Cardinals vs. Nationals NLCS Game 1 Chat

7:39
Ben Clemens: Hey everyone, and welcome to our chat for Game One of the NLCS.

7:39
Ben Clemens: Dan Szymborski has a preview for you:
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/postseason-preview-st-louis-cardinals-vs-w…

7:40
Ben Clemens: Or if you’d prefer Dan’s numbers in a handy chart, here are his game-by-game forecasts:
https://www.fangraphs.com/standings/playoff-odds/post-season-zips?seas…

7:40
Ben Clemens: Jason Martinez wrote about how the Cardinals built their roster:
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/how-they-were-acquired-the-st-…

7:42
Ben Clemens: And how the Nationals built theirs:
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/instagraphs/how-they-were-acquired-the-was…

7:45
Ben Clemens: Ben Kaspick and I will be here throughout the game to chat with you about baseball.

7:45
Ben Clemens: And also very likely some not-baseball.

7:46
Ben Clemens: So we’ll be back to answer some questions as the start of the game nears, but for now, feel free to ask anything you’d like, and we’ll let the queue fill up for a bit.

7:57
Andy: Hi! New to fg.s. What’s the probability percentage on the scores page before the game starts consist of, and where;s it derived from, or from whom, what outputs?

7:57
Ben Clemens: Hey, and welcome!

7:58
Ben Clemens: The way this works is that we have two projection systems, ZiPS and Steamer, that we use to project a talent level for each team, accounting for homefield advantage and which starter they are using and so on.

7:58
Ben Clemens: Then we use those and jam them into some arcane formulas that project a winner based on runs scored and runs allowed.

7:59
Ben Clemens: One thing I am not sure about is whether we are simulating the game a million times or just using a formula to come to an outcome.

7:59
Ben Clemens: I’ve tried both in building stuff, and they tend to agree very closely on outcomes.

7:59
5 Run Homer: I fully support head chatter Ben. Thanks for taking the time to do all these chats

7:59
Ben Clemens: That’s right– head chatter Ben’s.

7:59
edlondon: How has Doo done against STL lineup? Nerves about no Hudson

8:00
Ben Clemens: Eh, he definitely hasn’t pitched enough for the batter-pitcher matchups to matter, but I think you’re right to be worried. The Cardinals lineup is predominantly righty and hits fastballs well.

8:00
Ben Clemens: So uh.

8:02
Ben Clemens: Here’s a silly thing I like to do, and full credit to Craig Edwards:

8:02
Ben Clemens:

Who you got?

Nats (66.6% | 46 votes)
 
Cards (33.3% | 23 votes)
 

Total Votes: 69
8:02
Ben Clemens:

Who you *want*?

Nats (58.2% | 46 votes)
 
Cards (25.3% | 20 votes)
 
Just watching some baseball (16.4% | 13 votes)
 

Total Votes: 79
8:03
Tanner Rainey Stan: What’s tonight’s hierarchy in the Nats pen? Doolittle > Rainey > ???? > Trevor Rosenthal

8:03
Ben Kaspick: Hello everyone. Re: Hudson, I saw today (I believe in the Washington Post) that Dave Martínez said he’s likely to use Tanner Rainey in Hudson’s role.

8:04
Ben Clemens: The middle guys in the pen are much-maligned, but I think that Wander Suero is totally usable and am confused why he’s not staying on the roster when Hudson returns.

8:05
Ben Clemens: Like, does Davey Martinez have a prop bet going that he can make it through the playoffs without using Austin Voth?

8:05
Jamie G.: Under what circumstances would Roenis Elias make it into the game?

8:05
Ben Clemens: My guess: extra innings or as a LOOGY to face Carpenter.

8:06
5 Run Homer: I’m learning a lot about the Nats pen already and none of it is making me happy

8:06
Ben Clemens: There are teams you *think* have bad bullpens.

8:06
Ben Clemens: And then there are the Tigers.

8:07
Ben Clemens: Then there’s a gap, and then the Nats.

8:07
Ben Clemens: Like, wow.

8:07
5 Run Homer: What are the chances one of Washington’s Big 3 pitches tonight?

8:08
Ben Kaspick: I think there’s a decent chance we see Corbin pitch in this game

8:08
Ben Kaspick: The other two, not so much

8:08
Alfredo: I get it for a 1st child or twins, but a 3rd child? Really? Semi-serious

8:08
Ben Clemens: I mean, I’m not here to legislate morality, but there’s a 100% chance I’d be doing the same thing as him.

8:09
Ben Clemens: Baseball is a super fun game, and it’s great, and I’m sure he’s great friends with his teammates.

8:09
Ben Clemens: And yeah, also he’s having a kid. I’d take time off from my work for paternity leave no question.

8:10
KC: Take: Molina is one of the most overrated players in baseball.

8:10
Ben Clemens: This is an interesting take.

8:10
Ben Clemens: I think that some people overrate him a lot.

8:10
Ben Clemens: I think that his overall reputation is right around where it should be.

8:10
Ben Clemens: There are some things he gets too much credit for.

8:10
Ben Clemens: Clutchness, game calling (maybe?), mystical ability to calm pitchers.

8:11
Ben Clemens: But catchers as a genre are underrated, and framing is too, and that counts for a lot.

8:11
Ben Clemens: Now, if you’re talking about some yahoo online saying Molina is better than Mike Trout: yeah that is wrong.

8:12
Dystopian Future: Yadier Molina is the current iteration of Derek Jeter. He’s good! He’s not a messiah or something. He’s a great defender. He’s a below average hitter. That’s it.

8:12
Ben Clemens: Great way of putting it, to be honest.

8:12
Ben Clemens: If you think either of these guys are no-doubt all-time greats, you’re probably too high on them.

8:12
Ben Clemens: If you think they’re worthy Hall of Famers, you’re probably right.

8:13
Ben Clemens: Molina’s is complicated somewhat by the fact that the Hall has historically undervalued catchers, but hopefully he will start to pave the way for a ton of people who deserve to get in.

8:13
Dystopian Future: ANTHONY RENDON JUST SMILED WHAT’S GOING ON HERE

8:13
Ben Clemens: Glitch in the matrix.

8:14
Ben Kaspick: Getting to watch Rendon and Soto on a nightly basis has been a blast.

8:15
Ben Clemens: Juan Soto takes are the best takes.

8:15
Ben Kaspick: I’m still dumbfounded by the 2020 ZiPS projection for Soto, which has him ahead of Trout by wOBA.

8:15
Ben Clemens: Just a casual, not me bragging at all reminder that I somehow got Soto 16th (!!!!!) in the FanGraphs franchise player draft.

8:16
Ben Clemens: So Ben, if you think that’s crazy: Steamer doesn’t have Trout in it for the rest of 2019 anymore, due to injury, but it has Soto as the best hitter *right now*

8:16
Ben Clemens: Er, sorry, depth charts

8:17
Hail the Lizard King: Best nickname in baseball, nice start to the night

8:17
Ben Clemens: As we all expected, power pitcher Miles Mikolas with three strikeouts to start the night.

8:18
Ben Clemens: He’s had nine games this year with three or less K’s for the whole game.

8:19
Derek: What is average wOBA (or any stat really) on “barrels”?

8:20
Dystopian Future: Imagine telling someone in 2017 that Miles Mikolas vs Anibal Sanchez would be a CS game one matchup in two years. I’d like to see their mind explode.

8:20
Ben Kaspick: Can’t remember a Game 1 matchup like this one.

8:21
Dystopian Future: This is a real non-sequitur, and I’m going to look into this later, but I wonder if we should consider the quick win-now model of building a franchise officially dead, after the fails of both the Reds and Mets, and the Twins of 2018. I think the best teams are so much better and deeper than they used to be, and you probably can’t really build a great team on the fly any more, honestly.

8:22
Ben Clemens: I’m not convinced; the Mets had some severe injury problems, and the Reds had some severe the baseball gods hate them problems, but they were both pretty competitive and easily could have claimed the second Wild Card.

8:22
Ben Clemens: I do think that teams are getting a lot more hesitant to do what they’re doing, though, because even if you make the second Wild Card…. then you have to win a weighted coinflip against Max Scherzer just for the privilege of playing the Dodgers.

8:23
Ben Clemens: It does feel to me like teams are looking at their projection systems and saying “okay there’s value in going from 78 to 83 projected wins, we might make the playoffs and fans love that”

8:23
Ben Clemens: But why bother going from 83 to 88

8:25
Ben Clemens: And that kind of sucks to me as a fan of baseball. I like it more when teams try more.

8:25
Jamie G.: How big a difference is there between Suzuki and Gomes?

8:26
Ben Kaspick: Not much. Glad to see that Suzuki is on the roster though after that scary HBP.

8:27
Derek: I wouldn’t call the Twins’ team building model a failure… They had 100 wins this year!

8:28
Dystopian Future: By gold gloves, is Ryan Zimmerman seriously the Nats best defender? I love gold gloves. This is hilarious.

8:29
Ben Clemens: Zimmerman was a great fielder when he was a third baseman! From 2005 to 2010 he was worth 60 DRS at third.

8:29
Ben Clemens: And around 50 if you prefer UZR.

8:30
KC: Taylor is a good player- speed, some defense and power. Why aren’t more people talking about him? He’s rather streaky perhaps.

8:31
Ben Kaspick: He definitely has some tools, but has been ~ 20% below average offensively in his career.

8:31
Mo money, Molina: Cause his name is Michael K Taylor…

8:32
Ben Kaspick: A .294 OBP, 30%+ K rate just doesn’t cut it.

8:32
Ben Clemens: Ah, it wouldn’t be the postseason without the announcers getting in a little gratuitous shift-bashing.

8:32
Ben Clemens: “They play straight up to make you beat them.”

8:32
Ben Clemens: That’s true, when teams shift it’s because they want to let teams win automatically without having to beat them.

8:33
Dystopian Future: Taylor has good speed, good defense, good power, and he swings like he’s blindfolded.

8:33
Ben Clemens: Ron Darling says Michael A. Taylor has a strikeout problem but “sick power” when he makes contact and yeah.

8:33
Lunar verLander: There’s been a lot of evidence suggesting that MLB de-juiced the balls at the start of the postseason…that seems almost cruel to do, right?

8:34
Ben Clemens: In Play, Gome(s)

8:34
Ben Clemens: Going to link outside of FG here, because this is a great article:

8:35
Ben Clemens: Yeah, the change in the baseball is hard to deny. I was skeptical based on the actual fly ball results, but Rob measured it in a far more precise way and found an obvious change.

8:36
Ben Clemens: It’s quite frankly shocking that they’d do this. It’s almost unbelievable that they’d do it on purpose, but also hard to imagine how they could do it on accident.

8:36
Ben Kaspick: I think it’s worse than cruel, and yeah, the changes are hard to deny.

8:36
Sonny : They changed the ball for the 207 playoffs just in the opposite direction

8:36
Ben Clemens: Yeah so you can see in this article, the change in drag coefficient is higher this year by roughly an order of magnitude.

8:37
Ben Clemens: Like it has just changed sooooooooo much.

8:37
Mad Joe-Don: Maybe it’s the chaos-lover in me, but I want to see a wider variety of baseballs out there. Some factory irregulars, even?

8:38
Ben Clemens: I’m picturing the feeling you get from a dead tennis ball.

8:38
Ben Clemens: Smash the thing straight on, bloop single.

8:38
Ben Kaspick: That ground ball that came apart on its way to Pedro Alvarez is one of my favorite highlights.

8:38
Mantis Toboggan: So Fangraphs currently has the Cardinals with a 6.5% chance of winning the world series. That has to be some sort of glitch, right? With a 34% chance of winning the NLCS, that means Fangraphs gives implied odds of like 17% for the Cardinals to beat the AL team, should they make it.

8:40
Ben Clemens: I’m going to ask someone about this, actually. There’s some chance it’s a goof, but there’s also some chance that the way we forecast these things produces weird effects when teams of widely disparate talent levels play seven-game series.

8:40
Ben Clemens: For example, that system has the Cardinals as 34% to win the NLCS but Dan’s projections have them at 45.5%.

8:41
Derek: DE-JUICED BALL ALERT

8:41
Dystopian Future: Marcell Ozuna in play, ru-what the hell

8:41
Dystopian Future: They should just throw some footballs in there, mostly because I’d like to see Aaron Judge hit a football with a baseball bat. What would happen? What’s the best place to hit a football with a baseball bat? So many questions.

8:42
Ben Kaspick: I just have to say…Pete Alonso was recently on a late night TV show and there is super slow mo footage of him hitting all sorts of fun things, including a football.

8:42
Sonny : Crossing up with no one base. Classic October baseball.

8:42
Ben Clemens: I would 100% use multiple signs against the Astros.

8:43
Ben Clemens: I’m not sure I would against most teams.

8:43
5 Run Homer: Bunting is hard

8:43
Ben Clemens: Matt Carpenter is a great bunter – he’s perennially one of the most successful players at bunting against the shift.

8:43
Ben Clemens: It’s just, like you said, hard!

8:44
Sonny : That’s a legit problem. If cameras are that prevalent MLB needs to do whatever to fix that.

8:44
Ben Clemens: Yeah so, I don’t have the link offhand, but an Astros staffer was caught during a Red Sox-Astros playoff series filming a series of catcher signs

8:44
Ben Clemens: Using a phone with a built-in high speed camera and machine learning app.

8:44
Ben Clemens: So uh…. guard those signs!

8:45
Ben Kaspick: The Astros made it super obvious they were all over Tyler Glasnow tipping pitches last night. I wonder if that could lead to teams being even more careful than they otherwise would have been. Seems like they should have been less demonstrative about it.

8:45
Ben Kaspick: Or, teams are already experiencing peak paranoia and it doesn’t matter.

8:45
Ben Clemens: Yeah LOL at Bregman making sure the camera saw him explaining the tipping to Correa.

8:45
Ben Clemens: He’s quite the showman.

8:46
Ben Clemens: Like, it’s not as though Correa didn’t get the same scouting report as Bregman.

8:46
Lunar verLander: …wait, a machine learning app…to pick up a handful of signs…don’t most machine learning algorithms require millions of input tests to ‘learn’ before they’re useful?

8:47
Ben Clemens: So Eric has gone into it on a few FanGraphs audio podcasts, and I don’t have the links offhand, but not really? Basically you film a lot of the signs beforehand to give it a learning database.

8:47
Ben Clemens: Off of the broadcast of their former games or whatever, it’s not as though they have infinite patterns.

8:47
Ben Clemens: And then it is very fast at figuring out which set is currently being used.

8:48
Ben Clemens: I’m about as far from an expert in machine learning as you can get, so take this with a grain of salt.

8:48
Ben Kaspick: A guy on YouTube made a baseball sign stealing app. Fascinating watch.

8:48
Derek: Yeah Bregman seems determined to become baseball’s heel.

8:48
Ben Clemens: And what a delight it is.

8:49
Ben Clemens: I wrote an article called “Alex Bregman Still Has Another Gear,” kind of generic ‘this dude is really good.’

8:49
Ben Clemens: And he liked it on Twitter!

8:49
Ben Clemens: Like, his self-confidence is theatrical and amazing.

8:49
Dystopian Future: Too bad that Bregman is already the good guy in the minds of most of baseball fans because he’s up against Trevor Bauer.

8:49
Ben Clemens: C’mon, we all love to root for heels.

8:50
Fire Ken Tremendous: Did he contact you to discuss the article like Schilling did to Posnanski?

8:50
Ben Clemens: Man I wish. Any baseball player I write about, or who’s reading this chat, hit me up.

8:51
Mantis Toboggan: I am a baseball player reading this chat, although not a professional one.

8:51
Ben Clemens: Count it!

8:51
5 Run Homer: Maybe re-juice that ball, MLB

8:51
Ben Clemens: This is karmic punishment for him smiling earlier.

8:52
Ben Clemens: In fairness, he hit that to the deepest part of the park.

8:52
Ben Kaspick: Rendon hit that ball 101.4 mph at 29 degrees…

8:53
Matt: Sup Ben?

8:53
Ben Clemens: So many Bens tonight.

8:54
Ben Clemens: If you’re curious, 75.6% of batted balls hit at that velo and angle became home runs this regular season.

8:54
Ben: Quick, everyone in the chat: change your name to “Ben” for 5 minutes. It’ll be a blast!

8:54
5 Run Homer: Someone tell Edman to shave that mustache

8:54
Ben Clemens: If you think that one is bad, wait until you see Dakota Hudson.

8:55
Wire Fan: In cold weather,  and with what wind conditions,  and what spin on the ball.   I’d love someone to publish the error bars on the HR models that predict HR probability on LA, exit velocity,  and park size.

8:55
Ben Clemens: Yeah so, these all need to be controlled for, and wind gusts can’t be accounted for even in these models. That variability is why I was slow to accept that the ball has changed just based on results. But now that Arthur’s article has calculated a measurable and likely change in drag, the presumption goes the other wya.

8:56
Ben: Heyyyyy

8:56
Ben also: Hooooo

8:56
Fire Ben Tremendous: I’m here for the 5 minute blast

8:56
Ben Clemens: Now that’s thinking on your feet.

8:57
Matt: Do they get to call up a different player to replace the paternity list?

8:57
Ben Clemens: Yes. Wander Suero is his replacement.

8:57
5 Ben Homer: Oh hey

8:57
Ben Joe-Don: What’s up?

8:57
Ben Clemens: Sounds like we need more Ben-only chats. I’m liking these nicknames.

8:58
Obi-Wan Benobi: Hello there

8:58
Ben Clemens: This one seems would have worked without the change…

8:59
Ben-d it like ben-ckham: This is getting out of hand

8:59
Anonymous: PSA for skeptics: The reason people are making a big deal about the ball is not because of a grouchy idea of what baseball “should” look like, but because MLB’s lack of transparency is devastating for fan confidence. (They could selectively use juice/no-juice to help certain teams win VERY easily.)

8:59
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I think there are two arguments. One is the grouchy one, and plenty of people made that one. The argument that the lack of transparency bad just has to be true, and they’re doing themselves no favors with these statements that beggar belief.

9:00
Lunar verLander: re. Anonymous’ comment: I agree. I think Verlander even said as much; wouldn’t mind if they livened or deadened the ball, so long as they were up front about it.

9:02
Byron Buxton : Loving all these bunt attempts to beat the shift!

9:02
Ben Clemens: It’s entirely possible that the best bunter for hits in baseball is in this series.

9:02
Ben Clemens: Kolten Wong

9:02
Ben Clemens: And he hasn’t laid down either of the two bunts that have happened. As a big fan of bunting for a hit, I’m into it.

9:03
Derek I mean Ben: Juan Soto should be banned from bunting

9:03
Ben Clemens: Juan Soto bunting with the platoon advantage against a guy without strikeout stuff is… optimistic.

9:03
Ben Kaspick: I’d like to see him take his chances and swing the bat.

9:04
Ben Kaspick: I just can’t imagine having a .400 OBP and .550 slugging and deciding I should bunt

9:04
Adam2: Wouldn’t that be pessimistic of him?

9:05
Ben Clemens: Yeah I guess he’s either optimistic about his bunting prowess or wildly pessimistic about his own talent.

9:05
Anonymous: remember when Trea Turner bunted?

9:05
Ben Clemens: Given his issues with hand injuries, I totally get it.

9:05
Ben Kaspick: Feels like the chances of laying down a successful bunt for a hit is not much better than 40% anyway. The only difference is that a bunt leads to a .100 SLG at best.

9:05
Ben Clemens: The Nats still have two of the most prolific, though not best, bunters in baseball in Eaton and Robles.

9:06
Matt: At a 40% success rate, wouldn’t a bunt lead to a .400 slug?

9:07
Ben Kaspick: Yes

9:07
Ben Clemens: So the thing about bunting for a hit is, there are two types.

9:07
Ben Clemens: There’s the kind where they shift and you just take a base.

9:07
Ben Clemens: And there’s the kind where you find a spot where a failure still does something good for you.

9:07
Ben Clemens: Runner advancement of some type.

9:08
Ben Clemens: Like, not with two outs, for example

9:08
Dystopian Future: Why is everybody bunting, what’s going on?

9:09
Matt: I think the guys who were supposed to be telling the grounds crew to set up the bunting might have accidentally talked to the wrong audience.

9:10
Anonymous: what’s the FanGraphs article-version of laying down a bunt?

9:10
Ben Clemens: I wrote an article about how Ji-Man Choi is fun to watch earlier this week.

9:10
Ben Clemens: Limited upside, limited downside.

9:10
Jason: Any article about homerun records this season would be a bunt.

9:10
Ben Clemens: Acceptable as well.

9:11
Ben Clemens: Michael A. Taylor is actually a guy who should probably bunt more. Just, like, maybe not there? With a runner on first and two outs just go try to hit a dinger!

9:12
Ben Clemens: These announcers are talking about how difficult it is to hit Anibal Sanchez.

9:13
Ben Clemens: And I can’t help but think they just say this about everyone who succeeds without throwing hard.

9:13
Dystopian Future: But that’s the thing about bunts, they’re not limited downside. It’s an out. You’re wasting an out. It’s limited upside big downside. A better example is an article predicting a player to suck; if you’re right, it isn’t that great, you still feel kind of bad. You’re wrong, you look like a total fool.

9:15
Ben Clemens: That’s a sacrifice bunt, right? If you’re bunting for a hit, the upside is a hit, and the downside is better than an unproductive out. Bunts relaly do have lower success rate breakevens (when done right) than regular hits. It’s just that people are way too willing to sacrifice bunt, as in bunt without the expectation that you’ll often be safe.

9:15
Anonymous: who’s the biggest retirement this year? (non-Bochy edition)

9:15
Ben Clemens: Probably going to be McCann. He’s not a Hall of Famer but Hall of Very Good for sure

9:16
Alfredo: CC is a HoFer likely

9:16
Adam2: CC!

9:16
Ben Clemens: Yeah my bad. I forgot about his because he announced it so long ago.

9:16
Ben Clemens: CC is better than McCann.

9:17
Dystopian Future: Ichiro is probably officially retiring now at the end of the season. Felix Hernandez might not get signed. CC Sabathia is retiring.

9:17
Ben Clemens: Haha fiiiiiine Ichiro too. Ichiro has already retired as far as I’m concerned.

9:18
Ben Clemens: This might shock you; per fWAR, McCann has more WAR than Felix.

9:18
Ben Clemens: I also don’t think Felix will retire, but wow.

9:18
Byron Buxton : Odds that Cole Hamels retires?

9:19
Ben Clemens: Oh, maybe not 0, but 0-ish. He tried to get one last start in this year off the IL so that he could showcase himself for free agency.

9:20
Adam2: Do you think teams would have given McCann presents?  Do you think he wasn’t sure they would and didn’t want to open himself up to disappointment if he announced early and nobody celebrated for him? 🙁

9:20
Ben Clemens: This actually seems like a question for Meg, who is FanGraphs’ foremost authority on wondering about players being melancholy.

9:21
Ben Clemens: But I will say- Brian McCann was worried he’d have to fight himself for violating the unwritten rules of baseball if he showboated his retirement too much.

9:21
Ben Clemens: Final answer.

9:22
Ben Clemens: I did enjoy the mixture of McCann and Acuna on the same team. Like, I love everything about the way Acuna plays the game.

9:22
Ben Clemens: And I’m sure McCann hated every bit of it.

9:22
Ben Clemens: And that makes me laugh.

9:23
Ben Clemens: The Braves are a team full of fun players that also randomly had the biggest grump in baseball

9:23
Dystopian Future: I don’t know, from a lot of the things I read it sounded like McCann really loosened up when he went to Houston. Did he regress back to how he used to be?

9:23
Ben Clemens: Yeah haha this is mainly tongue in cheek at this point.

9:23
Ben Clemens: He chilled out on the Astros, and generally chilled out with age.

9:24
Ben Clemens: He was involved in the whole Beltran bat funeral thing.

9:24
Lunar verLander: He led the burial of Beltran’s glove!

9:24
Ben Clemens: Er, glove funeral.

9:24
Guest: what does “tongue in cheek” mean?

9:24
Ben Clemens: As in, I don’t seriously think he’d fight himself for showboating.

9:25
Byron Buxton : Is Adam Eaton a suboptimal #2 hitter? Would the Nats be better with Turner/Rendon/Soto hitting sequentially?

9:25
Ben Clemens: I just like poking a bit of fun at truly a great baseball player who has had some regrettable fun police moments.

9:25
Ben Kaspick: I think so. He’s more of a throw back No. 2 hitter. I’d like to see more Soto, less Eaton.

9:25
Matt: Giles fought himself for not pitching good.

9:26
Ben Clemens: Audrey Stark wrote a great summary of self-inflicted injuries:
https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-modern-history-of-self-inflicted-basebal…

9:26
Albert: “He’ll lay down a bunt too” — I hope not!

9:27
Matt: There’s a part of me that thinks flipping Turner/Eaton would be optimal. I get the idea of wanting Turner up front with an open base, but Eaton has a good OBP, and Turner has more pop. Turner gets his “lead off” situation if Eaton makes an out.

9:28
Ben Clemens: Honestly, the margin between who is first and who is second (in terms of win contribution) is really low, and I think the Nats probably derive more utility from going R/L/R/L

9:28
Ben Clemens: Like Ben said, I wouldn’t hate seeing Soto second.

9:29
Ben Clemens: But if you’re going to have him fourth (which I am also fine with, fourth is about as important as second), I don’t hate Eaton second.

9:30
Dystopian Future: Eaton/Rendon/Turner/Soto would be the way I’d order those four. Or put Kendrick third and Turner fifth, wouldn’t hate that either.

9:30
Ben Clemens: Yeah if you’re willing to bat Rendon second and Soto fourth, sure.

9:30
Alex: Why is third not as important as fourth (or fifth as I’ve also heard?)

9:30
Ben Clemens: Okay so this is neat, I’ll try to cover it quickly.

9:30
Ben Clemens: Think of it this way — the worst spot to come up in, leverage wise, is with two outs and no one on.

9:31
Ben Clemens: That happens a lot when you bat third.

9:31
Ben Clemens: Whereas second, you either have a runner on (good), or the chance for extra bases and to be in scoring position with only one out (good)

9:31
Ben Clemens: Fourth, if you bat in the first inning there’s a runner on for a prospective dinger.

9:31
Ben Clemens: And if you don’t, you get to come up with no one out.

9:31
Ben Clemens: But uh, it’s not all that important. Lineup changes matter in the single digit runs over an entire season.

9:32
Sam: You pull mikolas here?

9:32
Ben Clemens: I would!

9:32
Ben Clemens: Mike Shildt just let Adam Wainwright throw 7,003 pitches.

9:32
Ben Clemens: So he probably won’t.

9:33
Ben Kaspick: I would too. But I don’t hate leaving in Mikolas. He’s pitched pretty well tonight.

9:33
Matt: Is Soto grabbing his crotch in Mikolas’ general direction, or is that just a tic after taking a pitch? He did it after the first two…not the third.

9:33
Ben Clemens: It’s a tic. But he’s very demonstrative.

9:34
Ben Clemens: The best one of these, by far, is when he realized Josh Hader couldn’t locate his slider and laughed:
https://www.reddit.com/r/baseball/comments/dce2rf/juan_sotos_reaction_…

9:35
Ben Clemens: That little happy shoulder shrug kills me.

9:35
kevinthecomic : Hasn’t been a ton of hard contact against MM, other than the 2 doubles earlier in the game, the last few hits have been seeing eye singles

9:35
Ben Clemens: Yeah, it’s not that he hasn’t pitched well.

9:35
Ben Clemens: It’s just that you want your best possible matchup against Soto there, that at-bat can end the game.

9:35
Ben Clemens: And a lefty is the matchup you want against Soto

9:36
Ben Clemens: Per Leverage Index, that was the most important plate appearance of the night by a fair margin.

9:36
cat’s paw: Even with as much as people talk about how well he hits lefties?

9:37
Ben Clemens: Uh, yes. The idea of knowing people’s platoon splits after 346 PA against lefties (for Soto) is wild.

9:37
Ben Clemens: Not only that, but he has a 120 wRC+ against lefties and 153 against righties

9:37
Ben Clemens: !!

9:37
Ben Clemens: That’s actually a big split. He hits lefties well because he is maybe the best pure hitter in baseball.

9:38
Byron Buxton : But he does “hit lefties well”

9:38
Ben Clemens: Haha well sure. Barry Bonds hit lefties well too.

9:38
Ben Clemens: Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a lefty against him.

9:39
Dystopian Future: What does “pure hitter” even mean, and why is the best pure hitter not Mike Trout? Is Mike Trout not the best pure hitter in baseball just because he’s great at everything else?

9:39
Ben Clemens: Ah no, what I mean is, Soto might be the best hitter

9:39
Ben Clemens: He’s not the best position player

9:39
Ben Clemens: Because he is not a great defender

9:39
Ben Clemens: But contributions at the plate only, it’s arguable that he is the best.

9:39
Ben Clemens: For example, in our depth charts projections and such

9:40
Ben Clemens: Trout is *probably* better, but eh, look, I just love Soto.

9:41
Ben Kaspick: I think if you have a good bullpen it’s an easy decision.

9:41
Adam2: Why wouldn’t that be reviewable?

9:41
Ben Clemens: They just have some things they don’t have reviewable, and I think the general reason they ignore things is to not show up umps? I’m not 100% on why to be honest.

9:41
Derek I mean Ben: This game is zipping along (esp. for a playoff game), and Anibal Sanchez has been awesome!

9:42
Ben Clemens: Both pitchers have been great. Sanchez has that batted ball luck going, as does Mikolas, which is key for both of them.

9:42
Ben Clemens: Sanchez also has great stuff tonight, even if he’s not getting all that many strikeouts.

9:43
Dystopian Future: Juan Soto has a wOBA of .394. Trout has a wOBA of .436. Nelson Cruz has a wOBA of .417, if you’re talking about hitters with no other tools that would be this mystical “pure hitter”. I wasn’t saying that Soto isn’t great, I just think that “pure hitter” is a dumb way of describing it is all. It’s another one of those old-timey phrases that doesn’t actually mean anything.

9:43
Ben Clemens: Yeah, that’s fair. What if I said the player who projects to provide the most value while batting? That’s what I meant.

9:44
Matt: Where is my Chinese food? it was supposed to be here 10 minutes ago.

9:44
Ben Clemens:

I didn’t know Kershaw’s game was *this* bad.
11 Oct 2019
9:44
Ben Kaspick: I kind of take “pure hitter” to mean batting average. Like I would never describe a guy like Gallo as a pure hitter, even if he led the league in wOBA.

9:45
KD: So gun to your head you’d place your bet on soto compared to trout to get a hit?

9:46
Ben Clemens: Hm. Get a hit? Get on base? It’s unclear what I should be placing my bet for.

9:46
Ben Kaspick: That’s a batting average question.

9:46
Mad Joe-Don: But is Soto a professional hitter?

9:46
Ben Clemens: NOW WE’RE ANSWERING THE BIG QUESTIONS.

9:47
Ben Kaspick: Professional hitter = hits singles to the opposite field.

9:47
stever20: Which one would you rather have?  Soto or Acuna right now

9:47
Ben Clemens: I love this question, and I’m not sure this year actually taught us much about it.

9:47
Ben Clemens: They’re both so great.

9:48
Ben Clemens: I think I lean Soto but I really don’t know.

9:48
Mo money, Molina: def acuna if you include contracts

9:48
Ben Clemens: Haha yes net of contracts, it’s Acuna and not close.

9:48
Ben Clemens: But if you’re asking me who will end with more WAR.

9:49
Dystopian Future: I feel like the answer to that question has to be Acuna, because he has a greater floor due to speed and defense.

9:49
Ben Clemens: Well, would you take Soto or Byron Buxton?

9:49
Ben Clemens: It’s definitely a matter of degree

9:49
Byron Buxton : Hey now

9:49
Ben Clemens: Hey Byron!

9:50
Matt: I think Dystopian Future’s point was in the context of relatively equal offensive prowess.

9:50
Ben Clemens: Oh for sure. I just think Soto is a lot better at the plate.

9:50
Adam2: Dystopian Future is using pure hitterness against you!

9:50
Ben Clemens: Felled by my own snide comments.

9:51
cat’s paw: Are Soto and guys with profiles like his more likely to age better, as opposed to more athletic players?

9:51
Ben Clemens: I have seen no conclusive research about this.

9:51
Byron Buxton : Should Sanchez be hitting here? I say yes

9:52
Ben Kaspick: It’s a tough question. Again, if you have a good bullpen, it should be an easy call.

9:52
larryv: “So gun to your head you’d place your bet on soto compared to trout to get a hit?” i want to see this scene in some future gangster movie

9:53
Ben Clemens: I’ve written or said “If you put a gun to my head and asked me x, I’d ask you to stop pointing the gun at me because that’s scary” more times than I can count.

9:53
Ryan: So as we have a commercial break here, which managerial position that is currently vacant would you most want to have?

9:53
Ben Clemens: Since when have we needed commercial breaks to talk about nonsense?

9:54
Ben Clemens: Give me the Cubs. They have the highest ceiling next year I think of the vacant spots, going to pay decently, and if you’re good at it you’ll become legendary.

9:54
Ben Kaspick: I voted for San Diego in the MLBTR poll.

9:54
Ben Clemens: I think the long-term prospects of the Cubs are dicey right now but look, you’re going to be a manager, your real best case scenario is just to spike a World Series so you get considered a genius for no real reason.

9:55
Byron Buxton : I think whoever takes the San Diego job is gonna look real good in a year or two

9:55
Ben Clemens: That would be my number two, and was Ben’s number one.

9:55
Ben Clemens: I wonder if you’d just be considered a caretaker

9:55
ben: Does this chat have a don’t-mention-the-no-hitter policy?

9:56
Ben Clemens: Most certainly not.

9:56
Ben Kaspick: Seconded

9:56
Ben Clemens: People were talking about it in the second, I just didn’t punch them into it.

9:56
larryv: you wouldn’t try your hand with the METS???

9:56
Ben Clemens: Nah, haha, one of my best friends is a big Mets fan and my wife likes them quite a bit as well, but ew.

9:56
Rich: how many runs does matt carpenter lose the cardinals on average in a given game over Tommy Edman?

9:57
Ben Clemens: If you’re ignoring Carpenter’s recent tick up in defense (which you should) and trusting UZR/DRS, about .05 runs per game

9:57
Rich: guess youd have to factor in bader as a sub in CF too though

9:58
Matt: Update: Chinese food has still not arrived. 5 minutes until I eat the cat.

9:58
Ben Clemens: Do the chain of Fowler-Bader-etc. and I calculated it at .13 runs roughly

9:58
Ben Clemens: (I researched this earlier today, which is how I can answer so quickly)

9:59
Matt: With 1 minute to spare, the cat got lucky. For now.

9:59
Ben Clemens: My wife just showed up with an Italian sandwich from a nearby deli.

9:59
Ben Clemens: She’s great, in case you’re wondering.

10:00
kevinthecomic : This guy really the best PH the Cards have?

10:01
Ben Clemens: Honestly, he raked in Triple-A this year and probably projects well.

10:01
Ben Clemens: But I wonder is Jose Martinez is hurt.

10:01
Rich: .13 runs in a game, is that comparable to what he adds with the bat with a RHP on the bump?

10:01
Ben Clemens: Haha so you’re just going through my article exactly!

10:01
Ben Clemens: With an RHP, yes! With an LHP, no.

10:01
Dystopian Future: Oh man on the replays, he really Tabata’d that.

10:01
Ben Clemens: That’s what we call leaning in.

10:02
Rich: have not read it yet… my b

10:02
Ben Clemens: Oh I haven’t yet published it!

10:02
Ben Clemens: So you are totally okay.

10:02
Ben Kaspick: Here we go. Sanchez had a 7.15 FIP this year against a lineup the third time, worst in MLB.

10:02
Ben Clemens: Sneak preview for loyal chat readers.

10:03
Sam: Wish more umps were willing to call it a strike when a batter blatantly leans in like that

10:03
Ben Clemens: Well it was a ball. But umps have the leeway to not call it an HBP either.

10:04
Matt: Wow…was he at second before Sanchez even released the ball?

10:04
Ben Clemens: Did you know that Jackie Bradley literally did that this year? Stole second before the pitcher released the ball?

10:04
Dystopian Future: Ah, but Ben, you have failed to account for the fabled “big game experience”. From what I understand every hitter turns into the second coming once they’ve played in at least four postseasons.

10:05
Ben Clemens: Dystopian Future, my literal own father came into the comments of one of my articles recently trying to argue this.

10:06
Derek: Sanchez through 6 (let alone with a no-hitter) must feel like a dream come true for Davey Martinez

10:06
Ben Clemens: Davey must be overjoyed.

10:06
Ben Clemens: This is everything he could have hoped for and more from Sanchez

10:06
kevinthecomic : What happensnif an ump determines you didn’t try to get out of the way of a pitch? Out?

10:06
Ben Clemens: They just leave whatever the call would have been.

10:07
Ben Clemens: So if it’s out of the zone, ball, in the zone strike.

10:07
stever20: Sanchez only at 75.  He get the 7th?

10:07
Ben Kaspick: It would be playing with fire with Goldschmidt due up first

10:08
Adam2: Was your dad trolling you?

10:08
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so. People just believe in clutch

10:09
Nico Robin: would any of their relievers be much better

10:09
Ben Clemens: I’d bring in Rainey, but I don’t think Davey will, and I don’t think it’s all that wrong not to.

10:09
Ben Clemens: The pitch count helps a lot.

10:10
Wire Fan: Has anyone ever tried to separate out third time through the order effects vs loss of effectiveness via pitchcount, or pitches the specific batter sees in the earlier ABs?

10:10
Ben Clemens: So, yes. The Book tried to approximate this, and it was one of the earliest attempts at documenting the TTO penalty.

10:11
Ben Clemens: They found no overall effect from pitch count, but that for individual batters, seeing more pitches in your first at-bat helped.

10:11
Ben Clemens: Actually I think there might be a good Tango blog about this.

10:11
Ben Clemens: One second friends.

10:11
Ben Clemens: MGL, close enough.

10:12
Well-Beered Englishman: Nats radio says Rainey made a couple tosses and sat back down. Quiet pen.

10:13
Zeke : Sanchez has OPS against of .889 this year after 75 p…in 6’s before

10:13
Ben Clemens: So, these effects don’t come close to being reliable in a year of data.

10:14
Ben Clemens: But, he’s been bad third time through his whole career, and also all pitchers are.

10:15
Zeke : Well, I’d argue career splits don’t matter as much as he’s not the same guy at 35 as he was in prime

10:15
Ben Clemens: Yeah, but if that’s the case, then you should just look at the league average.

10:15
Ben Clemens: Which is…. wlel, it’s bad. I’d pull him.

10:16
ben: Speaking of late-inning bullpen decisions, how could Dave Roberts leave Kelly in even *after* the grand slam?

10:17
Ben Clemens: He was booking some offseason travel plans.

10:17
Ben Clemens: And then realized that the game wasn’t *officially* over.

10:17
cat’s paw: Do you feel better about Sanchez for another inning with a bigger lead or does that not come in to play.

10:18
Mo money, Molina: what a crazy bunt attempt by soto

10:18
Ben Kaspick: I think it could come into play. Could allow you to let him keep pitching until he gives up a baserunner.

10:18
Ben Clemens: Juan Soto has now attempted two bunts?

10:19
Adam2: Very pessimistic!

10:19
Brian1: That was the Cardinals 4th IBB this postseason. Is that the right play there when you have teams like the Astros abandoning the intentional pass?

10:19
Ben Clemens: Uh…. basically no, it’s not hte right play? I think they’re often okay in picking their spots, but I didn’t love this one to Rendon.

10:19
Ben Clemens: NL isn’t completely the same, they walk 8th hitters and so on.

10:19
Ben Clemens: But generally, don’t walk people!

10:21
kevinthecomic : Pulled the string

10:21
Ben Clemens: Yeah, and just imagine, Soto had the platoon advantage

10:21
Ben Clemens: Remember, he hits lefties!

10:21
Ben Clemens: In all seriousness, one of Soto’s few weaknesses, and it’s even something he’s already adapting to, is in-zone spin.

10:22
Ben Kaspick: “He hits lefties better!”

10:22
Derek: Ooh snarky Ben

10:22
Ben Clemens: They came halfway to a realization when they said “He just hits everyone well!”

10:22
Ben Kaspick: Never mind the fact that his slugging is 100+ points higher…

10:22
Ben Clemens: It’s just baffling to me, like Juan Soto has big platoon splits!!!

10:22
Ben Kaspick: vs. righties

10:23
Derek: Snarky Bens*

10:23
Ben Clemens: This year, this freaking year, he hit .285/.371/.478 against lefties and .281/.416/.584 against righties

10:23
Ben Clemens: That’s a 39-point gap in wRC+

10:24
Ben Clemens: In Play, Howie Kendrick(s)

10:25
Ben Clemens: Interesting subplot: how many pitches will the announcers label as cutters without bothering to check whether the pitcher throws a cutter?

10:26
Dystopian Future: I think the bad Busch camera angle plays into that quite a bit.

10:26
Ben Clemens: It’s truly the worst.

10:26
Dystopian Future: But Ben, they showed Soto’s hit off of Hader on ESPN. And they showed his homer on Kershaw on ESPN. I’m pretty sure those are the only two hits he’s ever gotten in his career.

10:26
5 Run Homer: “Cutter” is just the miscellaneous pitch bin to announcers

10:26
Ben Clemens: Yeah. They called that one a “short cutter”

10:26
Ben Clemens: Aka, I want to say cutter, but I’ve already used it too much.

10:27
Albert: What happened to the Cardinals bullpen after it was so good during most of the season? It seems like Schildt doesn’t have much trust (not saying it’s misplaced)

10:27
Ben Clemens: So you’re asking the wrong person, because I’m going to tell you it’s small sample size and to ignore it. But uh, it’s small sample size and I think Shildt should ignore it.

10:28
Ben Clemens: In September, the Cardinals bullpen had a 3.38 ERA and 4.18 FIP.

10:29
Ben Clemens: And that was with John Gant walking a wait-are-we-sure-this-is-right 28.6% of the batters he faced.

10:29
Dystopian Future: Sometimes I wonder if this has to do with some soft factors. Like, if someone has a bad back or some blisters, Schildt might be more hesitant to bring him in.

10:30
Ben Clemens: This is a fair reason to worry about things, but that doesn’t really seem to be Shildt’s issue. He’s not staying away from a particular guy, he’s staying away from everyone.

10:30
Ben Clemens: Good god this inning.

10:30
Ben Clemens: Anthony Rendon’s body posture there matches how I feel.

10:30
Ben Clemens: Like, can we just get a move on?

10:30
Ben Kaspick: Looking forward to the three-batter minimum

10:31
Derek: I feel like my “zipping along” comment may have jinxed things… And I apologize to all.

10:31
Ben Clemens: Stupid Derek.

10:31
Ben Kaspick: And I would be in favor of no mound visits.

10:31
Ben Clemens: No mound visits pleaaaaaase.

10:31
Ben Kaspick: It would do wonders IMO

10:31
Ben Clemens: The worst offender on mound visits is still Willson Contreras I think, but Molina is a close second.

10:32
Ben Clemens: The 2015 Cards/Cubs NLDS is about as tired of mound visits as I’ve ever been.

10:32
Matt: Gary Sanchez is up there

10:32
Ben Clemens: Yeah, he’s bad too.

10:34
Derek: Lol at Rendon just taking his lead with his arms crossed

10:34
Ben Clemens: I love Anthony Rendon.

10:34
Albert: As someone who watches Contreras for most of the games he plays, please get rid of mound visits

10:34
Ben Clemens: He and Yadi both like to do the “calm down the pitcher” thing.

10:35
Ben Clemens: I think, though I’m not certain, that Sanchez is more often discussing signs.

10:38
Self: After that long cold inning, is it an even worse idea to send Anibal back out there? Is that a real, observable effect?

10:38
Ben Clemens: I haven’t seen a study, but I’d love to see one.

10:38
Ben Clemens: I do think that the cold doesn’t matter much.

10:38
Ben Clemens: They’ve got heat packs.

10:39
Well-Beered Englishman: Rainey warming for real

10:39
kevinthecomic : Good call, Ben — Rainey is up

10:39
Ben Clemens: Good idea on their part.

10:40
Ben Kaspick: I think they pull him after one baserunner

10:40
Ben Clemens: “We always talk about speed on the basepaths, but never speed on defense.”

10:40
Ben Clemens: Wait, we don’t?

10:40
Ben Kaspick: Will be interesting to see what they do if he walks or hits someone.

10:41
Mo money, Molina: what’s more likely at this point? Nats no-no or cards win?

10:42
Ben Clemens: Hm. If this counts combined no-hitters I’ll take no-no, otherwise Cards win.

10:42
Ben Kaspick: Sounds like a poll question

10:42
Ben Clemens: I don’t particularly think Sanchez is going the distance.

10:42
Ben Kaspick:

More Likely

Nats no-no (41.5% | 37 votes)
 
Cars win (58.4% | 52 votes)
 

Total Votes: 89
10:42
Ben Kaspick: …Cards

10:43
Ben Clemens: So uh, that wasn’t a lean in, I don’t think, but two HBP’s, woof.

10:43
Ben Clemens: I would have Sanchez out here, to be honest, but I just don’t think that’s how Davey manages.

10:43
Ben Clemens: Man on, left-handed power hitter.

10:44
Ben Clemens: Of course, Sanchez got out of it fine, but I wouldn’t have.

10:45
Ben Clemens: I really do love the announcers falling all over themselves to say how no one can hit Sanchez.

10:45
Ben Kaspick: I wonder why he doesn’t just pitch like this every time?

10:45
Ben Clemens: Really reminds me of https://xkcd.com/904/

10:46
Chris: Joined late… Are there numbers on Sanchez specifically the third time through a lineup?

10:47
Ben Clemens: So, basically times through the order numbers show very little stability from year to year and very little long-term skill variability from player to plyae.r

10:47
Ben Clemens: So the best thing to do is probably just to look at the league’s splits.

10:47
Ben Clemens: Good pitchers don’t seem to have less of a penalty than bad, hard throwers don’t seem to suffer less than soft throwers, nothing like that.

10:48
Ben Clemens: But that said, even without particular numbers on Sanchez…. Pitching the third time through is bad.

10:48
Ben Clemens: It costs you a lot of expected value.

10:48
Cubs fan: How many runs do the Nats have to score for you to bring Sanchez back in 8th?

10:48
Ben Kaspick: Considering he’s in the on deck circle, I guess the answer is zero.

10:48
Ben Clemens: Gotta be zero, and honestly, this is bad.

10:49
Ben Clemens: It will probably work, because the Nats are likely to win either way.

10:49
Ben Clemens: But don’ be a freaking hero.

10:49
Ben Kaspick: The two-run lead really does come into play here, because they can just wait until he gives up a hit.

10:49
Philip: I still believe the third time through the order thing is much more fatigue than it is hitters being able to see your pitches

10:49
Ben Clemens: So, check out that article about times through the order I posted above.

10:49
Ben Clemens: They specifically looked into that and high pitch count vs low pitch count didn’t have any difference in aggregate.

10:50
Ben Clemens: It’s not conclusive, because drawing conclusions is hard.

10:50
Ben Clemens: But it’s very suggestive.

10:50
Derek: Is keeping Sanchez in really the worst decision here? Nats have a terrible bullpen with probably their best reliever unavailable today… As long as they’re ready to pull him at the first inkling of trouble, this decision at least seems defensible.

10:50
Ben Clemens: Look, they’re going to do it, and decisions can only be so bad.

10:51
Ben Clemens: But it’s inviting unnecessary trouble. It’s wild, absolutely wild, to think that your best chance to get the next six outs is Anibal Sanchez.

10:51
Nate: As someone with no rooting interests in this game, leaving Sanchez in is the way more fun decision, so I’m all for it!

10:51
Ben Clemens: Oh yeah, it’s a better story by far.

10:52
Ben Clemens: I do love stories.

10:52
Ben Clemens: And Martinez is going to leave him in!

10:52
Ben Clemens: It’s just, by far, not the odds play.

10:52
Ben Clemens: Let me put it this way: when it was all hands on deck, win or go home, in game five against the Dodgers.

10:52
Ben Clemens: Sanchez was on full rest

10:53
Ben Clemens: And they used Tanner Rainey

10:53
Ben Clemens: And Sanchez hadn’t even thrown 80 pitches already!

10:53
Ben Kaspick: I don’t really have a problem with it as long as they don’t leave him in there with traffic. As long as he keeps getting everyone out, why not?

10:53
Ben Clemens: Well yeah it can’t be that bad as long as they actually pull him after he allows a baserunner

10:53
Ben Kaspick: Exactly

10:54
Ben Clemens: The worst pitcher in baseball this year to the best pitcher in baseball this year doesn’t matter *that* much over a single at bat.

10:54
Ben Clemens: But it’s suboptimal, is all I’m saying.

10:54
Adam2: Which they didn’t do last inning

10:55
Ben Clemens: Haha yeah I think you guys are a little over-reliant on Davey pulling him when he lets a baserunner on.

10:55
Ben Kaspick: Yeah, it’s walks and HBPs where things could get tricky for the Nats.

10:55
Cube Jockey: If you’re not going to let him go the full nine to have a shot at the no-no, why send him out for the eighth?

10:56
Ben Clemens: That’s a great questoin.

10:56
Ben Clemens: It does feel like they just want to wait to pull him until he allows a hit.

10:56
Mo money, Molina: probably a good time for cards to try for bunt hits again right?

10:57
Ben Clemens: The real benefit of this is that you might entice the reliever to drill you for violating the unwritten rules.

10:57
Ben Clemens: Bam two baserunners.

10:57
That Guy: HOLY ZIMMERMAN

10:58
Ben Clemens: BUT GUYS NO ONE CAN HIT SANCHEZ

10:58
Ben Clemens: That was insane

10:58
5 Run Homer: There’s that gold glove 3B!

10:58
Ben Clemens: That ball was raked.

10:58
Ben Clemens: Amazing play.

10:59
Dystopian Future: So Jose Martinez is here, and doesn’t seem hurt.

10:59
Ben Clemens: Pretty weird, right?

11:00
Ben Clemens: Arozarena is a good hitter in his own right, and projections love him, but I think it’s optimistic to say he’s better than Martinez.

11:00
Dystopian Future: I think Mike Schildt might just be managing this postseason to troll you, Ben. Ever considered that?

11:00
Ben Clemens: You know, I have two really good Nats fan friends and we keep talking about how well Davey Martinez has managed this postseason.

11:00
Ben Clemens: And the world hasn’t exploded

11:00
Ben Clemens: So anything is possible.

11:01
stever20: that 2nd run was just huge in this game.

11:01
Ben Clemens: Yes, for sure.

11:01
Ben Clemens: Even leads, best leads.

11:02
Ben Clemens: I assume they’d just decline a third run here.

11:02
Ben Clemens: Well, decision time.

11:02
kevinthecomic : Well, that was fun while it lasted

11:02
Ben Clemens: Well, I’m glad on the Nationals’ behalf that that was a hit instead of a walk.

11:02
Ben Clemens: Because I’m not sure they were pulling him if it’s a walk.

11:03
Ben Clemens: But what a marvelous outing by Sanchez.

11:03
Dystopian Future: Davey Martinez did exactly what you said he wasn’t going to do, Ben. Say sorry.

11:03
Ben Clemens: Yep, I think he really should have done it, and so I’m glad he did.

11:03
Byron Buxton : Jose Martinez is the best pure hitter on the Cardinals today

11:04
Ben Clemens: Martinez has been really good these playoffs, and he also did the right thing here eventually.

11:04
Ben Clemens: And I’m with other Ben.

11:04
Ben Clemens: If Martinez was willing to pull him as soon as he allowed a baserunner, then it makes much more sense.

11:05
Ben Clemens: Doolittle in, which seems good.

11:05
Wire Fan: What is the fourth time through the order penalty?   Or is that just a massive survivor bias issue?

11:06
Ben Clemens: Big survivorship bias issue, but if you correct for it (I highly recommend this article again https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/22156/baseball-progues…)

11:06
Ben Clemens: Then it’s there

11:06
Nathan: If you pull your pitcher as soon as he loses his no hitter then you waited too long to pull him.

11:07
Ben Clemens: I mean, I am inclined to agree with you, but I do think that Martinez was at least reasonable about it.

11:07
kevinthecomic : Gotta be a benefit to perceived velocity going from Sanchez to Doolittle

11:07
Ben Clemens: For sure, although Fowler hasn’t faced Sanchez in more than an hour.

11:08
Ben Clemens: That’s a time guess, but that half inning went FOREVER

11:08
Ben Clemens: Doolittle looked good, albeit in a brief appearance.

11:08
cat’s paw: Eyeball test says every time Goldschmidt faces Doolittle he crushes the snot out of the ball, so that’s an at-bat the Nats would like to happen with the bases empty.

11:09
Ben Kaspick: I wonder if we’ll see Doolittle start the 9th against Wong, and Rainey for Goldschmidt if Wong gets on

11:09
Ben Kaspick: Or Rainey either way?

11:09
Ben Clemens: They should just pull Doolittle for Rainey regardless I think.

11:09
Ben Clemens: Don’t let Goldschmidt and Ozuna face a lefty.

11:09
Ben Clemens: Especially given that it doesn’ seem like they think Doolittle is an elite closer anymore.

11:10
Ben Clemens: (His stats this year would also agree)

11:11
Ben Clemens: One of the huge benefits of Sanchez going so deep is that you can get good matchups without having to go deep into the pen.

11:11
Ben Clemens: Might as well take advantage of it.

11:11
Oddball Herrera: There’s no such thing as a bad pitcher, there are just guys with large first time through the order penalties

11:12
Ben Clemens: “Webb gets both lefties and righties out.”

11:12
Ben Clemens: Is an interesting take.

11:13
Ben Clemens: For a guy who, again, is WAY better against lefties than he is against righties.

11:13
Ben Clemens: .316 wOBA against righties, .267 against lefties.

11:14
Ben Clemens: That is, you guessed it, much larger than the major league average platoon split for left-handed pitchers.

11:14
Adam2: “He gets both lefties and righties out, but at different rates”

11:14
Derek: Well, he *does* get righties out… Just not as often!

11:14
Ben Clemens: I just don’t like when they’re intentionally misleading like that.

11:15
Ben Clemens: It’s less true for Webb and Soto than it is for most players in baseball.

11:15
Ben Clemens: If you’re going to say that, why not say it for *every* baseball player.

11:15
Fangraph’s Lurker: I haven’t given up my campaign for robo announcers

11:16
Ben Clemens: It’s funny, there is a pitcher who will pitch in this NLCS who really does have almost no platoon split

11:16
Ben Clemens: (Daniel Hudson)

11:16
Ben Kaspick: Hopefully the Statcast broadcast becomes more of a thing.

11:17
Adam2: OF COURSE he Ks the righty then gives up a hit to the lefty

11:17
Matthew: Soto hits lefties!

11:18
Ben Clemens:

11:19
Yo-Yo: Do you think Rendon has a chance to hit in Busch Stadium 70-80 times next year?

11:19
Ben Clemens: I don’t think so, to be honest. That’s just not a very Cardinals thing to do.

11:19
Ben Clemens: They’re re-signers, not free agent acquirers.

11:20
Derek: This is why certain people have so much trouble embracing sabermetrics… Like, obviously Ben is right about all of this, but there are just so many scenarios like these to cherry pick and use as evidence against “stats”!

11:20
Ben Clemens: Indeed. It’s the curse of availability heuristic. Like, over the course of the season, Soto hit righties something like 18% better than lefties.

11:21
Ben Clemens: But in a single at-bat that’s like, what, an extra few percent chance of some good outcomes?

11:21
Adam2: “Mercurial” is not an adjective you want used to describe your closer

11:21
Ben Clemens: Unless they are using it wrong and mean fast.

11:21
Derek: What. IBB to Kendrick with 2 outs!??

11:21
Ben Kaspick: Yeah—huh??

11:22
Ben Clemens: How bad is this intentional walk? I’d argue not so bad!

11:22
Ben Clemens: If Kendrick scores the Cardinals aren’t winning.

11:23
Ben Kaspick: But Kendrick vs. Zimmerman?

11:23
Ben Kaspick: Is there that much of a difference?

11:23
Ben Clemens: 1-0 vs. 0-0 though.

11:23
Ben Clemens: I mean, I probably would have thrown a few sliders to see if he’d swing.

11:23
Dystopian Future: Seriously though Kendrick is far superior to Zimmerman.

11:23
Ben Clemens: Depending on what you mean by far, I agree.

11:23
Ben Clemens: I think this walk might actually increase the Cardinals’ chances of winning, which is not something I say about many intentional walks.

11:23
Guest: Why not just intentionally walk the bases loaded to get to no-bat Taylor then

11:24
Ben Clemens: Well it had been 0 pitches since a wild pitch.

11:24
Ben Clemens: So that probably doesn’t feel great.

11:24
Cube Jockey: I don’t think you want Martinez throwing chase sliders.  They’ll end up at the backstop.

11:24
Ben Clemens: So, at some point I’ll try to run the math on that IBB

11:24
Ben Clemens: But my guess is it’s excellent.

11:24
Ben Clemens: And by excellent, I mean an IBB that doesn’t lower win expectancy

11:24
Ben Clemens: (that’s about as good as they can get)

11:25
Ben Kaspick: Did not realize quite how good Kendrick has been this year. Goodness.

11:26
Ben Kaspick: So…9th inning lead for the Nats with a two-run lead over the Cardinals in the postseason. Who remembers the last time that happened?

11:26
Ben Clemens: So, by the math, Kendrick needs to project about 14 points of wOBA better than Zim to break even.

11:27
Ben Clemens: He both does project better than that, and was MUCH better than that in the regular season

11:27
Ben Clemens: And that doesn’t account for the 1-0 count.

11:27
Ben Clemens: Good IBB!

11:27
Wire Fan: Are the Nats the tougher match-up for the remaining AL teams?

11:27
Ben Kaspick: Yes

11:28
Ben Clemens: Yeah not close.

11:28
Ben Clemens: The Cardinals kinda suck, as playoff teams go.

11:28
Ben Clemens: Which is to say, they’re still quite good.

11:28
Ben Clemens: Question for the chat, which I won’t put to a poll because it’s the ninth

11:29
Ben Kaspick: Scherzer, Strasburg, Corbin would be tough, even for the Astros or Yankees.

11:29
Ben Clemens: Do you think that it’s worth avoiding Rainey, even if he’s a better matchup on average, because there’s a chance he doesn’t ‘have it’ tonight?

11:29
Ben Clemens: Whereas Doolittle has successfully not looked awful?

11:30
Ben Kaspick: Just like with Sanchez, I don’t hate just sticking with Doolittle as long as he keeps getting people out.

11:30
Dystopian Future: Actually, I think there’s another point in there, which is that Rainey walks far more batters. You don’t want to give any free passes in a two-run game. Give up a homer, oh well. WALK a guy, uh oh. Walk is as good as a homer here, basically.

11:30
Brett: Yes, definitely.  Rainey is a walk machine.

11:30
Derek: I’d say similar situation to Sanchez at the end there… Let Doolittle go until a runner gets on.

11:31
Adam2: Thg power of even run leads!

11:31
Yo-Yo: Nah. There’s no way to know that ahead of time. Gotta go with the numbers.

11:31
Ben Clemens: I’m very interested in this question actually. The idea of ‘having it’ is definitely something my heart believes.

11:31
Ben Kaspick: And it becomes a much different question in a one-run game.

11:32
Alex: I’ve heard announcers say they don’t like the opener or bullpening games cause that means more opportunities for pitchers to not “have it”

11:32
Ben Clemens: Yeah so I really honestly don’t know if this is a thing.

11:32
Ben Clemens: And I want to know.

11:32
Ben Clemens: Like, would you do better to play nine guys with .300 wOBA allowed projections

11:33
Ben Clemens: or one guy for 6 who allows a .300 wOBA and then three guys for three with the same

11:33
Ben Clemens: That’s the ballgame folks.

11:33
Ben Clemens: As it turns out, the even run lead didn’t matter in the end, but Anibal Sanchez’s mastery did.

11:33
HappyfunBall: The idea that using too many releivers will result in one of them being a dud is just the gambler’s fallacy

11:34
Ben Clemens: So it could be!

11:34
Ben Clemens: But it could also be real!

11:34
Mo money, Molina: Thanks for chatting, Bens

11:34
Ben Clemens: Great talking with you guys.

11:34
Ben Kaspick: That was fun. Thank you all for chatting with us.

11:34
Ben Clemens: My anger at the announcers hopefully didn’t detract too much from the game.

11:34
Adam2: Are there chats tomorrow?

11:34
Ben Clemens: There is an ALCS chat.

11:35
Ben Clemens: We won’t be covering the NLCS again until the if necessaries, I believe.

11:35
Dystopian Future: You seemed very angry at Anibal Sanchez all game Ben (C).

11:35
Ben Clemens: Haha nothing against him.

11:35
Dystopian Future: Or not at him, but at the idea of him.

11:35
Ben Clemens: Yeah, I don’t like the ‘suddenly unhittable’ narrative

11:35
Ben Clemens: I think he’s maybe the best fourth starter in baseball.

11:36
Ben Clemens: Alright, I think we’re going to call it here. Have a great night everyone, and enjoy Dan and crew for the ALCS tomorrow.

11:37
Dystopian Future: Thanks for chatting Ben & Ben!

We hoped you liked reading Cardinals vs. Nationals NLCS Game 1 Chat by Meg Rowley!

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Meg is the managing editor of FanGraphs, the host of FanGraphs Audio, and the co-co-host of Effectively Wild. Her work has previously appeared at Baseball Prospectus, Lookout Landing, and Just A Bit Outside.

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