One of the things that I've been doing over the last few days while first the Padres and then the A's were busy coming up empty with runners on base has been updating my copy of Ray Kerby's Astros Statistical Software with the numbers from the 2006 season.
If you've never heard me wax poetic about how great the software is, by all means let me go ahead and do so now. Originally, but no longer, available through the Astrosdaily web site, and written by that site's founder Ray Kerby, the software is quick, intuitively easy to understand, powerful, and is now, and always has been, free.
As such, as long as you're only interested in numbers for the Houston franchise, it blows the doors off the often-praised, but overrated Lee Sinins' Sabermetric Encyclopedia, which I have found to be both difficult to use, and possessed of a purchase price much greater than free.
Anybody who's come here more than once or twice is probably aware how much I love to crunch numbers to come up with silly, meaningless lists, and lemme tell you, there'd be a lot less number-crunching going on without this nifty software.
Unfortunately, the software and updates are no longer available through Astrosdaily, so for the past several years I've kept the software at my Astroland site, and have done the updates myself during the offseasons.
Although I'll admit sometimes, the numbers can raise more questions than they answer.
Like check it out: I was making sure everything was working right with the update, and ran a report on 2006 pitcher's batting average against:
Yr Name BAA 2006 Chris Sampson .205 2006 Russ Springer .211 2006 Roger Clemens .216 2006 Dan Wheeler .221 2006 Trever Miller .225 2006 Brad Lidge .238 2006 Fernando Nieve .242 2006 Chad Qualls .242 2006 Taylor Buchholz .248 2006 Dave Borkowski .257 2006 Brandon Backe .261 2006 Roy Oswalt .263 2006 Jason Hirsh .267 2006 Andy Pettitte .284 2006 Wandy Rodriguez .290 2006 Ezequiel Astacio .292 2006 Matt Albers .298 2006 Mike Gallo .400
Maybe no surprises there, except what's that with Lidge and the .238 BAA? Isn't that surprisingly good for someone with a 5.28 ERA?
And then I made another one of those scatter graphs, and it looks like it might just be:
It DOES kinda look like Lidge is off kilter, there, huh?
Well, I thought, maybe this could be explained by the possibility that a higher percentage of Lidge's hits allowed were of the extra base variety. In other words, maybe he didn't give up more hits, but the hits he DID give up were more damaging, thus inducing the higher ERA.
Well, that also doesn't appear to be the case . . . Lidge's ratio of extra base hits to hits overall doesn't seem skewed in either direction.
Yr Name H XBH H/XBH 2006 Chris Sampson 25 5 .200 2006 Mike Gallo 28 7 .250 2006 Matt Albers 17 5 .294 2006 Chad Qualls 76 23 .303 2006 Roger Clemens 89 28 .315 2006 Roy Oswalt 220 77 .350 2006 Andy Pettitte 238 84 .353 2006 Brad Lidge 69 25 .362 2006 Brandon Backe 43 16 .372 . . . . . . 2006 Ezequiel Astacio 7 3 .429 2006 Dave Borkowski 70 31 .443 2006 Fernando Nieve 87 39 .448 2006 Dan Wheeler 58 26 .448 2006 Taylor Buchholz 107 50 .467
OK, maybe that's not the way to look at it, either. For example, almost half of the hits Dan Wheeler did allow were of the extra base variety, but overall, he did a good job of keeping people off base.
So maybe I should be looking at extra base hits per at bat:
Yr Name H XBH XBH/AB 2006 Chris Sampson 25 5 .041 2006 Roger Clemens 89 28 .068 2006 Chad Qualls 76 23 .073 2006 Russ Springer 46 18 .083 2006 Trever Miller 42 16 .086 2006 Brad Lidge 69 25 .086 2006 Matt Albers 17 5 .088 2006 Roy Oswalt 220 77 .092 . . . . . . 2006 Dave Borkowski 70 31 .114 2006 Taylor Buchholz 107 50 .116 2006 Ezequiel Astacio 7 3 .125
So this makes it look as if Lidge is pretty good at limiting the extra base hit. But if he limits the extra base hit well, and has a good to decent batting average against, then how do you explain--other, of course, than with the evidence we saw with our eyes during the course of the season--the audaciously bad ERA?
Here's the staff ranked by OPS against, but I dunno, maybe (and I can't believe I'm seriously suggesting this) Lidge was somewhat the victim of plain bad luck.
Yr Name OPS A 2006 Chris Sampson .535 2006 Roger Clemens .596 2006 Dan Wheeler .649 2006 Trever Miller .671 2006 Russ Springer .672 2006 Chad Qualls .695 2006 Roy Oswalt .702 2006 Brad Lidge .736 . . . . . . 2006 Jason Hirsh .849 2006 Ezequiel Astacio 1.017 2006 Mike Gallo 1.048Anyway, whatever the answer to this Lidgian conundrum, and whether you think this whole Lidge thing is a freaking wheelspin, because he obviously walked too many batters, and plunked too many, to boot, these are the kinds of things you can look at with the statistical engine, and what a tremendously fun toy it is.