The Dog Days are almost over and thankfully that'll mean some new topics to talk about. I can rehash stuff about Desmond until the cows come home (where did they go?) but it's getting tiring, right? You know what's better than that? Strasburg.
Strasburg. Strasburg. Strasburg.
Before we get the influx of new Strasburgian topics, let's take a second to look back at a couple of things I had wrong.
Back in Mid May commenter Wally noted that Zimmermann was on his way to a 3.5 WAR season if he pitched 160 innings. I of course, expected less. What did he end up with? 161.33 IP, and a WAR of 3.5. That's very very good as Jamie Mottram notes.
It may look like ZNN never faltered, but he did have an iffy July. A fantastic June and very good August helped balance that out, though. Looking at it - you can really see the impact of luck on a given game/time period. His June featured a mediocre strikeout rate of 5.7. His July had a much better K-rate (8.1) and an incredible 2 walks in 30 innings. Yet his June was epic and his July was below average. Why? HR-rate and BABIP. In June he gave up 1 homer in 42 innings and opponents had a BABIP of .256, in July he gave up 3 in 30 and the BABIP was .356. Part of that was pitching (more LDs in July) but part of that was luck, too.
But I feel like I'm getting away from the point. What you have with Zimmermann is a pitcher who pitched well all-season. He caught some breaks here, he didn't there, but that'll happen over the course of a year. In the end the HR-rate evened out, the BABIP evened out and he was STILL very good. Like Wally said he would be, and better than I thought.
In March I said that there was no way Clippard would be as good this year as last. Short and sweet - he HAS pitched better. It still isn't sub-2.00 ERA better (he has had a lot of things go his way this season) but better is better.
Really the lesson I'm learning here is never to say a reliever is going to do anything. It's like saying a pinch-hitter is going to hit .100 or .300. The sample size is going to be so small that anything is possible. Clippard could have pitched the same way he did this year, had a few GBs go in the wrong spots and ended up with a worse ERA than last year, which would have been totally unrepresentative of how well he's done. Hell, that happens to starters throwing close to 200 innings.
Anyway - there's a sandwich eating to come.