Friday, July 31, 2009

You Mean They Play Baseball?

Lost in the constant din of HalladayHalladayHallday was the Jays losing two out of three to a game but terrible Mariners team. The lineup they sent out on Wednesday was borderline embarrassing. Nearly as embarrassing as Cito sending Roy Halladay back out into the heat, as the good men of Bluebird Banter point out. Last year there was some debate around Halladay's ability to pitch in the heat (proved to be nonsense by General Hale, but there was chatter none the less.) All reports point towards the man being spent. Even after he loaded the bases, he was still out there. Bring in a lefty and Griffy may as well swing a rolling pin. But nope, it was Doc's penultimate game before his second-to-last home start, he must finish what he starts.

Sadly, it is that time of year again and now the time of day to sift through the sadness we see before us. You guessed it, it's underperformance o'clock! The fun game where we point to the Jays brutal underperformance of all their expected or third order records. Firstly we look at the cold, hard, indisputable truth. The Jays have 49 wins and 53 losses. But now the fun begins.

The run differential is +42, good for 9th in all of baseball. That means their pythag record is 55-47. Boo. The good people at Baseball Prospectus provide second and third order wins which are calculated to be "luck neutral." Both second and third order wins put the Jays on 54 or 55 wins. The only team with a greater difference between their actual record and these theoretical numbers are the Washington Nationals. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to be associated with them in any way, shape, or form.

Beyond the Box Score offer their weekly power rankings based on a myriad of calculations based on offense, run prevention (including defense!) adding in adjustments for strength of schedule and league. The Toronto Blue Jays &mdash the team many local fans want to "blow up" and "start over"&mdash currently sit fifth in the BtB rankings. The Jays just keep on underperforming their expected records. But how???

Once again, the Jays stink in the clutch. We aren't all imagining it, the Jays are the worst offensive team in basball under high-leverage pressure. By a long shot. The pitching doesn't perform nearly as badly in those high-leverage situations, though it hasn't been great overall. Gross. The main offenders? Vernon Wells natch, Aaron Hill, Lyle Overbay, Marco Scutaro and Adam Lind! All put up much worse numbers when the leverage is high. Rod Barajas and Alex Rios rank as the only Jays with positive clutch numbers. That says a lot, Rod Barajas should lead your team in exactly zero offensive categories. Two rookies are the best high leverage pitchers for the Jays, Romero and Cecil wiggling out of their own jams on a regular basis. The worst? Let's not talk about it.

Don't forget one run games? The games you're supposed to win half the time? The Jays wins 1 out of 3. Those same Mariners, with their awful offense and not great pitching, have won 25 out of 38 one-run games. Guess which team has a better record? Are the Mariners a better team than the Jays? Not even a little bit. At least the Jays have lost 10 extra inning games already!

No wonder this fanbase is so fed up, so ready for change. I made the point in the winter: for the Jays to compete they need to get (or be) lucky. They haven't (and aren't). Blame the GM if you must, but a slight reversal of sacking direction (up rather than down) and we're all singing a whole new tune. One that sounds like PLAYOFFS!

Reuters photo courtesy of Daylife, Rogers promotional photo courtesy of Eye On Springfield


  1. Well written as always.
    Bang on

  2. Wow. Re: Barajas, Rios

  3. One thing to remember especially with barajas is how low the bar is set. His leverage neutral Wpa is so low that ANY clutch contribution will weigh heavy. The opposite holds for Lind.

  4. I want to go drink my sorrows away in my shack with my kitties.

  5. But WHY have they been so consistently bad in the clutch in recent years?


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