Joseph's Rangers thoughts: Taking down the frontrunners

Rangers vs Yankees

Credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Yorvit Torrealba: Three men with plenty of reason for a little glee (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images).

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by JOSEPH URSERY

WFAA Sports Blogger

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Updated Monday, May 14 at 4:57 PM

  • 5-2 against two of the Rangers' main competitors, losing only the games started by Verlander and Sabathia? Yes, I'll take that.
     
  • Speaking of the Verlander start, there's a neat little statistical quirk I wanted to dig into. As you know, Neftali Feliz pitched against Verlander, pitching 8 innings, allowing 3 runs on 4 walks and 3 hits (with 6 K's). Both Neftali and Verlander had quality starts. And this highlights an issue with quality starts as a metric; the parameters are too course, and they treat a 6 IP/1 R/3 BB/ 8 K game the same as as 8 IP/ 3 R/ 4 BB/ 6 K game. There's not a lot by way of metrics that score game-by-game, but Game Score is one of them. Game Score is kind of a junk stat, but it does include more data than QS (or wins), so let's examine what it said about Neftali and Verlander's opposing efforts in this game:

    Feliz: 66
    Verlander: 67

    My point? Sometimes stats are not fun, as this just muddies the waters even more than Quality Starts did.
     
  • While it's straying off the Rangers here, I did want to look at Phillip Humber's perfect game through the Game Score lens; unsurprisingly, it's the top Game Score in MLB this season at 96. Well, tied with Matt Cain's complete game shutout one-hitter. The opposing pitcher in that game was Cliff Lee, who had the fourth-highest Game Score thus far at 85 (the man pitched 10 innings!). That game was well-pitched, is the point I'm making here.
     
  • The top Rangers Game Score this year was Yu's Yankee runthrough two days ago, at 77. This is likely the only thing that has not been written about Yu's start, so I'm going to leave that at that.
     
  • Matt Harrison seems to have switched whole-hog to the two seamer instead of the 4 seamer. Fangraph's Pitch F/X only has him throwing the 4-seamer 13% pf the time and the 2-seamer 48.5% (those percentages were 31.6 and 33 last year, respectively). The result- this far- is 61.2% of the balls hit of Harrison going to the ground, where the living vacuums known as Kinsler, Andrus, and Beltre have happily collected them. If he holds that over the rest of the season, that would be the third-highest groundball percentage of any starter of the last four years.
     
  • One thing that drives me crazy about how the Yankees are constructed as opposed to the Rangers' structure: how well the Yankees use platoons to their advantage. Part of the issue is having two switch hitters in the middle of their lineup in Teixera and Swisher, but the Yankees hold the platoon advantage (ie, LHB vs. RHP and vice-versa) 65% of the time, where the league average is 57%. The Rangers only hold the platoon advantage as batters 46% of the time.
     
  • Speaking of platoon issues, it's been two weeks since David Murphy had an extra-base hit. In that span, he's batted 194/270/194. That 464 OPS (On-base plus slugging) would be the 8th-worst among MLB hitters this year. We can write it off as a slump that he'll pull out of, but it's worth noting.
     
  • Robbie Ross is leading the majors in wins right now. I'll be upfront about this; 'pitcher wins' is a very, very bad stat -- but this is one data point I won't be using to argue against them. Ever.
     
  • In the weekly bullpen-walks count, I have the misfortune to announce Robbie Ross has retaken the lead, with 2 out of the the 3 walks issued by Rangers relievers this far.
     
  • They have struck out 35.


  • Mike Adams' pitch count is currently at 119, with 89 strikes.  That means 30 balls across 33 batters faced. Which means the next guy to get 2 balls against Adams should consider himself lucky. Then ground out weakly to first. 

     

Joseph Ursery doesn't always tweet, but when he does, he makes sure it's about Elvis Andrus' range. Follow him at @thejoeursery.

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