I wanted to use batting order as an example of that, but then I realized that per The Book (and this essay by Sky Kalkman – http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/3/17/795946/optimizing-your-lineup-by) that lineup doesn’t really matter over a 162 game season. Does a lineup really matter over one game then? That depends on the game. If you know beforehand that your pitcher will pitch a shutout, your lineup just needs to score one run. Scoring that run depends on the hitters, the opposing defense and the opposing pitcher. But, removing the shutout, the offense still depends on the hitters, the opposing defense and the opposing pitcher.

Shouldn’t the choice of a pitcher look at those same type of things?

Since that won’t be known until much later, what else can we look at? Yes, WAR, FIP, SIERA and ERA- are nice, but they tell us the same thing – Medlen. That doesn’t help my thought experiment. How about a game by game look?

In 10 starts, Medlen has 4 starts with 0 runs allowed (dont’ care if earned or not – both count the same for opponent – those opponents by the way, Padres twice, Nationals, Marlins) and 5 starts with 1 run allowed (Nationals, Rockies, Mets, Astros, Marlins). For the best chance for the Braves to win, I’d say these two outcomes are the most ideal. Let’s call them “great starts.” (The last start was 2 runs allowed – for your edification: http://www.fangraphs.com/statsd.aspx?playerid=9417&position=P but I’m going to leave out the 2 run games.)

How do the other Braves starters compare to Medlen in “great starts”? (Info from game log tab on FanGraphs.)

Medlen – 10 games started, 4 games with zero runs (Padres twice, Nationals, Marlins), 5 games with 1 run (Nationals, Rockies, Mets, Astros, Marlins)

Hudson – 26 games started, 5 games with zero runs (Rockies, Padres, Phillies, Marlins, Rays), 4 games with 1 run (Giants, Astros, Diamondbacks, Cubs)

Minor – 28 games started, 3 games with zero runs (Brewers, Rockies, Marlins), 7 games with 1 run (Nationals, Dodgers, Phillies, Giants, Yankees, Marlins, Brewers)

Hanson – 29 games started, 0 games with zero runs, 6 games with 1 run (Marlins twice, Reds, Cardinals, Pirates, Mets)

Looking at this, the Marlins appear 7 times. (That’s just interesting – the rest of the division combines for 6: Mets twice, Nationals twice and Phillies twice.) Since they are at different times of the year and with different lineups, I’m not sure it means much, but there could be the start of a debate. Total “great starts” with zero or one run:

Medlen – 9 (2 “good teams” (.500 or better); 7 “bad teams”)

Hudson – 9 (4 “good teams”; 5 “bad teams”)

Minor – 10 (7 “good teams”; 3 “bad teams”)

Hanson – 6 (2 “good teams”; 4 “bad teams”)

I’m not saying that Minor should start, but, if you’re facing a team with strong left-handed hitting and tangible platoon splits, Minor may be the better choice especially when looking at the quality of his opponents in his “great starts.” Again, this is just a thought experiment to see if there is another alternative to Medlen, and I’m not sure I’d bet against Medlen. However, when making a decision, I’d take all the possible information before making it and that means waiting until late next week to make it so you can look at the opposing team and possible opposing lineup and pitcher.

]]>If Atlanta calculates the chances of winning the playoff game and NLDS are higher starting the #3 then that is what it should do.

Why do something that has a lesser chance? ]]>

*yes I know they’re not in 1st place: its just firster place than my rooting interest…which is somehow good for me…or something

]]>