Earlier this year I got to play in the Strat-O-Matic 50th Anniversary League, with a lot of luminaries. In the 30-team league, each owner was assigned a franchise, and from there each of us got to pick a season and team we wanted to play (although the games were played out on computer).
I selected the 1962 Giants, and actually made it to the first round of the playoffs, largely due to a month’s run where my team went 20-8, outscoring my opponents 111-110.
Well, I am not so sure if my 2011 Scoresheet team has stumbled unable to put away a win in the fashion that that Strat-O team was able to win. In fact, earlier in the week I wrote about the travails of my Tiger’s Blood team during my weekly KFFL piece.
In doing so, I sent a note to Scoresheet brain trust Jeff Barton, something I always do when I write about a format. That is, let the owner of that format and web site know about the piece.
Well, Jeff did a little research, and noted that my tough luck was not really so tough: rather I simply faced better teams, who were hot at the time of the match-ups.
As I noted in the KFFL piece, over a two-week span my team went 2-11 during head-to-head play, and dropped from first to last in our division.
Well, according to Jeff, the first week of my slide, when my team went 0-6, we faced pitchers who on the field posted a 2.30 ERA and 7.6 H/9 allowed, while the hitters we faced were .278/.341/.480 meaning an OPS of .821.
The next week was better at 2-5, but then our pitching opposition was recorded a 3.15 ERA, with 8.4 H/9, while the hitters were .266/.322/.444 and a .766 OPS.
Jeff noted that “Both of those weeks you faced pitchers who were overall better than average (a *lot* better than average two weeks ago - composite ERA of 2.30 in the Majors is pretty darn hot pitching.) And you also faced better than average hitting. Once again, especially two weeks ago when you went 0-6. You faced pitchers with a great ERA and hitters who had an overall real life OPS of .821 - this year that is way above average hitting.”
Not that this makes my losses and fall in the standings feel better, but, well, it is easier to handle getting clobbered by good teams than bad ones.
My team rebounded a little just before the break, going 3-1, and though a large chunk of the season remains, and I am only five games back in my division, I can still make the post-season.
However, the news of playing better teams is sobering, as it casts a pall on my chances to win a title, for, well, I think there are other teams simply better than mine.
Still, baseball is a game of optimists, and with Roy Halladay, Clayton Kershaw, and Shaun Marcum as my 1-2-3 starters, like those goofy Giants across the bay who took the prize last year on the strength of their arms, I guess anything is possible.
Especially in baseball.