Thursday, October 20, 2011

Organized Crapshoot

You want some evidence that the MLB Playoffs are something of a crapshoot, that getting hot at the right time is just as important as talent? Here it is.

2008 Phillies: Cole Hamels (won World Series)

2009 Phillies: Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee (lost in World Series)

2010 Phillies: Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt (lost in NLCS)

2011 Phillies: Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt and Cliff Lee (lost in NLDS)

Each year they progressively added one more top-flight starter (arguably the most important piece in playoff baseball) and each year they progressively lost one round earlier in the Playoffs. Maybe they sign CC this winter and miss the playoffs in 2012?

Obviously it doesn't work that way as the baseball regular season typically reflects how good a team is. But that exaggeration goes to the point. It's incredible that this team hasn't done more with that rotation. There are certainly other factors at play - there offense the last two years is not what it was in '08 and '09 - but a lot of it has to do not with the offense, the rotation, or the bullpen but the crapshoot nature of the playoffs.

After all, we can say whatever we want about their offense declining, but they've won the most games in baseball the last two years. They've actually won more games (a lot more) as their American League offense has gone back to being a very good National League offense but their starting pitching has gotten substantially better. And as they've won more regular season games than the previous year for each of the last four years, they've done decreasingly worse in the playoffs. That's just how baseball is.

Even look at Texas this year. They lose arguably the best postseason pitcher in the game right now in Cliff Lee and they are right back where they were last year.

Anyway, just thought the Phillies stuff was pretty interesting. I'm amazed by it, that rotation just seems built to make things happen in October. When you look at it on paper at the beginning of the year you wonder how that team is going to lose in the playoffs. I don't want to attribute it all to, or just call it, a crapshoot. So we'll call in an organized crapshoot. Talent and the character of both the players on the team and the team as a whole matter, but there is definitely a randomness of getting hot at the right time at play in the baseball playoffs.

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