Tag Archives: red sox

Orioles 1, Red Sox 0

Was this it?  The game of the year, the game we’ll remember?  Gausman v. Porcello, both starters going 8 innings.  Gausman didn’t allow a run, Porcello just one, a home run to Mark Trumbo (of course, Trumbo).  Adam Jones got all of a Porcello pitch in the 3rd that looked to clear the Green Monster with yards to spare, but a brutal inbound wind knocked it out of the sky like a snipe.  Gausman hit 96 on his 109th pitch.  Jonathan Schoop backhanded a tough chance that took a weird hop and rolled partway up his wrist, and still managed to somehow flip the ball into his hand, like David Bowie in Labyrinth, and get the runner at first.  Schoop has the sweetest little “I made the play” smile in baseball, I think.  Manny Machado tagged up from first on a very deep fly by Chris Davis; Mookie Betts’s astonishingly throw got to second base with Machado no more than 2/3 of the way there.  He almost seemed to laugh at how out he was.  Zach Britton (of course, Britton) came in for the bottom of the 9th.  Battled with David Ortiz for 8 pitches, finally getting him to ground out to Chris Davis, who raced Ortiz, slow man versus slower man, to the bag.  Slow man won.  With two outs, Britton faced Hanley Ramirez, who swung three times, each time at a pitch farther removed from his person.  Orioles 1, Red Sox 0.  Nothing but must-win series from here onwards.


Bumgarner 2014, Ortiz 2013, and the World Series OVP

I was wondering about the question of whether Madison Bumgarner was not only the MVP of the 2014 World Series, but the MVP of all recent World Series.  I mean, here’s something startling:  Bumgarner’s ERA for the series was 0.43, over 21 innings.  The rest of the Giants staff recorded a 5.71 ERA in their 40 innings of work.  Bumgarner wasn’t just the most valuable player — he was, on the pitching side, the only valuable player.

I asked Daniel Erman how far back you had to go to find a comparable performance, and he pointed out that the answer is “One year.”  David Ortiz had an insane 1.948 OPS for the series.  The next-highest mark on the Red Sox?  Jacoby Ellsbury, at 0.599.  That is amazing.  At least the Giants had Affeldt, who was effective in four games of middle relief.  Boston really had no hitter other than Ortiz who was any good at all.  The Red Sox had 62 baserunners in the series.  19 of those were David Ortiz.

Are there any other World Series OVPs?

2014 World Series stats

2013 World Series stats

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Novel World Series matchups

Next to the Yankees, the Cardinals, Dodgers, A’s, Tigers, and Red Sox are the teams with the most pennants, and all are still in the playoffs.  So you might think we’re very likely to see a World Series matchup we’ve seen before.  If the Cardinals win the pennant, that’s true:  they went up against the A’s in 1930 and 1931, the Tigers in 1934, 1968, and 2006, and the Red Sox in 1946, 1967, 2004.

But the Dodgers have never faced the Tigers or the Red Sox in the World Series.  Basically, they won lots of pennants but just played the Yankees again and again.

I’m still holding out hope for the Pirates to take the National League pennant.  If they do, they’ve got a chance to get revenge for their loss in the very first World Series, in 1903, 5 games to 3 to the team then known as the Boston Americans, now called the Red Sox.


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John Lackey stands up for himself

From today’s Shaughnessy:

Is he willing to acknowledge that mistakes were made? “I guess. Sure. They’re being made in every clubhouse in the big leagues, then. If we’d have made the playoffs, we’d have been a bunch of fun guys.’’

He’s right!  We think we’re judging people’s behavior, but when we judge in retrospect, we approve and disapprove of the same behaviors, depending on the outcome.  See Phil Rosenzweig’s The Halo Effect for the same phenomenon described at book length.  A firm’s behavior will invariably be described as “daring” and “bold” when the company is doing well.  When the company’s fortunes turn sour, the same set of decisions are retrospectively reclassified as “reckless” and “foolhardy.”

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Back to school linkdump

  • Fellow O’s fan Tom Scocca explains why the Red Sox are the new Grateful Dead in the Boston Globe. (Previously on Quomodocumque:  why the Red Sox are John McCain.)
  • David Carlton is moving to Playdom to work for Steve Meretsky.  Steve Meretsky!  The guy who wrote Planetfall!
  • From Baseball Reference:  on August 18. 1998, the Braves got nine hits against the Giants, all doubles.  Will this feat ever be repeated?  About 20% of hits are doubles.  let’s say that for some ballparks, or some batting lineups, the chance a hit will be a double goes up to 1/4.  Then you might figure the chance of nine hits all being doubles would be (1/4)^9, about one in a quarter-million.  (If the chance of a double is 1 in 5, this goes down to one in two million.)  From that point of view, it’s not so shocking; there have been about three hundred thousand MLB games played this century, so why not?  Two problems.  1.  Doubles used to be a lot less common then they are now.  2.  If you hit nine doubles off a team’s pitching staff, it probably means they’re having a terrible day, and it probably means at some point you’re going to hit a home run.  I think a much better way to assess whether another team’s likely to match the Braves is to check how many times a team has managed eight doubles without a hit.  And nobody has.  Not seven, either, or six. And just five teams have had 5 doubles in a game with no other hits.  I think the Braves are safe here.   And I think this is a good example of a question where just looking at the data gives you a much more robust answer than a half-assed probability calculation.
  • Not a link:  based on the response to my question, tons of people follow the new postings on the arXiv. But hardly anyone follows it, as I do, in Google Reader — according to their stats, the RSS feed for math.AG has only 98 subscribers and math.NT just 83.
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December linkdump

  • I finished White Teeth, and enjoyed it a lot, but didn’t think it had the finished snap of On Beauty. Here’s James Wood’s 2001 review of White Teeth, which I would describe as “impressed but not admiring.” This is the review where he coins the term “hysterical realism” — which is a good term, but not one I think is particuarly appropriate to Zadie Smith. He criticizes White Teeth, fairly, as the type of book in which the author’s hand (in the barely concealing glove of coincidence) gathers all the disparate characters together into a big, brassy finale, where the themes of the novel are reprised in grand chorus. But he should have mentioned John Irving, who I think of as the modern not-quite-literary progenitor of this move.
  • Submissions are now open for an academic volume on the Red Sox and Philosophy.
  • I wish Cosma Shalizi blogged more. I also wish he were at Wisconsin instead of Carnegie-Mellon so I could have sat in on his course on data mining; at least the notes are online.
  • This week, Nature runs an interesting commentary: “Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the healthy.” I think the questions it asks are hard, and I don’t know what I think the answers are. I do think the state of calm focus in which we do our best mathematics is a physical state; and a pill that could get you to and keep you in that state would be tempting to many of us. On the other hand, I used to find yoga a good way to get my mind in that state, and I don’t do yoga any more. So maybe enhancement isn’t as much of a draw as we think. Also: shouldn’t it be “cognition-enhancing,” not “cognitive-enhancing?” (via MetaFilter)
  • The cover story of the September 6, 1948 issue of Life was “The Good Life in Madison, Wisconsin.” Thanks to Google you can now see all of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photos from that story, as well as the ones that didn’t make the issue. (via Letters from Here.) Where was this photo shot? The shape of the lakeshore looks like the view from Union Terrace, but the Terrace was already covered in flagstone by the 1930s.
  • And finally: my favorite Superman panel ever, and the source of my favorite expression of dismay: whatthsuperman
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In which the Red Sox keep playing

Down 7-0 in the 7th inning of a must-win game, the Scarlet Footwear come back for an improbable 8-7 win to keep their season alive. Obama fans should now begin to worry about my “John McCain is the Red Sox” theory. Note that, days after I made that post, McCain announced that the Sox are his “sentimental favorite” to win the World Series.

Politics aside: if the Red Sox can win yet another seven-game series after being down 3-1, they’re the comeback team of the modern era. They’ll have to retire “Sweet Caroline” and replace it with this:

Actually, maybe McCain should adopt the song too. It might help him with the all-important “grunge nostalgia” demographic.

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The Milwaukee Brewers: change we can believe in

As my beloved Orioles close out 2008 with a 4-19 undead September, my newly adopted NL team, the Brewers, are in the playoffs for the first time since they broke O’s fans’ hearts on the last day of the 1982 season to win the AL East title. And as in 1982, the Brewers seemed to have a playoff berth well in hand with a few weeks to go, then came this close to blowing it, then recovered just in time. Barack Obama must be watching, and hoping his story comes out the same. But he can’t be rooting for the Brewers too fervently; he’s a White Sox fan, and if Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes are at issue, a Chicago-Milwaukee World Series is close to his worst-case scenario. (If the polls stay as they are now, the damage in the Philadelphia suburbs from a White Sox – Phillies matchup is probably worse.)

But the World Series this election really deserves is Brewers – Red Sox. In the Brewers you have the young, exciting team from the side of the aisle that’s won only two of the last six series. And the Red Sox are the team with some experience in the big game, the team that it used to be cool and transgressive to like, before they turned into a carbon copy of their hyper-rich former rival now fallen on hard times.

Mark Attanasio, the Brewers’ owner, was at a multi-million dollar fundraiser for Obama in LA two weeks ago. John Henry, who owns the Red Sox, gave tens of thousands to the DNC in 2004 but according to Fundrace has stayed out of the 2008 campaign. Draw whatever conclusions you will.

I do think Obama’s going to win Wisconsin. And not just because he’s ahead in the polls, or because he reminds me of the Brewers. It’s because he rides a Trek.

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