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The 42 Decisive Games of 2008


Pedro

The last two losses had me thinking about the old baseball axiom that says "the best teams will lose at least 60 games and the worst teams will win at least 60 games, so you play the season to decide the other 40 games."

 

Now, I realize there's no way to really break this down, but it made good bar discussion last night as we tried to identify if the Brewers have played any of those "40" games yet that will decide how the season goes. This breezy, off-the-cuff analysis was based on the very scientific and studied criteria of either a) doubtful we're gonna win that game, b) we should win that one, or c) that's a close game that could go either way and is one of the decisive 40. It was basically just looking at the starters, the events during the game (injuries, etc) and the final result.

 

Again, I know baseball doesn't work this way, that you're going to win some you think you'll lose and vice versa...so we just focused on the ones we thought were toss-ups...but, hey it was fun. We spent the better part of 6 minutes on this analysis:

 

Game 1 - Sheets @ Zambrano - this just seemed like it was gonna be a loss

Game 2 - Suppan @ Lilly - toss-up game in our minds

Game 3 - Bush @ Dempster - thought we would beat Dempster

Game 4 - Sanchez @ Villaneuva - should be a win, it's the Giants

Game 5 - Correia @ Parra - ditto

Game 6 - Zito @ Sheets - ditto

Game 7 - Cueto @ Suppan - toss-up game, knowing Cueto was tough, but only 2nd start

Game 8 - Fogg @ Bush - thought we would beat Fogg

Game 9 - Harang @ Villanueva - didn't think we'd beat Harang

 

So we thought in our two "decisive" games we were 2-0! Yay! And now I feel better about dropping the last two to the Reds.

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To properly figure this out, I think you would need a lot of time and a lot of beer. I don't think its enough to go through the games that we have played and decide whether you think we should have won or not. I think you would need to go through the whole season and decide on each game. For example, you have Cueto v. Suppon as a decisive game, but if you had made the decision prior to the season starting, you may have decided that you thought we had a better chance to win this game than 40 other "toss up" games.

 

In hindsight, however, I would agree with your analysis and would enjoy having a discussion about every game of the season at a bar - though I might not be able to drive by the time we got to deciding on the final Cubs series.

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The problem with trying to figure this stuff out ahead of time is that you never know early on when your #5 starter is going to wind up starting against the other guy's #1. We've already had that in our game 5 because the Astros didn't have a day off the first week and we did. So what happened? Even though Marquis didn't get the win, we beat Oswalt that day. Somtimes you just don't know!

 

And your comment above "Game 3 - Bush @ Dempster - thought we would beat Dempster" - now that Dempster has had 2 outstanding starts, would that still be your opinion? Again - sometimes you just don't know.

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In hindsight, however, I would agree with your analysis and would enjoy having a discussion about every game of the season at a bar - though I might not be able to drive by the time we got to deciding on the final Cubs series.

This is definitely an undertaking best parceled out in small segments, needs to be hashed out in a bar, and cannot be performed by those who it take it too seriously.

 

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The problem with trying to figure this stuff out ahead of time is that you never know early on when your #5 starter is going to wind up starting against the other guy's #1. We've already had that in our game 5 because the Astros didn't have a day off the first week and we did. So what happened? Even though Marquis didn't get the win, we beat Oswalt that day. Somtimes you just don't know!

 

And your comment above "Game 3 - Bush @ Dempster - thought we would beat Dempster" - now that Dempster has had 2 outstanding starts, would that still be your opinion? Again - sometimes you just don't know.

I'm the first to admit, I never know. The whole point -- if there even is one -- was to just capture our thoughts about the outcome entering each individual game, not looking ahead to speculate. Even with bourbon in us, we were able to remember how we felt going in to each game back to last Monday. And yes, I thought we'd beat Dempster. Next time, given the circumstances of the season to that point, maybe not.

Here's an example of this highly-sophisticated methodology in action: "Tonight I think the Brewers will beat Nelson Figueroa because, well, it's Nelson Figueroa. Not a 'decisive' game."

 

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Another reason that this is a fun difference of opinion discussion (and that is what it is) is that you guys are thinking about the 2005 and earlier Ryan Dempster and the 2006 Dave Bush while I was thinking about the 2007 Dave Bush (vs the Cubs) and the 2008 Spring Training Ryan Dempster.
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So you're arguing that Ryan Dempster facing largely AAA competition is a good way to analyze? Hey, Shawn Estes had a good start here in Portland his first time out, the Padres need to call him up!
Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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CB1126, agreed, this is just meant to be a fun, simple discussion trying to nail down those elusive and pesky "decisive" games. I'm sure I wasn't giving a lot of thought to each of those selections as much as giving a first-gut reaction (and no, I don't know what the hell a "first-gut reaction" is, but I typed it and it's staying). And my first-gut said Brewers beat Dempster, Bush be damned.
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Dude -- I think this needs to be taken to the next level.

 

I think weekly -- games should be qualified as "decisive" or not -- and then look into the coming week as which games are "decisive" and then of course target the "must sweep series" for each month.

 

That would be epic.

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I think trying to ID the 40 games in the middle of that aphorism is taking the matter a bit too literally. The win 60 / lose 60 mindset is meant to stop analyists and fans from trying to call an April game a "must win."
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I love this analogy of the 60-60-42.

 

I try in my own mind to kind of not think who is going to win ahead of time but during the game, kind of take a look at it and decide what kind of game it is. I feel that at any time you have a given favorable pitching matchup you should win, but goofy things can happen and it obviously doesn't turn out that way. (I.E.- Sheets pitching against a AA callup from Birmingham- Sheets should win, but I let the game play out before categorizing it)

 

I think the opening game against the Cubs certainly qualifies as one of those "42" games in that the game could go either way. It swung in the Brewers favor.

 

So continuing:

Game 1- One of the "42" Brewers 1-0 in these important games

Game 2- One of the Brewers 60 wins (smashing Lilly to an easy 8-2 win)

Game 3- Bush blows, wasn't effective walking a bazillion- one of the 60 losses

Game 4- Opening Day- an easy one of the 60 wins.

Game 5- Closer nip and tuck game, Kevin Corriea battles Parra well, Gagne saves it-inferior competition- tough call -but 60 win category

Game 6- Easy 7-0 Shutout- one of 60 wins

Game 7- Cueto is nasty, Hall homers to put us ahead, blown in the ninth, won in the tenth - this is one of the "42" Brewers 2-0

Game 8- Reds smash Bush and Bullpen, sloppy game (Hart and Braun defense)- one of the 60 losses despite Fogg pitching

Game 9- Great game until late when a dominant Villy gives up 4 runs in an instant- this I am afraid is one of the "42" Brewers 2-1

 

To recap- They are 2-1 in my eyes in the "Other 42".

 

I just take the game as it is going and try to determine how it is going at the time to base a decision on which category to place it in. This sometimes keeps me from jumping off the bridge with every 8-4 loss or something like that. You jump off the bridge if the Brewers lose the opening game to the Cubs, and other games like that.

 

The games that have you jumping for joy with your heart racing generally end up in the "42" category. The games that make you want to ralph because of that burning pain in your gut generally fall into that "42" category. A 13-4 pasting game that is a win, just means the Crew is awesome as expected and everything is right with the world.

 

The main thing is though as you stated Pedro, is that having a beer is must when you sit and figure this out.

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Dude -- I think this needs to be taken to the next level.

 

I think weekly -- games should be qualified as "decisive" or not -- and then look into the coming week as which games are "decisive" and then of course target the "must sweep series" for each month.

 

That would be epic.

I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part. -- Otter, Animal House

FTJ, I think I might just be up to the task. I have the schedule, I have the beer, I have the time, and I have not nearly enough baseball smarts to make this happen.
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I have the schedule, I have the beer, I have the time, and I have not nearly enough baseball smarts to make this happen.

Clearly at least one poster's overall quality can be improved by adding this as a sig.

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part. -- Otter, Animal House

 

Classically put.

 

FTJ, I think I might just be up to the task. I have the schedule, I have the beer, I have the time, and I have not nearly enough baseball smarts to make this happen.

 

I tend to get a tad opinionated when I drink, however my ability to confuse what actually did happen with what would have been awesome to happen, skyrockets. Let me know if I can contribute to the cause.

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TooLiveBrew - I was actually arguing the exact opposite of what Pedro was thinking - That we would beat Bush - no matter who we had pitching.

Which says something about both Bush and Dempster (I'd add a Smiley Face if Firefox Beta 3 was working).

 

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Pedro wrote:

I have not nearly enough baseball smarts to make this happen.

I think in this case that would be more of a benefit than a hindrance. http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/smile.gif

Fan is short for fanatic.

I blame Wang.

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One objective measure you might use to help this along is the betting line.. gives you a rough idea of who bettors think should win the game. Maybe like -120 and below are should-win games, +120 and up are should-lose games, and the in-between are the 42...
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