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luck-2 | May | 2006 Articles

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Luck

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Some dude named Voros McCracken came up with the idea a few years back that pitchers don't have much of an effect on balls once put in play. (They do have some, but not a whole lot.) He came up with a pitching statistic with the acronym of DIPS. (DIPS=Defense Independent Pitching Statistic...There's a section in the book Moneyball that discusses it along with Chad Bradford's career.) With this idea in mind, the only things a pitcher can control that's not controlled by defense or bloops is number of walks allowed, number of guys struck out, and homers allowed. So, is Chris Reitsma unlucky? He has given up 31 hits in 22 innings. A look at the numbers tell you that he has walked 6 batters. Well, that's not too bad. But he's only striking out 12? A K/9 rate of 4.91? Ouch. How many homers has he given up? 4. Not too good. So the truth of the matter shows that he might be unlucky on balls put in play, but he sucks anyway. Last year, other than his K rate being mediocre, he was being unlucky on balls in play again. He didn't allow a lot of homers and walked very few, so at times some people (like me) could rationalize him as being closer, because there was no better option. His numbers were pretty good other than the strikeouts. This year, he's still unlucky but now is giving up some homers (and some near homers). Not a good recipe. Meanwhile, is Ken Ray a solution to taking his place? Well, he's probably the best in-house solution since Remlinger is 40 years old. But a look at his numbers shows that he's been lucky. Ray has a pedestrian K/9 innings ratio of 5.76. In 25 innings, he's walked 10, which is mediocre. He has kept the ball in the park almost all the time. His main success has been off of giving up 16 hits in 25 innings. My observation has been that he's getting a lot of weak swings with the ball rolling to Giles. He might be a short-term solution, but those groundballs will find holes eventually. If he can keep the ball down, he can keep the homers down. I just do not see that unbelievably good ERA staying this low all season. The Braves' best reliever has been Remlinger, which may come as a bit of a surprise to a lot of you. He has a K/9 ratio of nearly 9. In 15.2 innings, he's walked just 4, and given up one home run. But that's a small sample size, and he's a 40 year old coming off a bad year. He has looked terrific though. This should help everyone understand Bobby's reluctance to give the ball to someone else other than Reitsma. But at this point, he's got to do it sooner or later. He probably has not officially done it yet because of the 6-3 road trip, and the fear of messing up good chemistry.

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