Another Faulty Argument from the J-S

MLB: Brewers vs Pirates APR 27

Tom Haudricourt had a blog post yesterday that I meant to address but didn’t have the time to sit down and vent write about it.  Haudricourt noted that exactly half of the 128 runs the Brewers have scored this season have come over the course of a handful of games — five, to be exact, and four of which came against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

His point is that the Brewers’ offense isn’t as good as their rankings (6th in runs, 2nd in OPS).  Take those games out, and the Brewers’ per-game average drops from 5.12 runs to 3.2 runs.

Interesting observation?  It sure is.  But that type of thing is going to happen to a lot of teams when you’re only 25 games into the season.  You’re going to see big drops in per-game averages when you take out 1/5 of the schedule.  It’s common sense.  The blog post just reeks of the JS staff trying to come up with something to write after an admittedly embarrassing weekend.

Haudricourt mentions that the Brewers have a team ERA of 5.08, and says that’s a big reason why the Brewers enter this series with the Dodgers at 10-15.  But using the logic he applied to the offense, if you just take out the Brewers’ five worst pitching performances, the Brewers’ pitching magically gets better.  For the sake of this example, let’s use these five:

5/2 @ SD – 8 (7 earned)
4/29 @ SD – 9 (8 earned)
4/25 vs CHC – 12 (10 earned)
4/23  vs CHC – 8 (7 earned)
4/12  @ CHC – 9 (8 earned)

The Brewers also allowed 8 runs to the Nationals on 4/17, but let’s keep the sample size to 5 games, or 1/5 of the schedule.  The games above account for 46 of the 138 runs allowed so far this year.  In terms of earned runs, those games total 40 of the club’s 126.  Take out those contests, and the team ERA suddenly falls to 3.47 ([86 ER/223 IP] * 9), which would be good for 4th in the National League.

Does that mean anything?  Of course not.  Everyone knows this team’s pitching is well below average.  But if you want to say this team’s offense would stink without playing the Pirates, you would also have to say that this team’s pitching would be great without playing the Cubs.  

My main point here is that the Brewers scored those runs regardless of who they were playing.  Runs against the Pirates don’t count any less than runs scored against the Cardinals, Cubs, or anyone else.  Any time you throw out the best 20% of your season’s results, you’re going to end up with averages that make the team look like they stink.

“A Deceiving Number?”  You bet.

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