Cubs Pirates Matchup

Today the Cubs start a series with the Pirates, the last series before All Star break.  Last season the Cubs slumped badly before ASG and started  winning again afterwards which continued into the playoffs and World Series.  Let’s take a look at what the betting market thinks of today’s game (noon snapshot).

DATE 07_07 2:20_PM Jul_7_11:54 PIT CHN
LINEAWAY PIT [ 0.389 ] < 0.412 >
STARTAWAY -0.65(0.459) Trevor_Williams_PIT
LINEHOME CHN [ 0.625 ] < 0.605 >
STARTHOME 0.21(0.520) Eddie_Butler_CHN

Once again Eddie Butler starts off a series.  We covered Butler’s career numbers here.  He has had a rough career but played very well in AAA before the Cubs brought him up.   Both starting pitchers today are average but the Cubs are getting a big premium at 0.605 over standard home field advantage of 0.540.  Let’s look at PIT team status.

BAT PITCH Rs Ra W L UR LR TeamID
-43.5 5.2 359 392 40 46 0.7 3.6 PIT

Terrible BAT, slightly above average PITCH and they’re 6 games under.  The Cubs would also be 6 games under without their +6 relief staff.  The Ouija Board must be looking at lineup differential.  Let’s look at lineups. We have a current lineup for the Cubs but not PIT so for  that  we’ll use the one from yesterday which will be close enough.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 07062017
-2.02 Josh_Harrison_PIT 2B 343
0.92 Jose_Osuna_PIT LF 136
1.53 Andrew_McCutchen_PIT CF 335
0.25 Josh_Bell_PIT 1B 315
-0.67 David_Freese_PIT 3B 242
-1.74 Gregory_Polanco_PIT RF 264
0.29 Elias_Diaz_PIT C 81
-0.38 Max_Moroff_PIT SS 45
-0.53 Chad_Kuhl_PIT P 21
TOTAL WAA=-2.33 PA=1782 WinPct=0.475

As expected the Pirates’ lineup is under water.  They have one standout hitter in McCutchen who is about Rizzo’s value now and their leadoff hitter isn’t very good.   These two are still outliers where WAR has Harrison ranked #51 and McCutchen unranked with a WAR=0.9.  Harrison is getting a Darwin Barney halo and not sure what it is about McCutchen causing him to still be in the WAR dog house.  We currently have McCutchen in the top 100 ranked #91.  Whatever.

WAA Name_TeamID Pos PA 07072017
-1.05 Ben_Zobrist_CHN 2B 230
0.36 Kris_Bryant_CHN 3B 350
1.62 Anthony_Rizzo_CHN 1B 375
1.01 Ian_Happ_CHN CF 190
-0.44 Kyle_Schwarber_CHN LF 265
0.02 Jason_Heyward_CHN RF 225
-0.10 Victor_Caratini_CHN C 8
0.04 Addison_Russell_CHN SS 275
-0.42 Eddie_Butler_CHN P 17
TOTAL WAA=1.03 PA=1935 WinPct=0.510

Maddon is shuffling the lineup again trying to get some spark out of them.  Cubs lineup almost completely average like their team record.

Zobrist is having an off year so far but he can bounce back from this.   We showed how Starlin Castro added +2 to his WAA in the month of September 2015.  Past results do not affect future results.  All these measures reflect the past.  Just because you toss a coin and it comes up tails 7 out 10 throws it does not mean the next throw favors either tails or heads depending on which predictive stat one uses to see into the future.

TeamID WAA IP WinPct
PIT 2.56 262.25 0.544
CHN 6.0 est 295 est 0.59

The Pirates have a good relief squad so knocking out their starter today won’t bring CHN  easy runs. Cubs’ relief still top tier as they have been all season. I have to manually adjust this due to Montgomery’s value being made starter. Normally at this point in the season we’ll switch to rosters so all Montgomery’s relief value would go off the relief squad’s books. If a starter becomes a reliever all his value goes onto their books. Pitching value doesn’t care about a pitcher’s role when adding to or tanking that value. If Clayton Kershaw joined the Dodger’s relief squad, which he did in the final inning of the NLDS in a live game situation, the relief squad gets all that talent. Parsing rosters will be important when doing these matchups for the second half of the season.

If we want to give a trophy to the team with the best relief squad in MLB then we’d have to separate out pitcher relief value and pitcher starter value.  The only trophy this model cares about is the one with all the flags that the MLB commissioner hands out after the final pitch in the final playoff game.  We only care about raw PITCH and BAT value for game analysis.

State of the Cubs next Wednesday after ASG.   Maybe we’ll do the Smokies in between and also take a mini ASG vacation.  Until then….