NY Times Says Tim Lincecum Pitched Better Than Roy Halladay

Halladay_lincecum"Nice try, buddy."

You have got to be kidding me.  Dan Rosenheck, who wrote this misguided piece, went to Harvard. He should be smarter than us.  Instead, he managed to show just how out of touch with society stat geeks can be.

His words:

On Wednesday evening, Roy Halladay became an answer to two trivia questions (“Name the only pitchers to throw postseason no-hitters” and “Name the only pitchers to throw two no-hitters in the same season”), and pictures of his triumph were splashed across front pages nationwide. On Thursday night, Tim Lincecum had a strong outing that got him a nice applause from the fans in San Francisco. Yet Lincecum’s performance was actually both more impressive and more valuable than Halladay’s.

Although most fans have been led to believe that good pitchers can “induce” weak contact and generate easily fieldable balls, while bad ones will surrender a parade of blistering line drives, extensive research into the subject shows that the vast majority of pitchers wind up giving up hits on about 30 percent of balls in play over the course of their careers.

Neither Halladay nor Lincecum gave up a home run, so they were even on that score. But their strikeout totals were markedly different: Halladay punched out “only” 8 batters to Lincecum’s 14. By my calculation, with normal luck, a pitcher with Halladay’s eight strikeouts, one walk, and zero home runs allowed in 28 batters faced would give up an average of 1.55 earned runs per nine innings, while one with Lincecum’s 14 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 0 home runs allowed in 30 batters faced would surrender just 0.37.

This approach tells you who pitched better. Whose pitching was more valuable is an entirely different question — and the answer is even more favorable to Lincecum.


What he's basically trying to say is that strikeouts are far more valuable than in-play outs, and over the long-term, 30% of balls in play will be hits, regardless of pitcher.  While over the grand landscape of this great game that might hold true, you cannot make that assumption on an individual basis like Rosenheck did.  Halladay does not have "normal luck."  He is not part of the "vast majority of pitchers."

Rosenheck clearly didn't watch the game.  And if he did, then he knows nothing about the sport.  

Every expert, fan, and player who saw what Roy Halladay did on Thursday, acknowledged that it was one of the single most dominating pitching performances of all-time.  There is a big difference between the feeble, defensive swings from the MVP caliber players on the Reds, and solid contact that lucks its way into a glove.

This is to take nothing away from Tim Lincecum, he pitched great, but Rosenheck makes the god-awful assumption that strikeouts are the determining factor of a pitcher's value.  Tell that to Greg Maddux.

Tell that to the Reds' hitters, who looked like they were trying to hit a wind-swept pea on Wednesday.

Tell Rosenheck to get a clue.

Read the rest of his nonsense here.

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34 Responses

  1. Any New York media will do anything to slam the Phillies. Or any Philadelphia team of that matter. Thats all they know how to do since all their teams pretty much suck right now.

  2. Grain of salt. The guy obviously knows nothing about baseball and/or the art of pitching.

  3. By the same logic, Pat Burrell of the SF Giants, who has never thrown a pitch ever will have a lower ERA than both Lincecum and Halladay. Ergo, Pat the Bat is your NL Cy Young winner.

  4. We all know that since it’s us. we are treated like we took a shit in the punchbowl.
    I swear if it was the Waffen SS vs any Philly team,the national media would pick the SS

  5. “Every expert, fan, and player who saw what Roy Halladay did on Thursday, acknowledged that it was one of the single most dominating pitching performances of all-time.”
    Well, all except Orlando Cabrera. 😉

  6. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. You can always find some stat to make any player or performance better than another.

  7. “Every expert, fan, and player who saw what Roy Halladay did on Thursday, acknowledged that it was one of the single most dominating pitching performances of all-time.”
    “Well, all except Orlando Cabrera. ;)”
    Cabrera obviously didn’t see it either because he couldn’t see the ball coming towards the plate.

  8. Is this story even written if Roy Halladay was pitching for the Cincinnati Reds or Atlanta Braves?
    Probably not. One more reason for New York to take a jab at Philly
    Bring it on New York, we’re not scared!!

  9. Are you kidding me… And people wonder why there is so much anti NY sentiment! I just can not grasp this. I think that this nerd is just grasping for straws to find a way to avoid saying that Philadelphia now has an “alltime alltime” pitching performance. Better than anything in 50+ years. I think if i drink a fifth of Vodka, pop some extacy and do a couple lines of coke i could begin to understand his thought process. B/c weak grounders and pop ups do require more effort to complete the out than a strikeout. I guess its cause the probability of an error and all that on defense is greater than a strikeout… I totally do not agree with this. I mean here is how i look at it, Total Baserunners, Tim=3 Roy=1, Hits total, Tim=2 Roy=0… last i recall its easier to score, and win a close game like SF’s game was, when you have 3 men on base instead of 1. Roy wins hands down

  10. Let those sabermetric nerds jerk themselves off with their numbers and their values and all that shit. This is why the Oakland As stink and JP Riccardi makes an ass of himself on ESPN all the time. Billy Beane and JP worship at the altar of Bill James and numbers instead of using their own two eyes to evaluate talent.

  11. What an idiot. Roy is a sinker ball ground ball pitcher. Sure, he gets his fair share of strikeouts, but one of his best aspects is enducing ground balls with his sinker, and thus getting outs with balls in play. Just as effective as a K.
    Just another scared Yankee fan.

  12. just was watching espn. the poll asked who’s pitching performance was better, halladay or lincecum, and every state, out of 50,000 votes said Halladays was…like 70 some percent lol

  13. Mr. Rosencheck also failed to recognize that Roy’s No-No came against a team with the most runs scored in the NL and 4th most hits overall.
    Lincecum threw a 2-hitter against the Braves. THE FUCKING BRAVES. Everyone knows the Braves are lucky to still be in uniform.
    Common sense says the 2nd no-hitter in MLB postseason history simply cannot be overshadowed by a 14-strikeout performance.
    I’m not downplaying Lincecum’s performance, it was obviously dominant. The guy is a freak. But last night’s game was more revealing of the Brave’s inability to make contact than it is to say Lincecum was “untouchable”.

  14. My hubby made a good point. How many balls were thrown by Lincecum? How about the non strike balls… the control? What were the Atlanta Braves ave’s vs the Reds? So many things not taken into consideration… you can’t judge a pitcher by the amount of strikes he throws.

  15. Bill James made the same point today. Since the pitcher can’t control things like defense, strikeouts are important.
    Say Lincecum and Halladay each replicated their games 100 times. On average, Lincecum wins more than Halladay does.
    Obviously, with these specific outcomes, Alpha-Roy had a better game than Lincecum did this week. But apparently, more of that is due to luck.

  16. In addition to my previous post, look at the picture above (nice find, Kyle). Age differences aside, Roy is looking dapper with his collared shirt and dress pants. Very professional, very “put-together”, if you will.
    Lincecum looks like a pothead Shaun White wanna-be who just woke up at 2:00pm and crawled out of his parents’ basement.

  17. I’m so glad people saw this dumbass’ article. I read it and just laughed. It’s clear the writer didn’t even watch the game. The Reds’ closest thing to a hit was a liner by the pitcher to right field. No one on the team hit the ball in the air to left field. Roy did something that hadn’t been done in 56 years. Once you’re talking about something so rare, you cannot describe this by pure luck. It was a masterful performance and I think Roy deserves an apology from this NY prick. Disgaceful reporting.

  18. @artofhitting:
    Bill James’ and Dan Rosenchecks statistical points are very valid. Of course if they were to replay those games again 100 times, the outcomes would invariably be in favor of Lincecum’s 14K performance.
    However, I feel as though both writers are missing one key point: the pitcher’s opponent.
    There is a HUGE difference between the lineups of Atlanta and Cincinnati.
    My point is, with the type of performance he displayed Thursday night, Halladay probably would have no-hit Atlanta as well.
    Cincinnati’s lineup is statistically superior to Atlanta’s. And even though I don’t have tangible statistics to support this theory, I would attest that Philadelphia’s defense is markedly better than San Francisco’s.
    Therefore, balls-in-play off of Halladay have a better chance of becoming outs no matter what his K count.

  19. FUCK NYC!!! I’m now fed up and sick and tired of all the bullshit thrown at Philly! WHAT IS WRONG WITH PHILADELPHIA?? FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!! I swear i’m gonna kill the living crap out of ANYONE who says anything stupid and hateful against Philly. And Halladay will beat the living shit out of San Fran anyway.

  20. Wow this guy must have got into Lincecums stash! Yes Tim’s outing was impressive, but for christ’s sake a freaking no hitter in the playoffs against that line up! No one except for the Reds pitcher even made solid contact! What a f-ing tool

  21. hahaha i actually did tell him to get a clue but my comment on there may not be published because of some language i let slip….but if it is published to the site itll be the longest one…..look for RoySanwich34-35-44’s comment. its actually pretty funny and spot on in my opinion(and yea i know i spelled sandwich wrong in my display name for the nytimes)

  22. There were FAR too many numbers and formulas in that article.
    I will agree that Lincecum’s performance was more needed than Halladay’s, because the Phil’s offense has greater potency. The fact of the matter remains, however, that by the 3rd inning, the entire room of people that I was enjoying the game with had a feeling that something special was happening.
    I’m not a sports fan that likes a lot of points. Staggering defenses have always attracted me, and ever since I can remember, the only thing that’s been more exciting for me to watch than a lefty with a nasty change-up, is a behemoth righty with a cut fastball that would make Ted Williams whimper. Halladay threw one strikeout in particular (the one to Cabrera in the 4th inning) that made me absolutely sure that I would inevitably be witnessing my first ever no hitter.
    Lincecum had a great game, incredible even, and in any other postseason, it would have been the performance of the year. However, to have so much stuff to confuse a lineup as potent as that of the Reds, and to allow them to only hit the ball into the outfield 3 times (THREE TIMES REALLY?!?!), that’s just magical, surreal, almost perfect. And Roy Halladay knows a little something about perfect.

  23. 25 first pitch strikes by Halladay you moron! And how many of Lincecum’s strikeouts were on pitches out f the zone that were chased? They should really give this job to someone who watches baseball. You, sir, obviously do not.

  24. Sorry if this has been said already, but here’s my 2 cents:
    This guy has forgotten the biggest VARIABLE, which is the people you are pitching to. Halladay pitched to the STATISTICAL BEST HITTING TEAM in the 2010 MLB regular season. And thats with an AiPH A.S.Degree.

  25. guys, thanks for all the comments. good point, probably should have factored in lineup as well. my biggest problem with that article was the fact that the guy dared to assume all contact is equal. there is a big difference between a kyle kendrick out and a roy halladay out.

  26. Heh heh. Interesting statistics. All this guy has proven is that Lincecum = Hamels, ie. the Phillies third starter.
    So Cole Hamels with his 15 strike outs is better than Roy Halladay with his no hitters and 80 pitch complete games?
    Not to mention Vance Freaking Worley gave up just 1 hit to Atlanta last Saturday. He’s also with the Phillies.

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