Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More Bert Blyleven abuse

Taken from comments on ESPN.com

1. The '77 Rangers won 94 games and gave Bert 4.9 runs/game, well above league average, above the Rangers' average, and more than the Rangers other three starters - Gaylord Perry, Doyle Alexander and Dock Ellis. And Bert puts up a great ERA+ of 151, best on the staff. Man, that sounds like a 20 win seasons, easy!

But Bert goes 14-12. Doyle Alexander takes his 4.5 runs/game - .4 less than Bert - and manages a 17-11 record. Gaylord Perry gets miserable offensive support - 3.8 r/g, more than a FULL RUN less than Bert - and posts a 15-12 record. Dock Ellis gets 4.6 r/g but posts a nifty 10-6 record in only 22 starts.

I can hear the Bert Backers now: "that's just one season, it was an anomaly!" Unfortunately for Bert, it wasn't.

Bert goes to the Pirates in '78, who proceed to win 88 games en route to a 2nd place finish in the NL East. The Pirates give Bert 4.2 r/g, which was pretty good: the league ave. was 4.0 and the Pirates average of 4.2 was fourth in the league. But Bert goes 14-10, a .583 winning percentage. The other three starting pitchers in the Pirates rotation - Candelaria, Robinson and Rooker - get about 4.25 r/g, virtually the same as Bert, and post a cumulative record of 35-28 for a .556 winning percentage. Bert won 41% of his starts while the other three won 39% of their starts.

Another anomaly? Mere coincidence that Bert again can't outperform lesser pitchers?


"Rob, what's so difficult to figure out about Murray Chass's argument? If, as Bert Backers argue, Bert would have been better if he'd played on better teams, isn't it relevant what he actually did for good teams?

Bert played eight seasons for teams that either won 90 or more games or were serious contenders for division titles. In those 8 seasons he averaged 12.5 wins per season. He played for a world champion Pirates team in '79 that gave him above average run support and he won 12 games in 37 starts. The Pirates led the NL East going into September in 1980 but Bert won only one of his last 7 starts, going 1-5 with a 4.38 ERA. The defending champion Twins were only six back of the A's in mid-August 1988, but Bert went 1-6 down the stretch and the Twins dropped out of contention.

All in all, Bert compiled a .546 winning percentage in those years for teams that had an aggregate .562 winning percentage.

That's 8 seasons, Rob, nearly 40% of Bert's career. Not only was he not a Hall of Famer, he wasn't even average for those teams.

Don't tell me what Bert would have done had those Twins teams of the '70s been better. Bert had his chance with the Pirates, the '80s Twins teams, the '77 Rangers - and he came up short."

Thanks Tymeg for providing details I couldn't be bothered searching for.

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