
06-21-2005, 08:25 PM
I'll give you TB & Pittsburgh, and probably a few more, due to small market payroll constraints, but Seattle? They've committed a gazillion dollars to acquire Sexson and Beltre, so not only would I not call them a small-ball team, it was definitely by choice that they've gone the big bopper route.

SMO

you must have missed the part where i said "the last two years"

FloridaSox
06-21-2005, 09:02 PM
And that is why all numbers lie.

How many championships have the propprellerhead GM'S won in the last decade?

Theo Epstein in 2005.

Daver
06-21-2005, 09:20 PM
Theo Epstein in 2005.

Epstein inherited the core of that team, he did not build it.

The team he is building is sitting behind the Orioles right now.

FloridaSox
06-21-2005, 09:28 PM
Theo brought in Mueller, Ortiz, Bellhorn and Millar, players not tended by their original teams, signed Foulke and Embree as free agents, traded for Schilling. I'd say his fingerprints are all over the championship team.

Daver
06-21-2005, 09:39 PM
Theo brought in Mueller, Ortiz, Bellhorn and Millar, players not tended by their original teams, signed Foulke and Embree as free agents, traded for Schilling. I'd say his fingerprints are all over the championship team.

We'll agree to disagree, they won because of Damon, Ramirez, and Martinez.

Vince
06-21-2005, 10:05 PM
Where it breaks down is it doesn't go into that individual game totals win games not season totals.

I wrote one of the BP writers making this exact point, after he made a anti-Sox post (these guys get so tied up in their statistical models that they tend to go a little crazy when they don't work out). I never got a response.

A run in a 2-1 victory is worth more than a run in a 10-0 blowout. None of their statistical models take this into account, as far as I can tell.

fquaye149
06-22-2005, 01:23 AM
Theo brought in Mueller, Ortiz, Bellhorn and Millar, players not tended by their original teams, signed Foulke and Embree as free agents, traded for Schilling. I'd say his fingerprints are all over the championship team.

theo brought in bellhorn. that's about it.

unless i'm mistaken and theo started TWO years ago and not last year.

even if I'm mistaken, no non-top-3 team could have put together a similar team without mortgaging the family farm

Lip Man 1
06-22-2005, 02:03 AM
This is Rob Neyer friends...remember him from that little 'chat room' exchange with that Sox fan?

Screw him and everything that he stands for.

Lip