Thursday, April 19, 2012

ESPN's SweetSpot: Dial it to 11!

I'm back with another look at a post on's SweetSpot blog and comparing it to the work of an enthusiastic 13 year old.

Christina Kahrl talks about the amazing pitching performance by Cliff Lee in which he threw 10 shutout innings, only for his team to lose the game due to the equally brilliant performance by the opposing starter, Matt Cain.

In her second paragraph, Ms. Kahrl goes a little off the rails:
OK, that’s pretty amazing. But what’s even more amazing? He didn’t even have the highest game score in that ballgame. Matt Cain did, outpointing Lee 86-85 by allowing just three baserunners in his nine shutout innings to Lee’s seven hits and seven K's. Admittedly, Game Score might be sort of sabermetrics’ answer to figure skating-style judging, but to put these nights into perspective, neither game would rate among the top 300 starts by game score from 2000-2012. So, really good, but not as good as Cain’s smackdown of the Pirates on Friday the 13th -- his last time out -- when he had a Game Score of 96. That’s awesome, but that’s Cain in a nutshell. Even when the other guy’s getting the immediate attention, whoever that guy may be, Cain might just be the better pitcher.
Maybe this is my ignorance of some of the newer sabermetric terms, but what the heck is a game score?  Is this an actual thing?

Based on this post, I have a feeling that game score isn't going to take off.  If your statistic tells you that a 10 inning shutout wasn't one of the best 300 starts in the past three years, then there's a good chance that your statistic sucks.

It also isn't good when you pretty much admit the shakiness of the statistic you just used by comparing it to the criteria used for judging figure skating.  Of course, if you pretty much admit your statistic sucks, then maybe you shouldn't use it as the basis for a blog post.

Then again, I guess saying that Cliff Lee's start wasn't THAT good garners much more attention than simply saying Cliff Lee was awesome.

How the 13 year old would have blogged about the game:

Cliff Lee was awesome last night!  10 inning shut out!!!  Matt Cain was good too, but Cliff Lee?  Awesome!

Sometimes simpler analysis is better.  Game score my @$$.

Winner: 13 Year Old

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