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Friday, January 05, 2007


Special Guest Post!

New York FJM Correspondent America's Sweetheart files this report in re: the Randy Johnson trade (the whole thing, I believe, is non-verbatim, which we normally do not do, but for America's Sweetheart, we at FJM make an exception).

America's Sweetheart writes...

I just love listening to people talk about ND losing in football. So much so that I clicked on a link to the Michael Kay show to hear Mike Golic talk about it. Then I heard Kay talk about the Randy Johnson deal and the callers who phoned in to disagree with him.

Opening comments....

Randy Johnson won 17 games last year in the toughest division in baseball....

People say he didn't win in the playoffs. Neither did Mike Mussina and we signed him to a two-year extension.

He's well worth they money he has on his contract....16 million.

He won 17 games...please don't forget that.

(now a caller)


Chris - You keep saying that it's important that Randy Johnson won 17 games, but equally as important is, he had a five ERA.

Kay - Why does that matter? Only thing that matters is the W.

Chris - The win is the function of the team. But the ERA is more indicative of how he pitched.

Kay - How come Mike Mussina didn't win 17 Games?

(he won 15 games)

Chris - This isn't about Mike Mussina.

(thank you, Chris)

Chris - How many pitchers in the AL would win 17 games if they pitched behind the Yankees. With that run support?

(At this point there is a very long beat. Kay must be taking into account that of qualified ERA leaders, Johnson was 34th out of 39. Perhaps he will go with 20 or 25 as an answer?)

Kay - But...but...It doesn't matt...I again I tell you I understand what you're saying that it's a function of a team but I also say it's a function to a...You're a Yankee fan right? They scored eight runs he gave up six...they won, so what....he's a veteran pitcher that knows how to pitch to the score so his ERA is going to be higher. It doesn't matter. All that matter is if he wins and loses.

Chris - Any pitcher who gives up six runs a game under your scenario would win 17 games.

Kay - Pitchers pitch to the runs they are given. Good pitchers do that.

Chris - That's not true. Pitchers are going out there to give up the fewest runs possible.

Kay - No. If the Yankees score 8 runs in five innings he's not going for the shutout!

(A luxury pitchers on bad teams don't really have, but that's their fault)

Chris - What about the year Jason Marquis won 15 games and had a 6.21 ERA. Are you impressed with that?

Kay - No, not in the national league.

(but why not?)

Chris - What if he did it in the American League?

(nice one, Chris)

Kay - Yeah. I would [be impressed].

(Chris, please don't let him off the hook!)

Chris - So you would take someone like that over Kevin Millwood in '04 who went 9-13 in and won the ERA title with Cleveland.

(I love you Chris from West Nyack)

Kay - I'm gonna tell you why, and you are bringing up good points so I am not going to say that you are 100% wrong here. I believe by watching baseball my whole life and being involved with it for 25 years is that there is nothing harder to do in sports than to win a game by a pitcher.

(Nothing harder, save for the fact that in every major league game that has ever been played it has happened exactly one time)

Kay - That's why the era of the 300 win pitcher is going.


Kay - It's not easy to win games. And there is an art to it. So if the art is to win 17 games and have a 5.00 ERA I don't care.

(don't forget the league leading 7.51 run support. That's like forgetting the paint brush)

Kay - All these Sabermatricians get locked up with all of these stats and I don't. You know what stat I care about?


Kay - Did he win the game?

(that's the question you care about. the stat you care about is wins.)

Kay - Would you rather have a guy really lose a good game. "Wow, he pitched well -- we only lost 2-1!" I always said this about those pitchers, "Oh, the Yankees only scored one, then you have to give up zero." In twenty years you're going to look back on Mike Mussina in game 2 against the Tigers...had a 3-1 lead and we lost 4-3....That's not that bad...yeah it is bad! He gave up runs he shouldn't have given up!

(note: don't start a sentence "would you rather..." if you are only going to bring up one choice. it ruins the game)

(also, am I allowed to remember the next game when Randy Johnson gave up five runs? Note: The Yankees had not scored eight runs in the first inning. They hadn't scored at all. Perhaps Johnson was confused because he was used to 7.51 runs a game)

Kay - I don't care that his ERA was 5. It was good enough to win 17 games. Mike Mussina didn't win 17 games.

(he won 15. and his ERA was 1.5 lower.)

(Kay at this point rambles on to Chris about how the AL is hard. Not so hard that 33 players can't have higher ERAs than 5.00 hard, but hard nonetheless. I think he's hung up on Chris because Chris stops talking. Kay does end with this....)

Kay - You are wrong in that sense....dead wrong.

(Chris = best dude ever. not close.)

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posted by Unknown  # 10:54 PM

"Great guests, great commentary, and insight like no other. That's the best way to describe The 'Michael Kay Show.'"

Always good to hear from America's Sweetheart -- but is he too cool to use his own account?
Reader PJ fires this shot across the simian brow of Michael Kay:

"Randy Johnson won 17 games last year in the toughest division in baseball"

Johnson started 13 games agains AL East opponents.
His record was 6-4, and his ERA was a whopping 7.40.

TOR: 2 starts, 1-1 record, 8.1 IP, 14.05 ERA
BALT: 4 starts, 2-0 record, 27.1 IP, 4.61 ERA
BOS: 4 starts, 2-1 record, 21.1 IP, 7.25 ERA
TB: 3 starts, 1-2 record, 16 IP, 9.00 ERA

...and Richard pretty much finishes him off with this:

Michael Kay must not have been paying close attention when Johnson was pitching. This is how he pitched in 2006, split by plus/minus score at the start of the inning.

+5 or more (Yankees leading by 5+) -- 21 IP, 7 R, 6 ER, 2.57 ERA
+4 -- 12.1 IP, 10 R, 10 ER, 7.30 ERA
+3 -- 11.0 IP, 11 R, 11 ER, 9.00 ERA
+2 -- 25.1 IP, 15 R, 9 ER, 3.20 ERA but 6 unearned runs
+1 -- 28.0 IP, 21 R, 21 ER, 6.75 ERA
tie -- 59.2 IP, 36 R, 35 ER, 5.28 ERA
-1 -- 19.1 IP, 15 R, 12 ER, 5.59 ERA
-2 -- 20.1 IP, 7 R, 7 ER, 3.10 ERA
-3 or more -- 8.0 IP, 3 R, 3 ER, 3.38 ERA

Johnson actually pitched worse when the game was close. By my count, he gave up a lead 18 times during the season. I don't know what's typical, but 18 seems like a lot if you're making Kay's argument. He started 60 innings with the score tied and gave up at least a run 20 times -- about average, if I remember correctly -- but a total of 36 runs, 1 unearned. He started 28 innings with a one-run lead and gave up the lead 11 times.

There's an art to coming off the mound and saying, "Uh, guys, I need some more runs."

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