Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Yo: Savior

Tom H provides some useful info; Yovanni Gallardo is about to throw a simulated game.

This is great news, and if they can get Yo ready to go, they should put him in the pen for the playoffs. I cannot understate how much better this would make the Brewers (assuming he's the same old Yo).

The playoffs truly are a different animal than the regular season. This is covered in depth in BP's book, Baseball Between The Numbers in the chapter entitled: Why Doesn't Billy Beane's Shit Work In The Playoffs?"

in short, the reason is as follows. Playoff teams all have (in general) good offenses. There are fewer easy outs in any given playoff game. This means that balls put into play will turn into hits (and HRs) more frequently than in the regular season. As a result, strikeout pitchers excel in the offseason, whereas those that pitch to contact tend to struggle compared to the regular season. BP has developed a fun little stat to predict postseason success called "Secret Sauce" which aggregates strength of defense, strikeout rate, and closer). It tends to work quite well. I should also point out that in the playoffs, managers tend to make more optimal use of their closers (think of Mariano Rivera, or Keith Foulke recording multiple inning saves).

Anyway, of the 8 playoff bound teams (as of right now) the Brewers rank 6th (lower is better):

1. Boston - 16
2. Anaheim - 17
3. Chicago Cubs - 17
4. Tampa Bay - 26
5. Chicago White Sox - 33
6. Milwaukee - 37
7. Arizona - 40
8. New York Mets - 40

Papelbon, K-Rod, Marmol and Wood. The Brewers currently have nothing to compete with that...unless Yo can make it back. Yo was the staff ace until he got hurt. He's a strikeout monster with great command. 1.250 WHIP (1.269 last year), 1.80 ERA (3.67 last year), a career 114/43 K/BB ratio (basically 3/1).

Yo is exactly what you need in the playoffs. If he can recover enough to be in the bullpen for high leverage situations, the Brewers chances will improve drastically. Starting rotations are not the only part of the pitching staff that shortens up in the playoffs. Bullpens do to.

I'll go into battle with Gallardo, Torres, and Shouse as a LOOGY any day of the week.

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