The Return of the Blan 5/13/2017

Welcome back throngs of viewers- we are about to begin the much awaited Joe Blanton vs. Phillies liveblog!
Due to technical difficulties of us now having to pay "Blyve", which I can only assume is the name Burt Blyven chose when I bought our old liveblogging platform we cannot actually do a "live blog".
So instead enjoy this "snive snog"!
Blanton enters, No. 56 from the bullpen. We wipes his brow 5 times and removes his cap. Apparently all he throws now is a slider- he must have purchased our TBI approved burger making kit which describes exactly how to roll your patties up into balls and spin them from 66 feet away onto the grill.
He inherits a mess left behind by 120 pitches in 5 innings "Roark". Two runners on, including the pitcher Nick Pizza. The situation is essentially hopeless as our slugger  TOJO steps up the plate. TOJO has been mashing for a .240 average this year with >1 HR.
Blanton stares in with a scowl that would make Ty Cobb tremble.
TOJO lines a hit into left! Pizza scores! It's a Papaslam!!!! The Phillies extend their lead over the hapless Nationals to 4.
Blanton goes back the well and hurls a few good sliders past Micah Owings to retire the side, lowering his ERA to a sharp 9.49 for the season.

Ringtracker 2016

Welcome back, loyal readers of Blangraphs! We were concerned that constant posting was getting out of hand, so we waited a few days to make another update to this blog.

As we all know, Joe Blanton was instrumental to the regular season Royals' success in 2015, securing a playoff spot for them before moving on to the NL playoff-contending Pirates. When the Royals won the Series, Blanton was crowned champion again and received another ring.

This year, he joins fellow Phillies Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz in an epic battle to defeat rogue Phillie Jayson Werth. Blanton will also attempt to gain his third ring and enter rarefied Elf-territory. We have updated his progress in our new official Ringtracker2016:

Blangraphs Posteason Exclusive Brought to you By Blanduel™

We Blangraphs editors have to admit something, and it might come as a surprise: we don't write for this blog full time. Over the past few years, we have spent the hours between posts here as educators and scientists, furthering knowledge and helping people.

Finally, we can leave that dead-end gig behind and win our living on Blanduel, the convenient alternative to those annoying, time consuming daily fantasy games!

We are going to get to coverage of the MLB postseason in a second, but we need to tell you more about Blanduel first. You won't regret reading a single word.

Besting our buddies in fantasy sports was always close to our hearts. We reveled in weekends of reaping cash harvests from daily fantasy games. But all the picking and clicking became tiring and overwhelming. The weekend-long commitment started to feel less like a freewheeling rush, and more like a dull chore. If only we could be unchained from this monotony that we used to call fun.

Along came Blanduel.

If the big weekend fantasy sites were a jolt of epinephrine, then Blanduel is a 200,000 volts of an electrical plasma made of pure excitement. Instead of doing all the tedious work of picking the best players and filling out a "roster" (what are we, stats nerds?), you just pick a Blanduel Certified Genius™ who can make all the picks for you. Then you join one of our game lobbies and get ready to win!

Instead of waiting days to find out whether you have won, new games start every few minutes and some are over in seconds. We use our skill to predict everything from pitch location to the number of times a batter will tap his bat. And needless to say, winners are crowned constantly.

News outlets are raving about Blanduel™!!! Come deposit your  and make your own "blatant cash grab" (Wall Street Journal), and have so much fun that "[i]t's just really, really unfair." (Consumer Reports).


1) SEND BLANDUEL YOUR MONEY (unmarked, non-sequential bills should be sent to Blanduelin an ordinary white envelope addressed "Dear Grandma") 

2) EXPERTS PICK WINNERS FOR YOU (No need to do all the annoying picks yourself. Don't worry, you'll still have bragging rights over your bros when you win!) 


... Anyway, we have been spending a lot of our time on that fun activity lately. But I think we made our point.

On to our postseason coverage!

Obviously, the big story from yesterday is Chase Utley. All of the major media sites, the twitter galaxy, and folks at just about every bus stop in the country were debating and deliberating over the same question: is he a good pick for Blanduel™ Postseason Platinum™? This may be controversial, or "old school", but we say yes. Utley is a sneaky play for some Blantasy Points™ that can give you the edge over your friends.

Another hot topic is the Chicago Cubs. Jake Arrieta has been absolutely unreal, as his Blanduel™ owners know, and his leadership might be just enough to get the Cubbies past the Official Blanduel™ Goat Curse. Maybe there's magic in the Blanduel™ Get Some Green™ Ivy in Wrigley Field!

 And a special thank you to all of our international viewers!
 Baseball Lovers And New Dabblers Unite Every Land!

Fellowship of the 2008 Ring

By our count, there are 11 players left in the big leagues who won a World Series ring with the Phillies in 2008.

Jayson Werth's chances for a second ring were destroyed by Papelbon and Matt Williams.

Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard remained on the Phillies, teaching Odubel and Franco how to play, generously giving other teams the chance to win, and saving valuable finger space for ring pops.

Shane Victorino nearly made it to the postseason, but the Angels lost to Hamels on the last game of the season. Afterwards, he told reporters "fly, you fools!" before disappearing from sight.

As everyone knows, Kyle Kendrick won the opening-day starter job for the Colorado Rockies. He pitched a great game on opening day and also ended the season with a dominant win. So he's doing great.

For six others, the race for another championship, seven years later, is on!

You Can Call Him King B

Best Single-Season K/BB Ratios for Selected Pitchers

Dan Haren, 2009: 5.87
Peek-A-Boo Veach, 1884: 6.20

Walter Johnson, 1913: 6.39

Cy Young, 1905: 7.00

Roy Halladay, 2010: 7.30

Clayton Kershaw, 2014: 7.71

Carlos Silva, 2005: 7.89  

Joe Blanton, 2015: 8.00 (15th all time)

 After his second win of the season, Blanton is seeing his bandwagon grow crowded. Newspapers everywhere, from the Kansas City Star, to the Topeka Capital Journal, to NBC Sports, are picking up on Joe's historic victory over Félix Hernández. JB "outdueled" and "outshined" the Cy Young winning Hernández, according to reports.

 Astonishingly, after only two spot starts and a few scattered relief appearances, Blanton leads the league in bgWAR.

How bgWAR Is Calculated

A lot of our readers have been intimidated by bgWAR, our measure of a player's overall value, and asked us about how it works. We had the same questions when we first heard about advanced stats. "How," we asked, "could some computer guys plug a bunch of mathematical numbers into some kind of mechanical Turk and find out how good players are?"

The Blangraphs editorial staff is more into stick-to-it-ive-ness than your fancy metrics.

For a long time, we trusted our eyes and hearts and ignored the numbers. It felt right, and we did fine that way. But as we looked at more and more players to compare Joe Blanton to, we needed to watch more and more games. We stayed up all night watching Mariners games to figure out whether Robinson Cano could equal Joe. We listened to the announcers' tones when they narrated Yovani Gallardo starts. There were 2340 games to watch, and eventually it was too much to keep it all straight. At this point, we realized we need a formula, and that the stats could help us as long as they were measuring all of the things that we saw when we watched.
If you are anything like us, you are skeptical when you see a complicated math formula, and we recognize that bgWAR looks just like one. The fact is that the bgWAR formula is not as complicated as it might seem, it has simply grown over time in a series of common-sense, logical steps. With each tweak and adjustment, the calculation of bgWAR got just a bit harder for the uninitiated reader to understand. Just like our wise scouts' knowledge grows over the decades until they can predict a player's entire career from just a single swing of the bat, our formula has been built up in a series of adjustments, additions, and alignments. And for the first time, here it is for everyone to see:


Current season leader: Joe Blanton.

The New Strategy

The Phillies aren't doing so well. It's time for a new strategy. If we're going to lose, why not do it in spectacular fashion? I have no ideas for what we can do as far as scoring runs- so let's focus on the pitching.
Yesterday the Phillies used Papelbon and Giles, their two best relievers, in a game they trailed by 5 runs and had essentially no chance of winnings. This was "to get them work". My idea is to ensure that they get work in useful opportunities by letting them start games. Teams are more likely to score runs in the first inning than in the second inning, this is due to a team trotting out their best hitters 1,2,3,4. In games we send out pitchers such as O'Sullivan, we should give them a head start by erasing their best hitters before they get a chance to tee off on our starters. There is an excellent chart which shows when runs are most often scored.
If we can reduce the % of runs scored in the first by using either Papelbon or Giles, and save one for the 9th inning we can maybe expect to reduce total scoring by 10% or so. Possibly saving the O'Sullivans from being seen more than once can increase the likelihood of them being more effective, also they will be less tired and can pitch later into the game. This may reduce the % of runs scored in the middle innings. The only position in which we will suffer is in the 8th inning. At this point we will have lost Giles or Papelbon, so we may see an increase in runs scored here. With our crop of young relievers (Diekman, DeFratus, Araujo, etc.) I'd take my chances with this strategy. I would even consider starting the game with Giles, and bringing in Papelbon the next time the 1,2,3,4 hitters arrive, completely flipping the order of our pitching.
I don't endorse this idea when we have pitchers like Hamels out there, and obviously we couldn't pitch this way every night or else or relievers would get over worked. But as of now they aren't getting enough work and are receiving worthless opportunities. Let's get our pitchers in there while the game is guaranteed to still matter!  Who knows, we might just take a few of them with us.

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