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The Kershaw playoff narrative
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stever20 Offline
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Post: #1
The Kershaw playoff narrative
So I did some looking at the actual numbers....

There's been 58 pitchers who are in the Hall of Fame who pitched at least some in the 1903 and forward era.

Of those 58- first off- 5 guys never played in the playoffs. Rube Waddell, Jack Chesboro, Jim Bunning, Fergie Jenkins, and Ted Lyons.

17 guys pitched to a higher ERA in the postseason than they did the regular season. Of these 17, only 2 had a postseason ERA more than 55% of their regular season ERA. Hal Newhouser and Gaylord Perry.

What I think is a really interesting number is 12/53 HOF pitchers have their postseason ERA +/- 5% of their regular season ERA. 25/53 guys within 20% of their regular season ERA.

So Kershaw is a really an extreme outlier I think. By far the most extreme guy in the last 30 years. I mean, no other HOF guy in those 30 years that is over the 20% mark either way. Before this- it's been Pedro at 18.1% worse and Smoltz at 19.8% better. This years HOF class could change that- as 5 of the top 6 pitchers by the BR hof meter are outside that 20% threshold-
Wagner 77% worse
Santana 24.1% worse
Hoffman 20.6% worse
Clemens 20.2% worse
Schilling 35.5% better
(kershaw for the record is 88.3% worse right now)
11-06-2017 10:52 AM
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Brookes Owl Offline
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Post: #2
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
"Hey Brookes, I have a big shaker of salt here. Can you hold that gaping wound a little closer?"

What the hell's the matter with you? 03-hissyfit

I think there are lots of explanations for why this has happened. Certainly the Dodgers, prior to this year, have had pretty shaky bullpens in the post season. Managers (Roberts last year and Mattingly prior) were understandably reluctant to pull him. And of course the injury stuff the last two years. But at some point you just have to say it's a thing and it doesn't matter why because it's persisted for so long. I'm as hopeful as can be that next year the Dodgers can get back to the WS and Kershaw can dominate and we won't have to talk about this, but I'm done making excuses. It's just a huge bummer.

As to the content of your post: ERAs in the post season SHOULD be worse, on average, because playoff offenses are better. So pitchers who can minimize the increase in ERA, or in the very best of cases actually decrease their ERA in the playoffs, are extra valuable.
(This post was last modified: 11-06-2017 01:30 PM by Brookes Owl.)
11-06-2017 12:57 PM
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stever20 Offline
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Post: #3
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
what's strange is in the group of 53 HOF pitchers....
17 guys have been worse...
2 guys have been exactly the same
the other 34 guys have been better- with a good 17 of them having an ERA a good 33% better than their regular season. And of the guys worse- 4/17 are within 7% of their regular season ERA.

What is strange is how recently everyone has been within 20% of their ERA good or bad. That's what makes Kershaw so utterly fascinating. He is such the outlier on this. You had guys far more on either side of things earlier in baseball history.
11-06-2017 01:15 PM
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Brookes Owl Offline
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Post: #4
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
(11-06-2017 01:15 PM)stever20 Wrote:  what's strange is in the group of 53 HOF pitchers....
17 guys have been worse...
2 guys have been exactly the same
the other 34 guys have been better- with a good 17 of them having an ERA a good 33% better than their regular season. And of the guys worse- 4/17 are within 7% of their regular season ERA.

What is strange is how recently everyone has been within 20% of their ERA good or bad. That's what makes Kershaw so utterly fascinating. He is such the outlier on this. You had guys far more on either side of things earlier in baseball history.

I think it's reasonable to expect that most HOF pitchers would be better or same in the playoffs. That's what you'd expect of a HOFer.

But you're right that the Kershaw case is especially difficult to understand. And I think it's going to be very difficult to make The Narrative go away now. His best case scenario, it'll still be a footnote.
11-06-2017 01:38 PM
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stever20 Offline
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Post: #5
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
(11-06-2017 01:38 PM)Brookes Owl Wrote:  
(11-06-2017 01:15 PM)stever20 Wrote:  what's strange is in the group of 53 HOF pitchers....
17 guys have been worse...
2 guys have been exactly the same
the other 34 guys have been better- with a good 17 of them having an ERA a good 33% better than their regular season. And of the guys worse- 4/17 are within 7% of their regular season ERA.

What is strange is how recently everyone has been within 20% of their ERA good or bad. That's what makes Kershaw so utterly fascinating. He is such the outlier on this. You had guys far more on either side of things earlier in baseball history.

I think it's reasonable to expect that most HOF pitchers would be better or same in the playoffs. That's what you'd expect of a HOFer.

But you're right that the Kershaw case is especially difficult to understand. And I think it's going to be very difficult to make The Narrative go away now. His best case scenario, it'll still be a footnote.

Not so sure about your last statement. I heard someone brining up John Elway. His legacy totally changed his final 2 years. Not sure if Kershaw can do that or not- but I think there's still hope...

It's amazing countering the careers of him and Madbum. I think Madbum is viewed as a much better pitcher than maybe he really is due to his postseason career...
11-06-2017 02:04 PM
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stever20 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
it's funny looking at 2 guys- Mike Mussina and John Smoltz.....
2015- HOF voting…
Mussina had by BR 83.0 WAR and 44.5 WAR7. 63.8 JAWS 82.2 fWAR.
Smoltz had by BR 69.5 WAR and 38.8 WAR7. 54.2 JAWS. 79.6 fWAR.

Smoltz got into the HOF with 82.9% of the vote
Mussina didn’t get in- he got 24.6% of the vote and just last year got up to 51% of the vote.
why?
post season history:
Smoltz 15-4 2.67 ERA 3.18 FIP
Mussina 7-8 3.42 ERA 3.54 FIP
11-06-2017 02:18 PM
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Wedge Offline
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Post: #7
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
(11-06-2017 02:04 PM)stever20 Wrote:  I heard someone brining up John Elway. His legacy totally changed his final 2 years.

Elway's legacy changed thanks to Terrell Davis and the offensive line, not thanks to Elway. In the Super Bowl win over the Packers, Davis had 30 carries for 157 yards and 3 rushing TDs. Elway's stat line was 12-23, 123 yards, no TDs, 1 INT. His QB rating for that game was an abysmal 51.9. Favre, in contrast, had a good game: 25-42, 256 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 91.0 QB rating.

The equivalent for Kershaw would be if he started 2 games in a World Series, gave up 9 earned runs in each, and the Dodgers nonetheless won both games and the series.
11-06-2017 02:19 PM
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Brookes Owl Offline
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Post: #8
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
(11-06-2017 02:19 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(11-06-2017 02:04 PM)stever20 Wrote:  I heard someone brining up John Elway. His legacy totally changed his final 2 years.

Elway's legacy changed thanks to Terrell Davis and the offensive line, not thanks to Elway. In the Super Bowl win over the Packers, Davis had 30 carries for 157 yards and 3 rushing TDs. Elway's stat line was 12-23, 123 yards, no TDs, 1 INT. His QB rating for that game was an abysmal 51.9. Favre, in contrast, had a good game: 25-42, 256 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 91.0 QB rating.

The equivalent for Kershaw would be if he started 2 games in a World Series, gave up 9 earned runs in each, and the Dodgers nonetheless won both games and the series.

Basically, except your hypothetical is too extreme. I think if Kershaw goes to another WS or two, and pitches very well, he probably still ends up with a "but he struggled earlier in his post season career" kind of qualifier. Next year he'll be in his Year 30 season, with a suspect back. He (and the Dodgers) have to strike while there's still time left. Seems to me it's less than 5 years.
11-06-2017 02:31 PM
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stever20 Offline
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Post: #9
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
(11-06-2017 02:19 PM)Wedge Wrote:  
(11-06-2017 02:04 PM)stever20 Wrote:  I heard someone brining up John Elway. His legacy totally changed his final 2 years.

Elway's legacy changed thanks to Terrell Davis and the offensive line, not thanks to Elway. In the Super Bowl win over the Packers, Davis had 30 carries for 157 yards and 3 rushing TDs. Elway's stat line was 12-23, 123 yards, no TDs, 1 INT. His QB rating for that game was an abysmal 51.9. Favre, in contrast, had a good game: 25-42, 256 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 91.0 QB rating.

The equivalent for Kershaw would be if he started 2 games in a World Series, gave up 9 earned runs in each, and the Dodgers nonetheless won both games and the series.

Maybe the 1st one. 2nd one vs Atlanta he was 18-29 for 336 with 1 TD, 1 INT, a rushing TD, and a 99.2 rating.
11-06-2017 02:35 PM
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stever20 Offline
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Post: #10
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
yeah with Kershaw I'm not so sure this year is sustainable statistically regular season what he did....

he had a bizarre 87.4% LOB rating. The only guy since 1940 that had a higher one was John Candaleria back in 1977. So he's due for some serious regression there you would think....

To put his LOB rating in perspective- Greinke a few years ago had a 86.5% LOB rating.

also just looking
Apr-Jul he had a 90.2% LOB rate. 2.04 ERA and 2.90 FIP.
Sep he had a 79.4% LOB rate. 3.48 ERA and 3.60 FIP.
playoffs he had a 85.9% LOB rate. 3.82 ERA and 5.22 FIP.

It will be really interesting to see how he progresses. I saw on FG his projected ERA is 2.76 for the '18 season.
11-06-2017 02:47 PM
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Post: #11
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
(11-06-2017 02:18 PM)stever20 Wrote:  it's funny looking at 2 guys- Mike Mussina and John Smoltz.....
2015- HOF voting…
Mussina had by BR 83.0 WAR and 44.5 WAR7. 63.8 JAWS 82.2 fWAR.
Smoltz had by BR 69.5 WAR and 38.8 WAR7. 54.2 JAWS. 79.6 fWAR.

Smoltz got into the HOF with 82.9% of the vote
Mussina didn’t get in- he got 24.6% of the vote and just last year got up to 51% of the vote.
why?
post season history:
Smoltz 15-4 2.67 ERA 3.18 FIP
Mussina 7-8 3.42 ERA 3.54 FIP

Smoltz and Glavine also got huge bumps from being part of that vaunted Braves trio that lasted longer than any pitching trio had any right to do. Fact that Glavine and Smoltz are in and Mussina, Brown and Schilling aren't, is criminal. I felt the same for Biggio and Bagwell
11-07-2017 11:35 AM
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stever20 Offline
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Post: #12
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
really interesting with Kershaw-
https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/clayton-...is-sleeve/

talking about how he doesn't throw his curve when he's behind in the count....

look at the numbers:
1-0 12/36 2 2b 4 hr
2-0 7/15 2 2b 2 hr
3-0 0/0 bb
2-1 6/27 1 2b 2 hr
3-1 0/5 5 bb
25/83 5 2b 8 hr
was also 12/55 2 2b 1 3b 2 hr full count (1.5% of the time thrown)
and also 27/90 4 2b 5 hr 1st pitch(4.9% of the time thrown)
so 15 of his homers were thrown in counts where he threw the curve less than 5% of the time. In all the other counts- he gave up only 8 hr. .281 avg against in those non curve ball counts. .174 avg against when he wasn’t in those counts.
oh, and 17/55 with a 1-1 count(only 13.9% curves thrown) with 2 2b and 3 hr.
So 81/283- .286 avg against when he throws his curve normally 15% or less.
55/358- .154 avg against when he throws his curve normally 15% or more.

In playoffs- he gave up 8 homers
4 on 1st pitch of count
1 on 1-0 count
1 3-2 count
1 2-2 count
1 1-1 count
So of 31 homers total this year- he gave up 21 of them on counts where he would throw the curve less than 5% of the time. 25 when it's less than 15% of the time.

You would really think the Dodgers/Kershaw would know this.
(This post was last modified: 11-07-2017 12:22 PM by stever20.)
11-07-2017 12:11 PM
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Brookes Owl Offline
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Post: #13
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
(11-07-2017 12:11 PM)stever20 Wrote:  really interesting with Kershaw-
https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/clayton-...is-sleeve/

talking about how he doesn't throw his curve when he's behind in the count....

look at the numbers:
1-0 12/36 2 2b 4 hr
2-0 7/15 2 2b 2 hr
3-0 0/0 bb
2-1 6/27 1 2b 2 hr
3-1 0/5 5 bb
25/83 5 2b 8 hr
was also 12/55 2 2b 1 3b 2 hr full count (1.5% of the time thrown)
and also 27/90 4 2b 5 hr 1st pitch(4.9% of the time thrown)
so 15 of his homers were thrown in counts where he threw the curve less than 5% of the time. In all the other counts- he gave up only 8 hr. .281 avg against in those non curve ball counts. .174 avg against when he wasn’t in those counts.
oh, and 17/55 with a 1-1 count(only 13.9% curves thrown) with 2 2b and 3 hr.
So 81/283- .286 avg against when he throws his curve normally 15% or less.
55/358- .154 avg against when he throws his curve normally 15% or more.

In playoffs- he gave up 8 homers
4 on 1st pitch of count
1 on 1-0 count
1 3-2 count
1 2-2 count
1 1-1 count
So of 31 homers total this year- he gave up 21 of them on counts where he would throw the curve less than 5% of the time. 25 when it's less than 15% of the time.

You would really think the Dodgers/Kershaw would know this.

They absolutely know it. If the guy doesn't trust his command, he's limited.
11-07-2017 12:39 PM
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stever20 Offline
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Post: #14
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
what I think is remarkable is his career numbers-
23 hr 1st pitch
13 hr 1-0 count
6 hr 2-0 count
0 hr 3-0 count
15 hr 1-1 count
13 hr 2-1 count
6 hr 3-1 count
17 hr 3-2 count
93 hr in those counts out of 128 hr

think about hit- 23/128 career homers have come off 1st pitch. That's almost 18%.
11-07-2017 12:43 PM
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Brookes Owl Offline
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Post: #15
RE: The Kershaw playoff narrative
(11-07-2017 12:43 PM)stever20 Wrote:  what I think is remarkable is his career numbers-
23 hr 1st pitch
13 hr 1-0 count
6 hr 2-0 count
0 hr 3-0 count
15 hr 1-1 count
13 hr 2-1 count
6 hr 3-1 count
17 hr 3-2 count
93 hr in those counts out of 128 hr

think about hit- 23/128 career homers have come off 1st pitch. That's almost 18%.

First of all, 128 HRs allowed is an extremely small number. The % may be relatively high but the absolute number is still vanishingly small for a guy with 10 seasons and nearly 2000 IP. That said, it's not exactly a surprise that HRs are hit on the first pitch of a guy who is fairly well known for throwing first pitch strikes.
11-07-2017 01:01 PM
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