Me in the PI on Hargrove usage patterns

DMZ · January 26, 2005 at 11:31 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

My latest bit’s now up, on Hargrove and his use of starting pitchers.

Helpfully, in a previous thread a random passer-by offered places you can write if you want these columns to keep going, or if you’d like to see this stuff in print.


31 Responses to “Me in the PI on Hargrove usage patterns”

  1. John in L.A. on January 27th, 2005 12:45 am


    I don’t know who made the call to bring you on, but they deserve praise.

    Newspaper sports reporting has been pretty bad since the golden age, the Ring Lardners, like that. Not to say that none of the writers couldn’t do better… but it hasn’t been encouraged. The concept seems to be – lowest common denominator. Puff pieces, unimaginative game recaps and mild gossip, muted criticism because people re afraid of losing their contacts with the team, etc.

    So good on whoever brought you in to provide more thought-provoking articles. And good on you, of course, for providing them.

  2. Dave on January 27th, 2005 6:17 am

    This is Derek’s best piece at the PI to date. Just great stuff, and great to see a column like this getting major placement where the local masses can take a look-see.

  3. jm on January 27th, 2005 6:28 am

    great article

  4. msb on January 27th, 2005 6:59 am

    and for contrast, check out Finnigan’s return to the Times, with a piece on a possible trade for Cameron that has nothing of actual fact in it, other than Cameron still plays for the Mets…

  5. Firova on January 27th, 2005 7:31 am

    One conundrum with the pitch count is it does not discriminate between good pitches or bad and does not take the game situation into account. I wonder whether Hargrove’s Cleveland starters tended to go longer because the “mashers” had staked them to comfortable leads so often. I would suggest that you make it clear to readers that you suggest not pushing the pitch count no matter the game situation to really make your case clear. Most casual fans would think that a pitcher can go longer when he has greater margin for error on the scoreboard, which is illogical given the physical toll you describe. The risk for the manager, of course, is that the bullpen will be ineffective and blow the lead.

  6. Brock on January 27th, 2005 8:01 am

    Is Mike Hardgrove an “Old School” manager? One who still longs for the days of the four man rotation where gritty pitchers threw a minimum of a 100 pitches (instead of 80 today)? I really know nothing of Hardgrove so it would be nice to know from someone who has watched him consistently his tendencies.

    Plus, I think that the fact that Bryan Price was the only coach not let go with BoMel is a pretty big indication that the M’s have put all of their trust into him to manage the pitcher. Therefore I think that BP has just as much if not more say than Hardgrove in major pitching decisions, and overall pitcher usage philosphy woud be one of those.

    It is interesting though to look at guys like Randy Johnson and other throwback pitcher, guys who can consistently throw 120+ pitches evey five days (with great velocity too). Does anyone know of a good resource as to why some pitcher have rubber arms, or what it is physically that gives a pitcher a rubber arm like that?

  7. Lonnie on January 27th, 2005 8:05 am

    Nice piece Derek, it is easily your best work yet. I believe you are zeroing in on a tone that will appeal to a much wider audience.


  8. tino on January 27th, 2005 8:16 am


    Love the article in general, but it seems like the statistics you pulled are a little arbitrary. I assume the statistics were slightly less damning if you used the standard PAP windows of 121-130 and 131-140, so you used 122-132 and 133+. I think this weakens your argument more than if you were to just use the final PAP and try to explain why from there.

    Not a big deal, just a little pet peeve of mine — “the M’s have won 13 out of 19” type stuff. It’s arbitrary, and it also implies that they lost 20 games ago, and likely either 21 or 22 games ago as well. As for your stuff, I’m wondering if Price threw a lot of guys out there for 121 pitches that would have messed up the argument.

  9. Tim on January 27th, 2005 9:10 am

    DMZ, what kind of feedback are you getting from readers outside the USS Mariner world? Nice piece, I hope others are enjoying it like the rest of us.

  10. DMZ on January 27th, 2005 9:19 am

    Love the article in general, but it seems like the statistics you pulled are a little arbitrary. I assume the statistics were slightly less damning if you used the standard PAP windows of 121-130 and 131-140, so you used 122-132 and 133+. I think this weakens your argument more than if you were to just use the final PAP and try to explain why from there.

    I don’t know if you missed the last set of revisions to PAP, but the off-10 windows are how they calculate the category of starts now. You can go look it up in the BP stats glossary if you’re skeptical. I have neither the time nor the inclination to do something like count up the pitch counts for all team starts by myself and then find arbitrary start and end points.

  11. tino on January 27th, 2005 9:33 am

    I did miss it — Sorry, I was working off of a 2002 article I guess.

  12. Jonah Keri on January 27th, 2005 9:52 am

    Great piece, DMZ. First reference to Ponson is spelled with a “Y”, though. If only you had editors who looked out for the little things.

  13. DMZ on January 27th, 2005 9:53 am

    what kind of feedback are you getting from readers outside the USS Mariner world?

    Uhhhh… two kinds:
    This is awesome.
    “How can you say the steal isn’t worth doing if you can’t be succesful 2/3rds of the time?” and so forth — arguments for conventional wisdom, sometimes a little offended in tone

  14. Ben on January 27th, 2005 9:54 am

    did you see that your article is linked on the front page of the pi website again? also, instead of the goofy ‘off the wall’ logo with the pitcher dude and the red text, you’ve got a big headshot of hargrove to go with it ๐Ÿ™‚

    thanks for all of your work. i look forward to more articles

  15. Ben on January 27th, 2005 9:58 am

    my mistake, the logo with ICHIRO!, black text and red ‘NEW!’ text. And its not really goofy, i just kind of laughed the first time i saw it on the front page because it seemed out of place, but i knew it was for your article.

  16. Aaron on January 27th, 2005 10:04 am

    “I have to agree with Leo Durocher, … when he said, “You don’t save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it might rain.””

    “In general, keeping pitchers in that late is robbing tomorrow for today.”

    It’s reasonably clear, in context, that you’re talking about relievers in the first statement and starters in the second, but be prepared for some of those “conventional wisdom” replies in your inbox who look for any perceived crack in the dam to flood you with hate mail. ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Andy on January 27th, 2005 10:16 am

    Great piece, Derek. How would you compare him with Melvin last year then? In terms of overworking the pitchers?

  18. Evan on January 27th, 2005 10:24 am

    #16 – Both statement advocate lifting pitchers from the game. There’s not even an apparent conflict.

  19. Todd on January 27th, 2005 10:43 am

    Derek, is reporting: “The Mariners may be close to making a proposal, if they haven’t already, to the Mets in an attempt to acquire Mike Cameron in a trade, according to the Seattle Times.”

    Have you heard any new relating to this?

    Bring back Camy!!

  20. Frank Jordan on January 27th, 2005 10:48 am

    I loved the article, but you’re missing one important point. You give Bryan Price all the credit for the use/misuse of the Mariners pitching staffs, but give Mike Hargrove all the credit for the use/misuse of the pitching staffs in Baltimore and Cleveland. Could it be possible that the high pitch counts in Baltimore and Cleveland were based on the recommendation of the pitching coaches there and not a reflection of Mike Hargrove’s style?

  21. msb on January 27th, 2005 11:20 am

    #19– see #4

  22. Aaron on January 27th, 2005 12:14 pm

    #18, Yes, the meaning behind the message is similar, but the phrasing is a little awkward. “Don’t worry about tomorrow, win today,” and “Don’t sacrifice tomorrow for today.”

  23. Adam S on January 27th, 2005 12:20 pm

    The question remains is there any substance behind the Cameron rumor. Quite frankly I can’t see why the Mariners would bring him back, or more specifically a trade scenario that makes sense. Winn or Ibanez for Cameron puts us right where we are — 3 OF, two positions — and with higher payroll. Even if we get them to take Spiezio so the payroll is a wash, we basically force Reed to the bench; and I don’t know why the Mets would make that trade. I like Cammy, but he’s of near zero to negative value given his contract.

    Steering back to the topic. I liked this one of Derek’s pieces best. It’s less radical — i.e., it doesn’t dismiss conventional wisdom for recent facts — and thus is more likely to be well received. And I think getting received is the key to long term success and actually being able to reach people. (That and having a guy like Mat Olkin on the inside.) All of his pieces are better than the non-content and inaccuracies BF is writing at the Times this offseason.

  24. eponymous coward on January 27th, 2005 12:22 pm

    Uh, this would make sense if the Mets still had a hole at 1B and Raul Ibanez could show up there, I guess.

    But why, if you had Floyd, Cameron, Beltran and a shiny new 1B, do you want Ibanez?

    That being said…if they want to take Spiezio and Ibanez off our hands…hey, I guess.

    Still leaves Bucky with no lineup spot…

  25. Jim Thomsen on January 27th, 2005 12:32 pm


    Wonderful piece, wonderfully researched.

    No other mainstream writer would ever attempt this. Even the “good” local writers, like Hickey, LaRue, Stone and (maybe) Andriessen, would rather trust anecdotes from contemporaries to tell the story รขโ‚ฌโ€ wrongly assuming that’s all their lowest-common-denominator readers (dwindling each day, according to Audit Bureau of Circulation figures) can handle. They’d rather find out what “name” people think, rather than doing some Ph.D-level research into not only the deepr statistics but what they contextually mean. And only objective knowledge has true value.

    I had to read it three times to get everything out of it that I needed to understand what Derek was putting across. This could be key knowledge at a critical juncture in the 2005 season. Let’s all make a mental note of when pitcher injuries strike in the next season รขโ‚ฌโ€ and resolve to check back on what led up to them.

    As I do every week, I let the P-I sports editors know that Derek’s work is appreciated. I hope you do the same:

    Ron Matthews, sports editor:
    Nick Rousso, ass’t sports editor:
    Steve Rudman, ass’t sports editor,

  26. Paul Covert on January 27th, 2005 12:35 pm

    Wow, even ESPN’s Mariners team page links to Derek. Congratulations! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. IgnatiusReilly on January 27th, 2005 12:42 pm

    Could? Might? Uncertain? Validity? Might again?

    And if that isn’t enough to calculate the author pulled this article out of their rump: Bob Finnigan.

  28. Evan on January 27th, 2005 1:58 pm

    ESPN linked to last week’s piece, too.

    I expect Derek’s being discovered by many, many new readers.

  29. Chris Begley on January 27th, 2005 4:22 pm

    I agree this is the best piece Derek has written – tighter than the rest. My hats off to him, for going from a blog (where you get to write whatever you want in as rambling a format as you want) to a column that has to be fairly clean and concise is quite a jump in style, and I think this column is so far the best at making that jump. Another two or three of these, and the PI will have no choice!

  30. philly on January 27th, 2005 6:44 pm

    As a Red Sox fan I thought your analysis of the 1999 ALDS was horrible and led to a completely wrong conclusion. Beleive me, no Sox fan ever thinks of the Rincon decision in Game 3 at all. I have no recollection of it being a major source of controversy at the time either. But since you focused on that mildly controversial decision in Game 3, you trotted out the Durocher quote and came to the conclusion that HArgrove contributed to series loss by not going for the jugular.

    That couldn’t be further from the truth. The real controversial decision that HArgrove made that series was to bring back Colon (and then Nagy) on 3 days rest despite being up 2-1 to a merely decent team that was possibly without Pedro Martinez. Despite the fact that Colon had never pitched on 3 days rest and the overall data on pitchers on 3 days rest in the playoffs is awful, Hargrove either pancicked or agreesively went for the kill (depending on your POV).

    Both Colon and Nagy got absolutely crushed on 3 days rest and the Sox managed to comeback nad win the series. Hargrove was roasted – justifiably imo – for his decision at the time and the minor transgression with Rincon was quickly forgotten.

    I don’t think that really changes your overall analysis any, but that segment was terrible.

  31. John in L.A. on January 28th, 2005 11:38 pm

    No one else is saying it, so I will.

    philly… The fact that Hargrove made other “bad” decisions in that series in no way invalidates Derek’s point about the error he WAS talking about.

    In fact, you could argue that those other decisions you speak wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t lost that game.

    Either way nothing you said makes the analysis even incorrect, let alone “horrible” or “terrible”. (Which, and maybe I’m alone here, is a pretty rude way to discuss the work of someone who is sharing it with you, particularly in their house, if you will. Anonymity of the internet or not.)

    The article was about over-using starters. The point he made was valid and supported.