2011 NFL Playoffs: The QBs Reign Supreme

2011 NFL Post-Season Predictions.

Week 1:  The aerial assaults should rule the first weekend.  Brees, Rodgers, Manning, Flacco.

NFC New Orleans 37 Seattle 24
Green Bay 27 Philadelphia 24
AFC Indianapolis 20 Jets 17
Baltimore 23 Kansas City 17
Divisional Playoffs
NFC Green Bay 23 Atlanta 17
New Orleans 37 Chicago 30
AFC Pittsburgh 27, Indianapolis 21
New England 34 Baltimore 20
Conference Finals
NFC Green Bay 37 New Orleans 27
AFC New England 24 Pittsburgh 21
Super Bowl Green Bay 33 New England 30

Congratulations to Bert Blyleven on Your Well Deserved Hall of Fame Election

And congratulations to those voters who valued performance over perception.

10 More Reasons Why Bert Blyleven Deserves Enshrinement in the HOF

1.       Blyleven’s 287 wins are 27th all time. Despite pitching for mostly bad teams, he won more games than Jim Palmer, Juan Marichal, Bob Gibson, Robin Roberts and Whitey Ford.

2.       Blyleven’s 60 shutouts are 4th most in all of baseball since 1921. Every other pitcher in the top 22 is in the HOF (His 60 are only 1 behind Ryan and Seaver , 3 behind Warren Spahn, and more than  shoo-in HOFers such as Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry, Jim Palmer, Ed Walsh, Mordecai Brown).

3.       Blyleven’s 3701 strikeouts are 3rd all-time since 1921. Every other pitcher in the top 17 in career strikeouts is either a Hall of Famer or likely to get in as soon as they eligible.  The only 2 live-ball-era pitchers ahead of him, Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton, walked hundreds of more guys than he did.

4.       Blyleven’s 15  1-0 victories are the most in baseball since 1921.

5.       Somebody crunched the numbers and if Blyleven had even average run support, his career record would have been at least:  313 – 227.  This would explain why he did not win more despite finishing top 10 in the league in ERA+ 12 times (more than these Hall of Famers: Palmer 10 times, Perry 10 times, Roberts 9 times, Carlton 8 times, Ryan 7 times, Sutton 7 times, Niekro 7 times, Jenkins 6 times.

6.       Among the top 60 pitchers with at least 3500 innings, Bert is 5th all time in K/BB.

7.       Blyleven was 5-1, with a 2.47 ERA in the postseason.  Blyleven had the lowest starting pitcher ERA in all 4 of the post-season series that Blyleven pitched in.  In other words, in each series, if you look at all 25 of the starters in that series (6 inning minimum), Blyleven had the lowest ERA in all 4 series — better than Tom Seaver, Jack Morris, Jim Palmer (the latter two Blyleven beat head to head in 1979 and 1987).

8.       Many Hall of Famers struggled against Bert Blyleven:  Reggie Jackson (.214 batting average in 140 Plate Appearances); George Brett (.231 in 128 PAs); Robin Yount (.182 in 114 Pas); Paul Molitor (.257 in 80 Pas); Rod Carew (.260 in 53 Pas); Dave Winfield (.250 53 Pas); Brooks Robinson  (.250); Wade Boggs (.256); Gary Carter (.262); Andre Dawson (.195). Joe Morgan (.188). Ozzie Smith (.200); Johnny Bench (.235); Luis Aparicio (.188);

9.       In order for Jack Morris to approach Bert Blyleven’s career innings and ERA, you’d have to add Mariano Rivera’s entire career.

10.   Of the 38 starting pitchers enshrined in the Hall of Fame since the Deadball era: Only 8 won more than Blyleven. Only 2 struck out more guys than Blyleven.  Only 3 had more shutouts than Blyleven. And only 1 consistently finished more times in the top 10 in ERA+. Hall of Famers are Blyleven’s peers, not superiors.

Reason #287 Why Bert Blyleven Was Better Than Ryan and Sutton and Thus Deserves HOF Enshrinement

Bert Blyleven was a better pitcher than Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton, but they are in the Hall of Fame, and he is not, largely because they got to 300 wins. But that was mostly because they, not he, pitched in pitcher-friendly ballparks (plus Ryan and Sutton spent large portions of their careers in the DH-less NL).

One way to reduce the “home-park advantage” when comparing pitchers is to compare their career Earned Run Averages ON THE ROAD (thus equalizing the playing field).

Bert Blyleven’s Career ERA on the Road: 3.34

Nolan Ryan’s Career ERA on the Road: 3.73

Don Sutton’s Career ERA on the Road: 3.77

Thus, Blyleven outpitched Ryan and Sutton when comparing apples-to-apples, even though they “appeared” to be better since they pitched in more pitcher-favorable leagues/parks.

Plus, Blyleven was one of the greatest post-season pitchers ever.

Blyleven was 5-1 in the post-season (2.47 ERA), and won 2 World Series Championships. (Head to head, Blyleven outpitched both Jack Morris (Morris’ only loss in his first 8 post-season decisions) and Jim Palmer (who up to then was 7-2 lifetime in the postseason).

In the regular season, Blyleven outpitched two of his HOF peers, and in the postseason, Blyleven outpitched two of the top post-season legends of his era.

Blyleven deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Open Letter to the 3 Voters for CC Sabathia over Felix Hernandez for AL Cy Young

Dear BBWAA Members who voted for CC Sabathia over Felix Hernandez for AL Cy Young.

I know why you voted for Sabathia over Hernandez:  Because he won more games.  I get it.  Baseball is about winning games, and CC “won” more games.  But let us ask why CC won more games, despite giving up a run more per game than Felix gave up.  Please allow me to explore why Hernandez, who led all starting pitchers in ERA (yes, even lower than every NL pitcher facing pitchers instead of DHs), managed to lose 12 games.

Answer:  Sabathia won more games than Hernandez, because Sabathia played for the far superior team.  The Yankees scored the most runs in all of baseball.  Seattle scored the fewest runs in all of baseball.  Yes, it’s true:  Even every NATIONAL LEAGUE TEAM scored more runs than Seattle.  So, while CC was padding win totals on the power of the Yankee offense (which scored two more runs a game than Seattle), Hernandez was saddled with the world’s worst offense, leading to things like losing 1-0 on the second to last game of the season.  Plus, the Yankees had baseball’s fewest errors, and Seattle was among baseball’s leaders in errors.  Again, these are things that cost Hernandez wins, but were outside his control.

Oh, and Hernandez did face the “best offense in baseball” Yankees 3 times last year.  Results:

9 innings, 0 ER

9 innings, 1 ER

8 innings, 0 ER.

A Cy Young performance indeed!

Sincerely,

Roysaidit!

PS Speaking of not punishing players for how bad their teammates were, can we put Tim Raines and Bert Blyleven in the HOF already?

World Series Prediction

Ah, post-season baseball as it should be:  Dominating starting pitching rules the day; teams without starting pitching rue the day.  May the better pitching win the World Series.  The question is:  Who has the better pitching?  Well, on paper, SF has the better 1-2-3 starting pitching punch, beginning with 2-time Cy Young Tim Lincecum (who outdueled No-Hitter Halladay), followed by Matt Cain, who has yet to give up an earned run in the post-season, then two lefties (Texas hits lefties worse than righties).  So SF wins, right?  Maybe, but not so fast.

Cliff Lee’s post-season left-handed pitching has been downright Koufaxian, no, Ruthian.  So, although Lincecum could win Game 1 by outdueling Lee (like he did Halladay), changing the World Series calculus, it’s more likely that Cliff Lee is done losing for the season, in which case, Texas looks to become world champions.

SF has enough pitching, starting pitching anyway, to send the World Series to 6 or 7 games, but in the end, it looks to be better to have one all-time-great post-season stud, 2-3 other good starters, and a powerful lineup, than to have a great 1-2-3 punch, but with a mostly punchless offense.

SF may well be title contenders again next year, as they have the best young starting pitching in basball, but this year it’s the Lee-Hamilton show.  While Texas still has them anyway.

And, we’re talking history folks.  Never before or since will the World Series and Super Bowl be hosted in Texas in the same year. 

PS: Although Roysaidit had SF losing to Philly, note this comment: “This series could go long as both teams have terrific starting pitching.”

PS2: At least the Texas over Yankees prediction was correct.

PS3: How about Bengie Molina getting a World Series ring no matter who wins, as he was traded from SF to Texas. Talk about destiny!

Afternoon Joe

So there I was, Saturday afternoon, helping my daughter put her shoes on after gymnastics class and I overhear one parent say to another: “Good luck tonight.”  I look up, and guess who’s there picking up his daughter? Yankee Manager Joe Girardi.   Now I’m a Mets fan of course, but it is pretty cool that, on the afternoon of a playoff game day no less, Girardi is picking up his daughter from class.  Good for you Joe!

Second Round MLB Baseball Predictions

Philly over SF

First game matchup between Roy Halladay (first round: no-hitter) and Tim Lincecum (first round: two-hitter, with 14 Ks) could be one for the ages.  But Halladay gets to face a much weaker lineup.   This series could go long as both teams have terrific starting pitching. 

Texas over Yankees.

Let’s say Texas splits the first two, Cliff Lee continues being Cliff Lee, then Texas splits the next two and, voila, Cliff Lee can wrap it up in Game 6.  But if Yanks win any game Lee starts, that’s all folks. 

Updated World Series Prediction:  Philly v. Texas

Winner:  Still Philadelphia (although it would be hard to bet against Cliff Lee).

MLB Post-season Predictions

Philly over Cincy

Cincy may soon be what Philly is.  But not yet.

SF over Braves

This should be a close, highly contested series. Both teams have the starting pitching to go far in the post-season, but SF’s is younger and has home field.  And shouldn’t it burn Mets fans that their own closer, Francisco Rodriguez, is at home with a self-inflicted wounded pitching hand from punching the grandfather of his kids, while their former closer, Billy Wagner, had a great year closing for the Braves and is now in the playoffs.

Tampa Bay over Texas

The winner here may well go to the World Series.   Texas has the better offense, but Tampa literally runs deeper.   And good for former Met Jeff Francoeur, getting to play for a winner.

Minnesota over Yankees

I will defer to the reasoning set forth here by David Lariviere: http://blogs.forbes.com/sportsmoney/2010/10/04/yanks-division-apathy-likely-to-be-costly-in-playoffs/

World Series:  Philly v. T.B.

Winner:  Philadelphia, a franchise run as well as any in baseball, in contrast to the Mets, who should also take note from Atlanta.

Yankee Strategy Questioned

http://blogs.forbes.com/sportsmoney/2010/10/04/yanks-division-apathy-likely-to-be-costly-in-playoffs/

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