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Grading the MLB Postseason

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Colorado Rockies news and links for Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

Finding Rockpile topics without recycling stuff is more challenging than you’d think, and while I was thinking of one, I stumbled upon this idea I thought would be funny and pretty appropriate, since the Braves just won the World Series last night Therefore, welcome to my completely biased game-and-series-rating system, folks. I call it Mario’s Fun Counter. Here’s the plan: we’re going to rate every single postseason series from 1-10. The methodology?

  • Every game starts out with a default score of 10/20, and we work our way up or down from there.
  • Winner-take-all games get a +2 by default

Positive points

  • Starter pitches 6+ innings: +2
  • Final score difference is 3 runs or less: +2
  • 8 or less combined pitchers used: +2
  • Game goes under 3 hours: +2
  • Walk-off: +3
  • Go-ahead run scores in 7th inning or later: +2
  • One or more lead loss or change: +2
  • Extra-innings game: +2

Negative points

  • Starter pitches 2 innings or less: -2
  • 12+ combined pitchers used in a game: -2
  • 16+ combined pitchers used in a game: -3
  • Opener: -2
  • Game goes over 4 hours: -2
  • 24+ combined strikeouts: -2
  • Final score difference is 6+ runs: -2
  • No lead loss or change: -2

You might disagree with what I find to be a negative in terms of entertainment value, but that’s a different conversation. To get the final score for each series as a whole, we’ll average the scores of the individual games, and as a bonus, winner-take-all games will get an extra point for drama, Wild Card games included. Extra-inning games will also be spared from the -2 for going over four hours. The final scores will be divided by two to fit the easier 1-10 rating system, and we’re going to round up as soon as the decimal goes to 0.6 or higher, and down at 0.4 or lower. I know this is not very scientific, but who cares about that? Let’s see what we have here!

NL Wild Card Game: 8.5/10

The NL Wild Card Game gets a big boost from the Chris Taylor walk-off (+3). It had a lead change (+2), ended a two-run game (+2), and was an elimination game (+2), with the main ding being the game going for over four hours (-2). The end result is a 17/20 score, which translates to a 8.5/10. A compelling game, and a good place to start.

AL Wild Card Game: 4/10

A relatively dull game, really. It featured no lead changes (-2) and Gerrit Cole being removed after 2 innings (-2). It gets the extra points for being an elimination game, which elevates the score to a 8/20, but that ends up being a lowly 4/10. We can do better than this, right?

NLDS (LAD vs SFG): 6/10

A series that alternated compelling game with not-so-compelling game. Games 1, 3 and 5 all get at least a 7/10, with Game 5 taking the highest rating so far with a 9/10, but those three excellent contests get dragged down by Games 2 and 4 receiving scores of 3/10 and 2/10 respectively. The average score comes out to 5.8/10, but since we’re going to round up, it ends up as a 6/10, a good and interesting series with a dandy of a clincher.

NLDS (ATL vs MIL): 7/10

Another very good series here, only kept from the Fun Counter going into the 8/10 range thanks to a 4/10 Game 3. Game 1, the duel between Morton and Burnes, gets a 9/10 as well, and Games 2 and 4 get 7/10 ratings. Also worth noting, the only NL game so far to go over four hours was the Wild Card Game. You’ll see that’s not the case over in the DH league.

ALDS (BOS vs TBR): 5/10

Two dull to mediocre Games in Tampa, two good ones in Boston. Games 1 and 2 get a 3 and a 4 out of 10 respectively, but Games 3 and 4 make up for it by getting a 6 and 6.5 respectively. Yeah, the 13-inning epic gets a 6 out of 10, folks, I’m sorry. The main cause is the almost 30 combined strikeouts and 16 total pitchers used. There were a lot of “too many pitchers used” penalties here. Still a solid series, however!

ALDS (CWS vs HOU): 4/10

This series starts with two solid, 6/10 games in Houston, but it quickly falls apart once it goes back to Chicago, with Game 3 getting a 1/10 thanks to it featuring a parade of pitchers, tons and tons of strikeouts, and lasting about four and a half hours.Its only saving grace is it does feature lead changes. The deciding Game 4 fares poorly, too, getting a 3/10 and again going well over four hours. Kind of disappointing.

NLCS (ATL vs LAD): 5.5/10

This series started out promising, with back-to-back walk-offs in Games 1 and 2, both getting a 7.5/10 from the Fun Counter, and Game 3 got a very solid 6/10. Games 4 and 5 is where the series falters, however, with a 2 and 4 out of 10 respectively. Like the third game, Game 6 gets another 6/10 to put the series at 5.5/10. Compelling enough, but not consistently so.

ALDS (BOS vs HOU): 4/10

Consistently mediocre, I’d say. Only two games get scores of 5 or higher (Games 1 and 5), and the high Fun Counter score is a 5.5/10 for Game 1. Long games, lots of relievers, lots of blowouts, and you’ll get a 4/10. It happens.

WS (ATL vs HOU): 4/10

That’s what happens when only one starter pitches 6+ innings in the six games, and when most of the games are decided by pretty clear margins. The high point of the World Series, according to the Fun Counter, is the 3-2 Game 4, which gets a 6/10, but all the other ones get at least a 4, except for Game 1, which gets a resounding 2/10. I thought there were interesting individual moments, but most games didn’t flow together that well.

So, what did we learn? Well, first and foremost, the Fun Counter isn’t perfect, but I think we got a pretty decent idea of the watchability of the games. If you’re curious, by the way, the NL Postseason got an average score of 6.1/10, and the AL Postseason got an average score of 4.2/10. The four highest rated games were:

  1. NLDS Game 5 (LAD @ SFG): 9/10 Fun Counter
  2. NLDS Game 1 (ATL @ MIL): 9/10 Fun Counter
  3. NL Wild Card Game (STL @ LAD): 8.5/10 Fun Counter
  4. NLDS Game 1 (LAD @ SFG): 8/10 Fun Counter

I’m sure you noticed that the deeper we got into the Postseason, the lower the scores got. Parades of relievers and four hour games will do that! Also, I’m very proud that the average score of all postseason games was 5.01/10. That kinda lets me know my method isn’t too bad, right? If you want the details, here is the spreadsheet!

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On The Farm

AFL: Salt River Rafters 9, Scottsdale Scorpions 10 (10)

A back-and-forth slugfest that ended with a 10th-inning walk-off. The Rockies prospects who played did so pretty well, with starter Matt Dennis pitching four innings of one-run ball. Michael Toglia and Ryan Vilade both got at least one base hit, with Vilade going 2-for-5 and scoring two runs as well. Ezequiel Tovar got into the game late, but only got one AB. Toglia also got himself ejected in the 5th inning right after being called out on strikes, by the way, so one can only assume he was arguing over a terrible call.

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The Ever-Expanding Postseason Bullpen | Fangraphs

When it’s all said and done, well over half of the innings in the 2021 will have been thrown by relievers, which is... something. I’m very interested in seeing how MLB adresses this moving forward, I’ll say that much.

Colorado Rockies expanding research and development team | The Gazette

Three people from -gasp- outside the organization! Two from the Nationals, and one from the Rays. Color me intrigued.

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