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Open Thread: Cubs vs. Diamondbacks, Saturday 7/30

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Interesting matchup -- two pitchers who have a total of 60 major league innings between them, and one career win (Gosling got one in 2004).

The Cubs faced Gosling in the last Mesa spring training game this year and got four extra-base hits off him, though that resulted in only one run. This is the sort of guy that the Cubs ought to eat alive.

Out-of-left-field prediction: Matt Murton hits his first major league home run off Gosling today.

Today's Starting Pitchers
Rich Hill
R. Hill
Cubs
vs. Mike Gosling
M. Gosling
Diamondbacks
0-0 W-L 0-2
4.22 ERA 4.13
14 SO 10
5 BB 14
1 HR 1

One final note that shows you how statistics can be abused by those who do not understand them: a big deal was made by the MSM about the Cubs, after yesterday, being 3-42 in games in which they trailed entering the ninth inning.

This is, in fact, actually a very GOOD record for such games. Back in the 1980's, Bill James noted in his Baseball Abstracts, records for teams when they were ahead, tied, or behind after the seventh inning. This isn't exactly the same, but it'll give you a good idea of what sort of stat this is.

Examples, just taking the teams with the best records in baseball from 1982-1985:

1982: Brewers, 95-67, 5-46 trailing after 7.
1983: White Sox, 99-63, 8-46 trailing after 7.
1984: Tigers, 104-58, 10-48 trailing after 7.
1985: Cardinals, 101-61, 7-53 trailing after 7.
The stat quoted about the Cubs, essentially, gives their record when trailing after eight innings. Extrapolating this for the whole season, we might expect the Cubs to win two, perhaps three more games in the 9th inning. This would make their record in such games not so much different than those championship teams, and don't forget, the records noted above are for trailing after seven innings, not eight. The records for trailing after eight would likely be worse.

This is yet another example of how statistics can be and are misused because sportswriters do not understand what they mean.

Discuss amongst yourselves.