Tuesday, September 20, 2016

This Explains A Lot


“And that’s a home run” — the Cubs’ third of the night.
Brennaman could be forgiven for his lack of enthusiasm. The Reds are 63-87, 32 games out of first place in the NL Central, and he’s had to make the same call 242 times so far this season. With two weeks left to play, the Reds’ pitchers have allowed the most home runs of any team in major league history. It’s a staggering total: Cincy hurlers allow an average of 1.6 homers every 9 innings, or one every 21.2 at-bats (meaning they effectively turned average NL hitters into Larry Doby or Joe Carter).
But it’s also symptomatic of a pitching staff that is, by another measure, the worst ever — and the only one in history that would have been better off being stocked with replacement-level players instead.
The Reds have struggled to build an effective staff for a looooong time, having broken league-average in fielding independent pitching only twice in the past 21 seasons. (And this is even after accounting for Cincinnati’s home parks, which have tended to inflate scoring.) But this season’s version has taken bad pitching and elevated it into some kind of twisted art form....
Somehow the Reds have been the only staff in MLB history to post a cumulative WAR below the replacement level. Not every Cincinnati hurler has been historically bad — Anthony DeSclafani has done admirable work, leading the team with 1.9 WAR, and Raisel Iglesias has 1.3 WAR with a superb 3.30 FIP. But by the logic of the theory that underpins WAR, the Reds’ sub-replacement tally means they could have stocked their entire pitching staff with nothing but freely available fringe players and AAA callups, and they’d have won an additional game. To find another team that could say that, you’d need to hark back 127 years (!!) to the 1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys, whose 23-113 record still stands as second-worst in the long annals of major-league failure.
It has been a tremendously long season, but it has improved markedly after the all-star break.  And the Reds offense has managed to pull the Reds above several other teams.  Mercifully, the Reds' miserable season is almost over, and all I have to hope for to keep this from being an entirely miserable season is to have the evil Cubs be eliminated from the playoffs, hopefully short of the pennant.  God help us if they manage to win.

1 comment:

  1. You're such a brat. I think you should just hop on that Cubs bandwagon!