As the name implies, this season had two halves. 1st 82 games 41-41. Final 80 regular season games 55-25. Then 8-2 in the playoffs.
Why so different?
What can create such disparity? A lineup change? A trade? Luck?
Did those three aspects converge and create the perfect storm?
Let’s look at the raw offensive data.
SPLITS 1st Half - 82 g 2nd Half – 80 g
Helms .296 .381 .559 .314 .363 .599
Johnson .241 .368 .435 .301 .420 .575
Beltran .232 .349 .500 .264 .372 .568
Hawpe .202 .289 .408 .296 .387 .603
Rollins .259 .323 .495 .241 .316 .440
Pudge .262 .272 .349 .213 .235 .358
Rios .274 .297 .419 .245 .282 .473
Duncan .246 .297 .540 .305 .354 .644
Thames .228 .296 .404 .244 .288 .522
Izturis .242 .311 .349 .219 .288 .355
Teahen .176 .243 .376 .275 .352 .532
Runs 393 474
Ultimately, I scored 393 runs in first 82 games (4.8 runs per game) then scored 474 in the final 80 (5.9 runs per game). I allowed 397 during the first 82 and allowed 362 during the final 80.
General Lineup after game 82 was
Burke 2B/OF – mainly PR
Teahen 3B – A lot of replacement time for Helms
One reason this worked was that my DP’s were almost completely eliminated.
I moved Rollins to the 2 spot, Helms to 3, Beltran to 4, a combination of Thames, Saenz and Duncan at 5, Hawpe 6, Rios 7
Johnson ran out of steals so I switched him and Beltran. Something that I did in the WS as well. No glitch noted in the offense.
Games 1-82 it was a jumbled mess.
11Z Williams/12ZArroyo (combined 15-10 4.49)
13Y Verlander 12-16 5.50
12X L Young 8-8 5.32
11Y Robertson 15-3 4.23
9X L Myers 3-6 5.07
22XYg KRod/27XYg Reyes (combined 4-5 2.41 18 sv 10 bs 15 holds)
15YZh Wickman 4-5 3.17 20 sv 6 bs
14XZZh Duchscherer 12-5 3.94
11Zh Looper 9-1 2.48
12g Bauer 4-3 4.14
11Xg Heilman 5-3 3.02
13g Sanchez 4-0 2.41 5 starts
Some guys to note:
I was disappointed by his first half of the season. I was so put off by him mid season I sat him 7 of 8 games during a series with Matt (games 83-90). He tore it up from that point on. He had on base streaks of 28, 2, 26 & 27 games to finish the season. If your lead off man is on during 83 of 86 games you will have offensive success. He then did not get on base during game one in the semi finals vs Steve while getting on the remainder of that series and all four games vs Matt.
28 RBI during the 1st half’s 176 PA’s. He had 56 RBI’s during his final 225 PA’s. This is not a stat but his RBI per PA’s was among the league’s best RBIperPA.htm His stats were reduced due to injuries, the threat of injuries & limited PA’s available. He played 3B, 1B, LF & RF. He added to my coveted flexibility. I removed him quite frequently for Teahen or Burke during the second half of the season.
The SS in the draft had the appearance to be deep. There were quite a few well-rounded guys that could provide 15-20 HR power and 30-50 SB mixed in with 15+ speed. And as an alternative, guys like Young and Tejada had some offensive value as well as playing every day. The guy I wanted was Guillen. With Jeter and Guillen taken by mid way through the 3rd round and with Rollins available in the 6th I thought it would work fine. Mainly, because any time you can find a 9 SS that can provide you with everything you want it can only be a positive. Well as it turns out, he was probably my team MVP. I was 41-41 prior to moving him to the 2 spot. I don’t know if he was the difference maker but it made a difference to the team when I put him there.
Selected in round 19.
8-8 5.32 doesn’t look all that impressive. Getting a decent amount of innings (176) and the .500 winning percentage likely made all the difference for the season. If anything, he helped me choose when I brought in relievers instead of the other way around. Wickman and Duchscherer were relatively low inning guys – they couldn’t be subjected to 2 or 3 games early in a series. I finished 3rd in SP innings behind Graham and Keith – the four playoff teams finished within the top 6. 3rd in SP runs allowed per 9. Again behind Graham and Keith.
Games missed due to injuries:
Helms (3 inj. 17 games. + 12 gamer final game of WS)
Johnson (2 inj. 2 games)
Beltran (2 inj. 16 games)
Robertson (2 inj. 16 games)
DeJesus (2 inj. 22 games)
Bradley (2 inj. 37 games)
Saenz (2 inj. 24 games)
German (2 inj. 23 games)
Hawpe (1 inj. 3 games)
Wickman (2 inj. 12 games)
Burke (1 inj. 11 games)
C Young (1 inj. 12 games)
I went into the playoffs with a plan. I had to wait to find out who I played due the drama between Steve and Bob and their outstanding finish.
- Game one – sit all the J2’s (Beltran, Rios, Helms & Pudge).
- I had to plan around my 2B situation. Theriot games one and five. Burke game two. Izturis games 3 4 6 7.
- I had to plan out my J3’s between Saenz, Thames & Duncan
- I planned to not start Robertson and pitch Myers, trying to get right on right matchups vs Steve’s heavily laded right handed hitting team
Steve and I played an extremely tight high scoring 6 game semi finals with the deciding factor his overused pen and forcing him to use Maddux. Who would have thought it would all come down to the injury rating and relief inning usage?
Game one was all Steve and Jake Peavy while Verlander was lit up like a Christmas tree. A big game for Eric Byrnes hitting a three run shot and tripling while knocking in 5.
I rebounded in game when Duncan hit a three run HR off Reyes. Nick Johnson followed up with a two run shot the next inning and I won 6-3.
Game three I won 12-6 while knocking Arroyo out of the box and getting a run off Mariano Rivera – to later have Olmedo Saenz break the game wide open with a bases loaded double.
Steve came back in game four with a few homers and few triples and won 7-3. His pen held me in check this game.
Game 5 was a rematch of Peavy and Verlander. This time I was able to score early when Olmedo Saenz had a bases loaded double in the first. Steve cut the lead to 3-2 when Dye hit a two run shot off Verlander in the 4th. But I was able to get two back in the bottom half to extend the lead to 5-2. Steve had first and third and no outs in the 6th – I brought in K Rod and he got out of the inning only allowing one run to cross the plate. Steve’s pen couldn’t hold and I won the game 8-3
Game 6 was a nail biter. Steve’s pen was looking thin. I was able to get to Lowe early and he was forced to go to Reyes and Mariano early. I was still up late but Wickman could not hold down a late rally and Steve grabbed a 5-4 lead after 8. With two outs in the top of the 9th, Rollins doubled in a run to tie it up. Then in the top of the 10th Saul Rivera was forced out with two outs and Maddux came in. Hawpe singled and Rios homered. In the bottom half Bonds hit a two out solo shot but Wickman managed to get the final out and I held on 7-6 in 10.
It really helped that I was able to get runs off Lowe and Arroyo – it forced Steve to his pen and burning through games and innings that were needed later in the series. Unfortunately for Steve his final 1/3 of an inning was pitched by 6Z Greg Maddux.
Plan vs Matt.
A similar plan to the series vs Steve plan other than Robertson getting the call during game one. I still sat my J2’s during game one and played matchups with my J3’s – Matt had two top tier lefty starters and I wanted Saenz in those games with Duncan getting the starts vs righties Hensley game one and Blanton game four.
Matt and I played the World Series with most watching. 3 one run games.
Both of us had difficulty with base runners during game one. Napoli threw out two base stealers to make the difference and my pen held on 2-1.
Matt scored 3 in the top of the first during game two but I came back with 5 in the bottom half led by Olmedo Saenz grand slam and held on to win 6-3
In game three, Saenz had a bases loaded double in the first to put me up for good and I won it 4-3
Game four went extra innings but Helms getting hurt while hit by a pitch put Teahen on. He stole second and scored on a Duncan single. A two out hit by Miguel Olivo was all Matt could muster and we won our 3rd Spit Cup.
278 Runs in innings 7+ (led the league, 8th all time)
13 game winning streak (set the SL record)
40 Ground into DP’s (fewest in the league, 3rd lowest all time)
867 runs (led the league, 11th best all time)
400 doubles (led the league, 6th best all time)
50 triples (tied for 2nd in the league and tied for 2nd all time)
693 team XBH (led the league, 5th best all time)
Carlos Beltran Gold Glove, Silver Slugger. Tied for 9th MVP. 8th in SLG (.535). 6th Total Average (1.005). 8th in Runs (107). 25 for 25 steals.
Nick Johnson 5th in MVP. 3rd in OBP (.397). 5th in Runs created (119.9). 8th in Total Average (.995). 7th in Runs (110). 3rd in 2B (59). 4th in BB (98).
Jimmy Rollins 8th in 3B (9). 4th in SB (49 – 56)
Brad Hawpe 9th in 3B (8).
Bob Wickman tied for 2nd in Saves (20)
Nate Robertson tied for 3rd in CY Young .833 win pct (tied for 1st) 6th in ERA (4.23)
Where does this team rank all time?
Tough call. It must have been good as I won 96 games and was 8-2 in the playoffs.
I like my 2002 team better. Fewer flaws.
This team’s final construction included an endless array of quality hitters. I could plug in an extremely nice replacement in the event someone was injured or was forced to sit. It was positional flexible with Helms, Theriot, Izturis, Burke, Duncan, Saenz and I Rod all able to play multiple positions. A fun combination that worked out.