I refuse to do further research into this topic
at least until we have a larger sample to work with
I read the Times blog entry about the “startling” difference between Bedard’s Johjima and Burke starts, which uses some bad stats and… anyway, ends
Now, that note should also include the caveat that the starts with Johjima were earlier in the season. Bedard is known to start seasons slowly and he was also having trouble with his hip earlier. Still, the disparity is pretty striking.
Okay, so given W-L, ERA, K, and BB, but no innings pitched or other relevant information, we should apparently assume Johjima sucks. So I started writing a post where I sliced Bedard’s starts in increasingly thin slices, starting with
Let’s make some equally random comparisons
Wilkerson in RF: 6.1 BB/9 IP, 7.1 K/9 IP, 1.5 HR/9 IP
Wlad in RF: 2.7 BB/9 IP, 8.6 K/9 IP, 1.5 HR/9 IP
Now of course, Wilkerson was in right field early in the season, when Bedard was injured and whatnot… but it’s hard not to believe that Wlad helps Wilkerson walk fewer batters and strike out more.
And getting around to some hysterics about how who plays first base determines the outcome of Bedard’s starts. It was kind of silly, your standard reductio ad absurdum kind of thing.
The problem with doing any of this right now is that Bedard’s May 12th, 2-inning disaster start was caught by Johjima, and Bedard struck out 2, walked four, and gave up two home runs there. Any rate-based comparison makes Johjima look absurdly bad, while I don’t think there’s any way we can blame Johjima for that start (64 pitches thrown, 31 strikes).
If you tag him for that, Burke looks like a catching master in comparison. If you don’t, you’re kind of excusing that performance. The thing is, you simply can’t make any kind of reasonable decision on this season’s relative catching performances based on this small of a sample size.
And to come back around — in this context, where Burke’s starting over Johjima so this would seem to be intended as some kind of explanation of why Burke is “fast becoming” Bedard’s personal catcher, and particularly since Washburn offered his catcher up for sacrifice only days before, the right thing to do here is either make this a story — go get a quote from McLaren as to why, note that Burke starts more often on Saturdays, and so on — or don’t offer a little more information (relative games, innings pitched, and so on) to make it possibly meaningful and leave it at that.