I'd assumed the 2010 squad was a little bit luckier, but they posted an even 27-27 record in one-run games over last season. This year's model is 9-14 after last night's heartbreaker, which is part of the reason their Pythag is a game better than their actual record. Even the hapless Twins have a better winning percentage with a one-run differential. You'd expect teams to wind up around .500 over the course of the season, so this should correct itself. Still, it's getting a little late to talk strictly about luck. Inability to win close games has at least something to do with Reds' starters chronic inability to keep runs off the board in the first inning. That was an issue that plagued the 2009 team and it may be a real tendency that's not going to get washed out over the remainder of the season. Giving up a run in the first inning, as Travis Wood did last night, puts the team in a roughly 10% win probability hole before even coming to bat. Reds' starters have a 7.06 ERA in the 1st inning, making opposing hitters looking like a collective Jay Bruce.
We all know the story of Tim Lincecum and how he was on the board when the Reds drafted Drew Stubbs. The Indians, it should be said, also missed out on Lincecum when they failed to meet his $1M demand in '05. The Freak Flag was simply never meant to fly in Ohio. But depending on the WAR stat you trust - and what you think about the value of Stubbs' defense - the two have been more comparable in overall value than you might assume since Stubbs became a fulltime player in 2010. Lincecum has racked up 5.5 BBRef WAR and 7.3 FanGraphs' WAR since the start of 2010, while Stubbs has only 2.4 from BBRef, but 6.6 from FanGraphs. FanGraphs has Stubbs 0.4 ahead of Lincecum in '11.
The two have never faced each other. Lincecum and Stubbs are both strikeout mavens, so you would expect for Stubbs to be high-risk for a Golden Sombrero. But that's why they travel all the way out West and actually play these games, rather than use the AccuStubbs A.T.B.A.T. (Artificial Telemetry Batting Appearance Tabulator) simulator that I made.
I didn't even mention Mike Leake. He's been very hittable this season, but seems to have rediscovered his ability to locate (at least a little) - certainly since that shaky first inning against Milwaukee two starts a go. His peripherals all look better than they did over the whole of last season. He's probably going to be a relatively hittable pitcher over the course of his career, but things are looking up for him again.
|2011 - Mike Leake||5-2||13||9||0||0||0||0||56.1||61||29||29||6||17||40||4.63||1.38|
|2011 - Tim Lincecum||5-4||13||13||1||1||0||0||88.1||72||33||28||7||27||93||2.85||1.12|