Thursday, June 26, 2014

Below Average Pitcher Dominates Historically Terrible Team

Nice Stache, Better Day
That'd be Tim Lincecum, who took his +4.5 ERA and +1.4 WHIP into a game with the pathetic Padres, and nine nearly perfect innings later, left with a 6-5 record, a 4.42 ERA, a 1.34 WHIP, and his second career no-hitter, both in the last calendar year, both against the Padres.

Now, I don't doubt that Lincecum had his best stuff today. The game was at home, where he's a 3-2 guy with a 3.75 ERA this year. He kept his pitch count low, unlike last year's wipeout masterpiece. And in the ninth inning, with history on the line, he was still hitting 90 on the gun, which is about as good as he can do now that he's 30, and several years past when he was, well, good. He threw 113 pitches today, 73 for strikes, and was just a second inning walk away from perfection.

But, um, does it surprise anyone that it was the Padres?

Here's how bad San Diego is at offense. Their leadoff hitter, Will Venable, is hitting .197, with an OPS of under .540. Three starters join him under .600 (#2 hitter Everth Cabrera, and #7 hitter Alexi Amarista). This, of course, doesn't take into consideration the pitcher, Ian Kennedy, who is sub .400. Two starters (platoon journeyman OF Seth Smith and second-year first baseman Tommy Medica, who is 26 and alas, also nothing like a prospect) manage to get over .700 OPS. The entire club has scored 238 runs this year in 78 games, which is to say, just over 3 per game. The aggregate team OPS is .616; the next worse mark in MLB is the Cubs, at .668. If you are in a fantasy league where a Padre hitter is owned, you have a guy who is eating categories for Cabrera's 13 steals at shortstop, and that's about it, assuming you aren't in an absurdly deep league that prides itself on pain. Or maybe one that doesn't allow transactions, which means some poor schmuck is still suffering through those Chase Headley, Cameron Maybin, Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso ABs.

How bad are they? They've been shut out a dozen times already this year. There is no reason, other than the entropy that the long baseball season attracts to give every team dead cat bounce competence, to think that this team will be anything but a club that you stream against all year in daily leagues.

No-hitting any team, at any level, is an accomplishment. It also requires more than a little bit of luck. since any weak contact could just fall in somewhere. But if I had the opportunity to place a prop bet on whether or not the Padres would get blanked again this year... especially in a day game after a night game, at home, in a pitcher's park? I'm making the bet.

And then I'm looking for my odds at it happening twice.

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