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Archive for October, 2013|Monthly archive page

World Series Extravaganza 2013

In Baseball on October 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

The St. Louis Cardinals will take on the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 World Series beginning tonight. For the next week, Cardinals fans and CDH writers (in that order) Ian Brickey and Becky Koenig will discuss their membership in Cardinal Nation, make game picks and exhibit the general classiness that defines the Cardinal Way. Today, the preview.

Ian Brickey: Becky, I’m a Cardinals fan, and I know, deep down, you are too. But, since I was initiated at birth, and you’re still learning the ropes, I figured I would give you a primer on Cardinalia. Despite all the trolling from the national media, there really is something that makes the team and its fans special. Does some of that come from the superior moral sense, down-to-earth mentality and general Norman Rockwell-esque character of Midwesterners? I don’t know. But there definitely is an element of tradition. I don’t say that as a homer — although, homer I am — it’s a certifiable fact. Let’s just look at a few examples. Read the rest of this entry »


MVP: Most Valuable Plays

In Baseball on October 23, 2013 at 12:29 am

Are the most important plays in a baseball game the ones we see on the highlight reel? The answer might surprise you. Today, CDH’s Ian Brickey looks at Win Expectancy and the top five plays from the 2013 NLCS and ALCS.

When we think of important baseball plays, we usually think of the highlight reel. The important plays are the ones that dazzle us, that sing the “momentum” of the game the other way, that beg to be accompanied by the theme from The Natural. Both of the 2013 League Championship Series had their share of Roy Hobbes-ian moments. David Ortiz demonstrated again why he’s one of the most clutch hitters in baseball history with his grand slam in Game 1 of the ALCS, while St. Louis’s Carlos Beltran single-handedly won Game 1 of the NLCS with his bat and his glove. Those plays were important, no doubt. But the highlight reel plays aren’t always the most significant events in the game. In fact, a seemingly unremarkable strikeout or base hit can actually have more of an influence over the outcome of a game than towering home run or diving catch in the outfield. This was fully on display in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

On Catcher Defense

In Baseball on October 21, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Baseball statistics have become more sophisticated in the last decade. So why is it still so hard to measure defense?

The last decade has been a veritable golden age for statistical analysis in baseball. In the decade since Michael Lewis wrote Moneyball, front offices and fans have shed the shackles of the box score and embraced sabermetric-style statistical analysis. Metrics like VORP, PECOTA and WAR have revolutionized how we value position players, while statistics like FIP and ERA+ evaluate pitchers without the variables of defense and ballparks. Even the previously nebulous subject of defense has been refined with statistics like UZR and the Dewan Plus/Minus system, revealing that good defense can be just as valuable as offense. But while these and other statistics have changed the way we analyze baseball, one area continues to baffle sabermetricians — the defensive value of catchers. Read the rest of this entry »

Wacha Flocka Flamethrower

In Baseball on October 9, 2013 at 4:26 pm

The St. Louis Cardinals have been powered by rookies for most of the season. But in their biggest game of the season, one rookie kept his team alive — and flirted with history.

As I write this, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates are preparing to square off in Game 5 of the 2013 National League Division Series. The winning team will go on to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. The losing team gets to watch the NLCS on television.

The Cardinals’ season could end tonight, and if it does, it will have ended at the hands of a talented young team that deserves to win. The thing is, it just as easily could have ended Monday afternoon. And the fact that their season will go on for at least one more game is due to the performance of Michael Wacha. Read the rest of this entry »

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