Wednesday, April 16, 2008

They might draw their paychecks from Indians ownership

But the Red Sox own the Cleveland bullpen right now.

Of the eleven runs that the Sox scored off of Cleveland in the recent two game set, eight came against the Tribe's bullpen and all of them earned in only five-and-two thirds innings.

Life on the reservation is brutal right now - particularly if you're a starting pitcher. Jake Westbrook and Paul Byrd, the Indians' starters in the two games against Boston, combined for 12 and-a-third innings pitched, three total runs and one earned run in the two games. By contrast, Tim Wakefield and Jon Lester combined for ten-and-a-third, and six earned in the match-up (of course four-and-a-third and four earned came out of Lester's sub-par start).

Boston's bullpen, on the other hand, racked up seven-and-two-thirds innings with only one earned run.

That translates to a 12.70 ERA for the Cleveland pen, and a 1.17 ERA for the Boston pen.

If this keeps up, it's going to be a very long and frustrating season for the Indians' starting rotation.

Scheduling Conflict...

The NFL released their 2008 schedule.

Dave over at the The Coffin Corner talks a bit about the relative apparent ease of the Patriots' schedule in relation to the rest of the NFL. There is a key term in the second paragraph of his post -

...the Patriots have the easiest schedule based on paper. Their opponents' win percentage in 2007 was .387. The Pats are the only team that have a number below .400. Their 2007 opponents won only 99 games. The Pats are the only team that have a number in that category under 100.
"On paper."

That's a really important term in sports.

"On paper," the Detroit Tigers are supposed to have the best lineup in Major League Baseball this season. Currently the team is batting .250. That's good for 22nd in out of all 30 teams, behind such powerhouses as Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, and Kansas City.

"On paper," the 2001 Rams were a more talented team than the 2001 Patriots. We all know how that ended.

"On paper," the Patriots' 2008 schedule includes only four teams from 2007 that made the playoffs. Remove the Steelers, Colts, Seahawks, and Chargers from that equation and the remaining nine teams that the Patriots face have a combined winning percentage 0f .299. Six of the teams won five games or fewer in 2007.

What does this really mean as to the ease of the Pats' schedule? Absolutely jack.

In 2006, the Cleveland Browns went 4-12. Last season they won ten games. Tampa Bay was 4-12 in '06, then won nine and went to the playoffs last year.

Turn-arounds in the NFL have been fast and hard over the last (roughly) decade. The Patriots themselves jumped from 5-11 in 2000 to 11-5 in 2001. If any one of these teams play their cards right, they can experience similar single season improvement and become contenders.

Which is exactly why strength of schedule based on the previous season means...well...jack.


Dave said...

As someone else pointed out yesterday, it's also skewed because of the horrific season the Dolphins had last year.

Still, I'd rather have this schedule than the Steelers. They have a brutal season ahead.

Kevin Smith said...

I pretty much agree, however, who would have thought that the Ravens were going to completely tank it going into last season and that the Browns would have ten wins?

Who knows? Maybe the Cardinals are finally ready to have that playoff season everyone was predicting a couple of years ago. Between injury and that surprise player having a career year, it's become so very hard to predict where teams are heading each season.

David Sullivan said...

The Pats deserve some payback after how shitty the NFL treated them last season.

How about 15 runs to the Yanks last night....Ouch!

Kevin Smith said...

I'm always amazed by how it seems like there are just these games where the entire bullpen implodes.