Continuing the Roy vs Ben discussion from yesterday:
My mother the stat geek and I watched the ball game last night not just to root for the Astros, but to see which pitcher, Roy-O or Ben Sheets was “better.” We had us a little bet on – we’d see which pitcher was better and whoever lost had to say to the winner “you were right and I was wrong” and boy, how both of us HATE to say that to each other, especially her because she almost always wins.
It was a great game, a close pitchers duel. Both started out sharp. In the top of the second, Roy gave up a HR to Jenkins. Then a single. Then a walk. Now in the past, this is just where Roy gets into trouble, because if he doesn’t get strikeouts, he usually gives up runs because he can’t rely on the defense.
But this time, with runners on 1st and 2nd, he gets a ground ball DP which Lamb fields well (for once) and fires to Bagwell, which leaves Branyan at second with 2 outs. So Roy just needs one K, right? Well, does he feel a little more comfortable or does he think lightnin don’t strike twice? Anyhow, Ginter hits a clean single to right which, believe it or not, Berkman not only fields well, but THROWS BRANYAN OUT AT HOME!!!! Yes, you read it right. Good fielding when Roy pitches. Twice in a row. Roy must think he’s dreaming because I sure do.
In the next inning, Ginter takes a fastball to left center which looks out, but actually hits the yellow line and is a double and not a HR. Holy Good Luck, Batman. Three times is the charm, or should I say, three strikes and they’re out.
Over the next 4 innings, Roy scatters 4 singles (2 to Sheets) one double and a walk. In fact, he only has 5 strikeouts, a low total for him for 7 innings. (Maybe he felt he didn’t HAVE to get them?) So Roy pitches 7 innings, gives up 1 ER on Jenkins’ HR, 8 hits, 2 BB and 5 K.
Lidge pitches the 8th and 9th for a 2 out save. In fact, in the top of the 9th, Brad is saved by his fielders. Yes. It is true. I disbelieve my own memory and check the scorecard. Magruder singles. Then Counsel grounds into a FC, Magruder to second. Kieschnick strikes out. Podsednik hits a clean single to RF and Berkman fields it cleanly, fires to Bagwell the cutoff man, who throws it home to Ausmus and he and Lamb get Magruder in a rundown. I have to write this again because I’m having a hard time believing this myself. Berkman fields 2 balls well and has 2 assists that end innings. Our fielders bail out Brad and Roy today. So I don’t want to hear how pitching is independent of defense.
As to Ben Sheets – he pitched an 8 inning complete game, gave up 3 hits (2 singles and 1 run scoring double) and 1 HR. He gave up NO walks and had 9K.
The Stros win the game. The problem is that Mama wins the bet because no doubt about it, Ben Sheets had a better game score. Even though he lost. I find myself arguing with my mother the stat geek saying what’s the difference what the score is, Roy won. And we won. She says, with a straight face, it doesn’t make any difference who wins or loses, look at the numbers, which don’t lie, Ben Sheets pitched a better game.
Suddenly I feel like poor Joe Morgan chatting with the BPro type guys, who believe that he’s totally a moron for saying that wins are more important than any other stat. And I know that once more I’ve failed my stat geek entrance exam. And I know exactly WHY all the players think that wins matter the most. Because it doesn’t really matter in the end if your pitcher sucks bigtime and as long as he and the fielders suck less than the other team, even if their pitcher is “better” because WINNING is what matters most.