Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

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Well, this is it. The final day of the 2013 regular season. And there are still things to be decided.

The Indians stayed hot and beat the Twins on Saturday behind a dominant Scott Kazmir, clinching at least a tie in the American League Wild Card race with a current record of 91-70. The Rangers topped the Angels with a big day of offense and the Rays lost their second game in a row to the out-of-contention Blue Jays. Which has both Texas and Tampa Bay at 90-71 heading into Sunday.

There would have to be tiebreaker games on both Monday and Tuesday in the event of a three-way tie. If we finish with a two-way tie for the second Wild Card spot, there would be one tiebreaker game on Monday.

In the National League, the top postseason seed is still up for grabs. The Cardinals cruised past the Cubs to move to 96-65 and the Braves lost to the Phillies, falling to 95-66 on the year. If the Cards win their season-finale on Sunday against Chicago, they’ll play the winner of the National League Wild Card Game (Reds or Pirates) in the five-game NLDS. The Braves would then get the Dodgers in their five-game NLDS. If the Cards lose on Sunday and the Braves win, the Braves claim that top spot because they had a a better head-to-head record against St. Louis this season. Got all that?

Your Saturday box scores and recaps:

Angels 4, Rangers 7

Indians 5, Twins 1

Pirates 8, Reds 3

Rays 2, Blue Jays 7

Padres 9, Giants 3

Athletics 5, Mariners 7

Brewers 4, Mets 2 (10 innings)

Cubs 2, Cardinals 6

Red Sox 5, Orioles 6

Royals 5, White Sox 6

Phillies 5, Braves 4

Yankees 2, Astros 1

Tigers 1, Marlins 2 (10 innings)

Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 0

Rockies 1, Dodgers 0

Must-Click Link: Sherri Nichols, Sabermetic Pioneer

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If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.

While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.

The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.

A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.

A great read and a great history lesson.