Papelbon takes baseball writer (proud BBWAA member) to school
Jon Couture says in his column:
- "Much has been made of Papelbon's usage, and an importance he be used only in the ninth a la Mariano Rivera, but the numbers don't necessarily bear out of a difference between the two. Among American League closers in 2006, Rivera made 17 multi-inning appearances, just one fewer than the 18 Papelbon made through his Sept. 1 shutdown."
- Jon, I don't know where you or your associates in the BBWAA have been for the past 12 years, but Rivera first made his mark in late inning relief in the post season of 1995 with a 3 inning appearance in relief of John Wetteland. He pitched late inning setup throughout the regular and post season in 1996,
- In Rivera's 112.2 post season ip, 65% were multi-inning. You might recall his 3 consecutive scoreless innings for the Win in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, or 2 innings for the win in the 2004 ALDS deciding game in extra innings v the Twins. You want regular season, in the dead heat pennant race with your team the Red Sox? In Sept. 2005, he pitched 6 out of 8 days in desperate situations to help his team to the pennant.
- In that stretch, 2 of the 6 games were more than 1IP, 5 OF THE 6 GAMES WERE 1-RUN GAMES. In case you're interested.
- In this "14" figure, are you including Rivera, Papelbon, Putz and Ryan, the leaders in multi-innings? To do so would render the stat meaningless in your context. If you EXcluded those 4 to reach the average among other AL closers, that WOULD be meaningful.
- Now, Couture uses the powerful baseball media's most common tool to trick you--trying to equate Mariano with their buddy Trevor. I understand Trevor's good, a nice guy, has many friends, etc. But if you take the time to look up the numbers, you'll see no comparison whatsoever between the 2. Here, Couture makes a statement for which I've been unable to find substantiation:
"Looking at pitch counts, Papelbon averaged only 15.1 pitches per inning in 2006. Among the 169 relievers who threw at least 40 innings, that ranked 152nd most. The only closers who were more efficient are the sort of names Papelbon's been throwing around as idols — Rivera and San Diego's Trevor Hoffman."
- Countless media have reported Papelbon recently saying he'd like to follow in the footsteps of Mariano Rivera. I've looked all over, tried google, etc., and can find no reference to Papelbon comparing himself to Trevor Hoffman. Maybe Papelbon knows more than Jon Couture. In addition to 12 regular seasons of late inning relief in which among other things, Rivera gave up very few HR. How about the post season--don't you think Papelbon was thinking about that when he said he wants to go after records? Why would he mention Hoffman?
- Rivera in 112.2 post season IP, gave up 2 HR (1/56 IP)
- Hoffman in 13.0 post season IP, gave up 2 HR (1/6.5 IP)
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