• Verducci: Schilling’s Rule Determines Winner

    Posted by on March 16th, 2010 · Comments (8)

    Tom Verducci rings in on the race between the Yankees and Red Sox this year –

    It really is this simple: the team that gets the most starts out of its planned five-man rotation will be the better team. That’s right, both teams can spend $350 million combined on players, assign squadrons of number crunchers to analyze the life out of the game, hold staff meetings late into the night to worry about what Triple-A middle reliever might be needed around August, and the battle will be won simply by which team’s top five starters take the ball most often. All that architectural planning and scheming and it all comes down to crossing your fingers when it comes to how well five pitching arms hold up.

    I know this to be true because Curt Schilling told me years ago. His theory was that the Red Sox and Yankees are so evenly matched that the team that gets the most starts out of its top five starters will be the better team. It’s amazing how right he has been.

    Last year, for instance, the Yankees’ top five starters made 139 starts to Boston’s 121. New York won eight more games and the World Series. Indeed, so freakish was the run of good luck by the Yankees with their starters that they had four starters make at least 31 starts — for the first time in the history of the franchise.

    And, for the record, the Yankees’ top five starters making 139 starts last season was the top mark in the league. (I read that in The Bill James Gold Mine 2010.)

    One thing not mentioned here – let’s not forget the Tampa Bay Rays. They just may end up having the best starting rotation, from top to bottom, in the A.L. East – and if their top five gets more than New York and Boston, then it’s Tampa who gets the crown.

    Comments on Verducci: Schilling’s Rule Determines Winner

    1. Raf
      March 16th, 2010 | 3:21 pm

      I don’t think it makes much of a difference. If that were the case, then the Red Sox would’ve finished 4th instead of 2nd. They had 121 starts to the Rays’ 138 and the Jays 127.

    2. Tresh Fan
      March 16th, 2010 | 5:06 pm

      I predict the pitching staff with the most wins will finish in first.

    3. Corey Italiano
      March 16th, 2010 | 5:17 pm

      @ Tresh Fan:
      lol

    4. jrk
      March 16th, 2010 | 5:34 pm

      Raf, good jump on that, I was going to ask where the Sox ranked compared to Rays/Jays. It’s amazing when professional writers leave out the numbers that don’t “fit” their assertions, rather than address them. But in Verducci’s defense (shit, by association this might be in Schilling’s defense too), the point is that they think overall (including offense), the teams are so evenly matched, that the # of starts is the difference maker. So their theory doesn’t apply to the Rays/Jays who they don’t consider to be as “evenly matched” overall. (Not saying they are right, just giving a possible explanation for why they didn’t consider Rays/Jays).

      Shame on them though, I’m on Steve’s “watch out for the Rays” boat.

    5. Raf
      March 16th, 2010 | 7:35 pm

      jrk wrote:

      So their theory doesn’t apply to the Rays/Jays who they don’t consider to be as “evenly matched” overall. (Not saying they are right, just giving a possible explanation for why they didn’t consider Rays/Jays).

      I understand where they’re coming from, I just don’t like lazy writers. At any rate, doubt that the “Schilling Rule” has any merit. Even when the Yankees’ pitching imploded, they finished ahead of the Sox more often than not.

    6. MJ Recanati
      March 17th, 2010 | 9:21 am

      [L]et’s not forget the Tampa Bay Rays. They just may end up having the best starting rotation, from top to bottom, in the A.L. East.
      ——-
      Shields, Garza, Price, Niemann and Davis? Really? Best in the AL East?

      This proclamation from a guy that constantly bangs his head against a wall whenever young arms are in a rotation (Hughes/Chamberlain/Kennedy) because of how untested/unproven they are? You’re giving Price/Niemann/Davis that much credit?

    7. Evan3457
      March 17th, 2010 | 10:27 am

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      [L]et’s not forget the Tampa Bay Rays. They just may end up having the best starting rotation, from top to bottom, in the A.L. East.
      ——-
      Shields, Garza, Price, Niemann and Davis? Really? Best in the AL East?This proclamation from a guy that constantly bangs his head against a wall whenever young arms are in a rotation (Hughes/Chamberlain/Kennedy) because of how untested/unproven they are? You’re giving Price/Niemann/Davis that much credit?

      Yes, because Hughes/Chamberlain/Kennedy were drafted by Cashman (all by himself), and Price/Niemann/Davis were not. That means the Rays’ group are all Cy Young candidates, while the Yankees’ group will be lucky to be in the majors two years from now. Except Kennedy, who now becomes an All-Star Candidate at the least because Cashman decided to trade him away.

    8. MJ Recanati
      March 17th, 2010 | 10:29 am

      @ Evan3457:
      Ah, I see. Thanks for clearing that up for me. ;-)

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