Many people struggle with patience, and not just in life, but gambling. We want what we want and we want it now. In baseball, it can be dangerous to be impatient. When we’re betting the NFL, most of us wait until and hour or so before the game to see the “inactive” list, and yet we won’t wait in baseball. And in baseball, the lineups are typically out at least several hours before the first pitch.
If we tie it back to football, we often ask how many points a particular player is worth. Unless it’s the quarterback, usually not enough to move the line. However, if Bryce Harper is sitting it will move the Nationals line as much as .30-.40 and it should. Harper would be 12.5% of the lineup, assuming the pitcher is essentially and out in the NL without a DH. Remember that this isn’t the same game as years ago when Lou Gehrig played 2156 straight games. People rest now. Except perhaps Cal Ripken.
In fact, there were only three players to play in every game in 2016. And of catchers, who are essentially the quarterbacks, only about half of them played in 100 games. That is a key position for a couple of reasons. Usually teams have one catcher that’s a better hitter than the other, and almost always one is far better at throwing out base runners. The latter is magnified when they’ve got someone on the mound who doesn’t keep runners close, and that was something I was able to use a lost when Jon Lester had David Ross catch every game.
Lester obviously felt comfortable with Ross, but because of Lester’s inability to hold runners close coupled with Ross’ inability to throw runners out, teams ran on him at will. In almost a similar amount of innings caught, teams stole almost twice as many bases off of Ross/Lester than they did Varitek/Lester. So, when the Cubs played running teams that could get on base against Lester we almost always took them, if for no other reason than the fact that the Cubs are usually over valued to begin with.
So, with Varitek, it was the complete opposite and we would often look at the “under” as well. It doesn’t take too many runners getting thrown out to ruin a rally. And it doesn’t take much for that one run to make a difference in the end.
The point is that if you’ve done the work and you know these nuances, wait for the lineup. A team like the Cardinals when LaRussa was managing were notorious for resting everyone on short notice, not unlike what Popovich does with the Spurs during the regular season. And of course we wait for that, so let’s wait for lineups. That’s magnified even more in day games following night games, so do your homework and take nothing for granted and you’ll be in a position to win more. That’s of course after you’ve shopped for the best number, which we addressed a bit yesterday and will again. That you can take for granted!