Author Archive

Effectively Wild Episode 1609: Game, Set, Mask

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller discuss Justin Turner’s positive COVID test, his unsafe decision to return to the field after World Series Game 6, and why his protocol-breaking behavior cast a pall over the World Series celebration, then examine the series’ significance to the legacies of the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw, why the Dodgers were a fun team to follow, why no asterisk is required, the legendary postseason performance of Randy Arozarena, Rays manager Kevin Cash’s much-maligned decision to replace Blake Snell with reliever Nick Anderson in the sixth inning of Game 6, whether bullpen usage has gone too far, and the evolution of what people mean when they refer to “analytics,” plus a Stat Blast about where the Rays’ World Series showing ranks among World Series losers.

Audio intro: Robbie Robertson, "Breakin’ the Rules"
Audio outro: Steve Winwood, "Winner/Loser"

Link to MLB statement about Turner
Link to LA Times story on Turner
Link to Ken Rosenthal on Turner
Link to Jen Mac Ramos on Turner
Link to Bradford William Davis on Turner
Link to Barry Svrluga on Turner
Link to Ben on the Dodgers as familiar figures
Link to Tony Wolfe on Arozarena and the Rays offense
Link to Louisa Thomas on Kershaw
Link to Ben on Cash, Snell, and starters
Link to Ben on bullpenning
Link to research on the TTO penalty
Link to earlier research on the TTO penalty
Link to Russell on the TTO penalty
Link to research on pulling pitchers
Link to Twitter thread on pulling Snell
Link to Nate Silver on capping pitchers
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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Effectively Wild Episode 1608: A Wild World Series Weekend

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller break down the exciting fourth and fifth games of the World Series, touching on Brett Phillips’ momentous hit and the Dodgers’ momentous misplays at the end of Game 4, the managerial decisions that led to that wild ending, Manuel Margot’s baserunning and Clayton Kershaw’s pitching in Game 5, and other observations, plus a preview of Game 6 and a possible Game 7.

Audio intro: Guided By Voices, "Run Wild"
Audio outro: Dinosaur Jr., "What Was That"

Link to Dan Szymborski on Game 4’s historical significance
Link to list of top plays by cWPA
Link to Mike Petriello on the biggest World Series plays
Link to Sam on single-play WAR
Link to video of Phillips single
Link to Ben Clemens on Game 4’s managerial decisions
Link to Ben Clemens’ Game 4 gamer
Link to BP’s Game 4 breakdown
Link to video of Margot’s trip around the bases
Link to Jon Tayler’s Game 5 gamer
Link to Ben on the Dodgers as a TV show
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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Effectively Wild Episode 1607: Goad Glovers

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about the groundswell of support for Mookie Betts as the best player in baseball, stand up for Mike Trout, and explain why Betts and Trout make an ideal duo as faces of the sport, then examine Yadier Molina’s frustration with Gold Glove voting, the sabermetric reappraisal of Yadi’s Hall of Fame case, and Jeff Luhnow’s latest attempt to proclaim his ignorance of the Astros’ sign-stealing operation before answering a listener email about playing a best-of-seven series continuously (with no breaks between games) and discussing which World Series team has the brighter long-term outlook, the Dodgers or Rays.

Audio intro: Cotton Mather, "The Gold Gone Days"
Audio outro: The Resonars, "Invisible Gold"

Link to Joe Posnanski on Mookie
Link to article about Yelich being better than Trout
Link to Luhnow’s interview
Link to Evan Drellich on Luhnow
Link to story about Molina’s Gold Glove complaint
Link to Bradley’s Gold Glove-related tweet
Link to Ben on catchers’ Cooperstown cases
Link to Ben on Yadi’s secret sauce
Link to SABR Defensive Index details
Link to study on Gold Gloves and defensive stats
Link to Sam on a 50-inning game
Link to Ben on the Dodgers’ blueprint
Link to FanGraphs’ farm rankings
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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Effectively Wild Episode 1606: Call it Even

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller discuss the first two games of the World Series, touching on Clayton Kershaw’s Game 1 excellence, the Dodgers’ discipline, Dave Roberts’ pitcher usage, the status of Rays reliever Nick Anderson, the Game 2 breakout of Brandon Lowe, and the outlook for the rest of the series. Then they banter about the differences and similarities between early baseball and the modern game and answer listener emails about the gap between pitchers’ regular-season and postseason ERAs, the best way to lose a series after going down 0-3, the folly of chasing wins by using top relievers while trailing, and when the count is truly even.

Audio intro: Dispatch, "Even"
Audio outro: Dressy Bessy, "Call it Even Later"

Link to Craig Goldstein on Kershaw
Link to Pedro Moura on May/Gonsolin
Link to ESPN World Series roundtable
Link to SABR 50 at 50
Link to Sam on the six types of playoff games
Link to Spink passage
Link to Russell Carleton on keeping leads small
Link to 2019 league splits by count
Link to Ben on shifting against righties
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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Effectively Wild Episode 1605: Welcome to the World Series

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley discuss the exciting seventh games that decided the ALCS and NLCS, the exits of the Astros and Braves, the Braves’ future, how the Dodgers defeated Atlanta, the joy of home run robberies, the Mookie trade revisited, and more, then preview the World Series, focusing on the return of off days, the similarities and differences between the Dodgers and Rays, how we got a matchup between the two top seeds, the dangers of shifting against right-handed hitters, the best way to frame the payroll disparity between Andrew Friedman’s former and current clubs, the Dodgers’ legacy, and the factors that could decide the series.

Audio intro: Billy Joel, "Got to Begin Again"
Audio outro: Vetiver, "More of This"

Link to Ben on NLCS Game 7
Link to Wood’s comments on the Dodgers’ mindset
Link to Eno on the aesthetics of the Rays
Link to postseason home run robberies montage
Link to Ben on the golden age of home run robberies
Link to Smith’s shift-beating grounder
Link to Tango on shifting against righties
Link to Meg on Gonsolin’s look
Link to Tom Ley on trading Mookie
Link to Ben on the Braves’ rebuild in 2019
Link to Baumann on the Braves’ pitching test in 2020
Link to Rob Arthur on postseason fastball velocity
Link to Jay on Arozarena
Link to Dan’s World Series preview
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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Effectively Wild Episode 1604: The Plans for Fans in Stands

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about a podcast interview that may hinge on the Rays winning the World Series, John Smoltz’s on-air app suggestion, the latest developments in the Dave Roberts and Clayton Kershaw playoff narratives, the Dodgers and Astros on the brink, the long-term outlook for Randy Arozarena, encouraging catcher glove gestures, the White Sox firing Rick Renteria, and Billy Beane possibly calling it quits as a baseball executive. Then (44:00) they bring on Bradford William Davis of the New York Daily News to discuss why and how MLB proceeded with plans to sell tickets to the NLCS and World Series, whether the league has lived up to its public health commitments, the forecast for attendance in 2021, and how and why Bradford is planning to cover the World Series in person.

Audio intro: Randy Newman, "Naked Man"
Audio interstitial: Sam Evian, "Health Machine"
Audio outro: Paul McCartney, "Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link"

Link to article about “OnlyFanGraphs”
Link to Jeff’s tweet
Link to BP on Kershaw and Roberts
Link to Ben on Roberts in 2019
Link to Meg on the Braves’ brief embarrassment
Link to Ben Clemens on Arozarena
Link to WSJ report about Beane
Link to Ray Ratto on Beane
Link to Susan Slusser on Beane
Link to Brian Phillips on Beane and Morey
Link to story about Renteria
Link to Bradford on MLB and public health officials
Link to Bradford on MLB and community COVID testing
Link to Evan Drellich on fans in the stands
Link to Stephanie Apstein on fans in the stands
Link to Hannah Keyser on fans in the stands
Link to Craig Calcaterra on MLB’s attendance survey
Link to CPBL outfielder video
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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Effectively Wild Episode 1603: Match Points

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about a baseball ad on the radio, revisit the topic of how often teams win when they outhomer their opponents, discuss the brand of baseball on display this postseason, share a Stat Blast about the percentage of runs scored on homers and investigate whether all-or-nothing baseball is as problematic as it’s made out to be, then examine a pair of standout postseason umpiring efforts and answer listener emails about whether groundball pitchers might make a comeback and what should constitute a “match point” in baseball.

Audio intro: Cordovas, "The Game"
Audio outro: They Might Be Giants, "I’ve Got a Match"

Link to Ben on home runs this postseason
Link to Ben on learning to accept strikeouts
Link to Ben on October baseball
Link to article about increase in solo homers
Link to Ben on umpire perfect games
Link to Umpire Scorecards on Pat Hoberg
Link to Close Call Sports on John Tumpane
Link to 2015 article on umpires improving
Link to 2016 article on umpires improving
Link to Matt Trueblood on the Dodgers’ bullpen
Link to Bill James on groundball pitchers
Link to article about groundball pitchers being overrated
Link to Seinfeld tweet about the “final strike”
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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Effectively Wild Episode 1602: Dig Deep

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller banter about the Honda Fit being discontinued, then discuss Game 5 of the Yankees-Rays ALDS, why this postseason’s strikeout-centric, home-run-reliant brand of baseball may be entertaining to hardcore fans but a turnoff to non-fans, the ALCS and NLCS matchups, the incredible depth of the Rays and Dodgers, whether (and why) offensive strikeout rate is a strong predictor of team postseason success, how Dodgers architect Andrew Friedman has put his stamp on every championship series, Friedman’s case as the baseball executive of the century so far, and the deaths of Hall of Famers Joe Morgan and Whitey Ford.

Audio intro: Hinds, "Riding Solo"
Audio outro: Parliament, "Deep"

Link to article about Honda Fit
Link to Ben on the Yankees’ ALDS loss
Link to Joe Sheehan’s newsletter
Link to Ben on contact hitters versus velocity
Link to Eno Sarris on predicting postseason success
Link to Ben on moving the mound back
Link to Pages From Baseball’s Past
Link to Craig Wright on Whitey Ford
Link to Jay Jaffe on Whitey Ford
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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Effectively Wild Episode 1601: Always in Motion is the Future

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Meg Rowley banter about which team with a new opening at the top of its baseball operations department would be the most attractive to baseball executives: the Reds, the Phillies, or the Angels. Then (15:07) they bring on James Buffi, the biomechanics expert, former Driveline Baseball biomechanics consultant and Dodgers senior analyst, and current CEO of motion analysis company Reboot Motion, to discuss the path he took from public research to working for a team, the biomechanical arms race, how progressive teams are using motion-tracking tech to improve players, how the Dodgers develop pitchers, how predictable and preventable injuries are, how the pandemic-shortened season and the postseason schedule affect pitchers, whether deception can be quantified, and how to avoid snake oil salesmen.

Audio intro: Neil Young, "Motion Pictures"
Audio interstitial: Pavement, "Motion Suggests Itself"
Audio outro: Rex White, "Who’s Hiring?"

Link to Dick Williams story
Link to Matt Klentak story
Link to Phillies hiring process story
Link to Angels hiring process story
Link to James Buffi’s LinkedIn page
Link to Reboot Motion website
Link to Driveline story on biomechanics and motion capture
Link to story on baseball’s biomechanical revolution
Link to excerpt from The Arm about Buffi
Link to story about Buffi leaving the Dodgers
Link to Driveline study on Dodgers player development
Link to story about KinaTrax
Link to Hawk-Eye introduction
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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Effectively Wild Episode 1600: Blown Calls

EWFI
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller discuss the merits of stats about the success of teams that hit more home runs in the playoffs and then review the first several games of the division series, touching on the unparalleled power of Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees’ piggyback pitcher decision, the Astros’ resurgence, the overtaxed Padres’ bullpen, the latest bad blood between the Braves and Ronald Acuña Jr., Clayton Kershaw’s 2020 renaissance, bad blown ball/strike calls, and more (plus a Stat Blast about the biggest mismatches in height between opposing starting pitchers).

Audio intro: Eleanor Friedberger, "My Mistakes"
Audio outro: Olivia Jean, "Mistakes"

Link to Lindsey Adler on the Yankees’ pitching plan
Link to Ben on second-guessing
Link to most lopsided starting pitcher heights
Link to Ben on Kershaw
Link to research on shadows
Link to FanGraphs playoff coverage

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