August 26, 2006

Game 130: Reds 1, Giants 4

The Reds, startled and terrified to suddenly find themselves flying atop the NLC yesterday, dropped the magic feather. They continued to freak out and keep closed the enormous ears that were keeping them from plummeting to the ground today with a 1-4 loss to the Giants.

Bronson Arroyo got his second failed attempt at win number 11. In the game wrap on, Mark Sheldon says “Wasted was a decent effort by Arroyo (10-9), who pitched six-plus innings and allowed four earned runs and eight hits. He walked four, one intentionally, and struck out six.” I think perhaps we are stretching the definition of “decent” a touch here. Perhaps “not impossible to overcome if the offense is popping” or “non-2005-Milton-esque” would be more in order.

Some people who don't understand probability think that incidences balance each other out, like if you happen to get heads 50 times in a row, that you'll get tails 50 times in a row later to make up for it. Actually, if you get heads 50 times in a row, that aberration will be swamped by the more-or-less equal heads and tails you get for the rest of the infinity flips. Arroyo flipped nine wins real quick in the season; it might be useful for someone to explain to him that he doesn't have to rattle off an equal number of losses to make up for them.

Not that it was all Arroyo's doing. The offense utterly failed to come through plus the defensive miscues and base-running mistakes. No one had more than one hit, and only David Ross had any RBI with his solo shot in the sixth inning. Edwin Encarnación and Ken Griffey, Jr. each had an official error with other questionable plays that weren't tagged with Es. Ryan Freel was caught stealing. Clearly, nothing was going the Reds' way.

Including the fact that the Cardinals won their second game in a row against the Cubs to put the Reds back two games. They still lead the wild card, but just barely, with half a game over San Diego.

The loss brings the Reds' record to 67-63. They try for a split of the four-game series with the Giants tomorrow when Kyle Lohse goes against Matt Cain.

5 comments to “Game 130: Reds 1, Giants 4”

  1. smartelf says:

    According to Marty Dunn should have definitely caught th eball in left center which was followed by Griff’s errant throw… and according to Marty the throw wasn’t an error if Phillips hadn’t tried to make a play before it went to Encarnaction… According to Marty the official scorers in SF are terrible… nonetheless it was bad defense for the Reds. Let’s hope Lohse can continue to deliver.

  2. KC2HMZ says:

    > Actually, if you get heads 50 times in a row, that aberration will be
    > swamped by the more-or-less equal heads and tails you get for the
    > rest of the infinity flips.

    Actually, if you get heads 50 times in a row, you still have the same odds of getting either heads or tails on flip number 51 as you had on the first fifty flips, and will have the same odds on the next fifty flips as well. 😉

    Baseball is considerably more complicated due to the greater number of factors contributing to the decision of win/loss/no decision. Which is one reason why statistical analysis does a much better job of explaining why what happened on the field yesterday, or the day before, or last year, occurred than it does of predicting what will happen on the field today, tomorrow, or the next day.

    The inherent difficulty in trying to use linear equations to predict the results of a non-linear game aside, though, this clearly was a game that just didn’t go the Reds’ way. Arroyo’s performance wasn’t among his masterpieces, but the 3-4-5 hitters in the Reds’ lineup combined for 11 LOBs, and Dunn left three RISP with two out. Add to that the real homer allowed to Hillenbrand by Arroyo and the Little league homer allowed to Winn by the Reds’ so-called defense, and it goes in the L column.

    Sloppy play like that will not get the Reds into the playoffs, so I hope they got it out of their systems now.

  3. Red Hot Mama says:

    Honey, don’t imply that I don’t understand probability. What you said in no way contradicts what I said, so there’s no need to set it up like you’re showing me up.

    My point is that Arroyo may have, deep down in his subconcious, the idea that he needs to suck for a while to make up for his hot start. All I’m saying is that someone ought to tell him that he won’t offend the universe if he goes back to being good.

  4. KC2HMZ says:

    Sorry…it was not my intention to try to show you up, RHM, and I apologize if it gave that impression. It also wouldn’t have made much sense to try and contradict what you said, since you’re correct – getting heads fifty times in a row has no effect on the results of flip #51.

    I did understand what you meant and merely wanted to expand on that by pointing out (as you did) that Arroyo wasn’t the sole culprit responsible for the loss of that game. It was truly a team effort.

    Unfortunately they didn’t get it out of their systems as I’d hoped, they fared even worse tonight, and the normally-decent-defensively Ryan Freel had the error du jour tonight. 🙁

  5. Red Hot Mama says:

    Certainly the human factor plays a chaotic role. People are more than the sum of their stats.

    Here’s a tangential probability story for you: when I flew into Mexico in 1998 there was a device in place to randomly select some 10% of people coming into the country to have their luggage searched. There were two gates through this device and as we stood in line, the left gate went off and some unlucky traveller had to open up their bags.

    I was in the right-hand line and was confused when a bunch of the people moved from my line into the other one. Finally I overheard someone say that since the left-hand side had just gone off, it was less likely to go off again next. I thought this was about as goofy as an idea could be, but I was just thankful that there were now fewer people in front of me in line.

    Fast-forward two years. I told this story to a respected programmer at my first job out of college. His response was a condescending, “if you think about it, that makes sense.” I just stood there, staring agape.

    Incidentally, I was only at that job for five months.