Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Brandon Backe

Tonight's starter has had some success against the Cardinals this year, going 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA over 13 innings. (2 starts, 4 relief appearances). Let's look a little deeper for an edge.


vs Left - .347/.426/.535, 961 OPS
vs Right - .253/.303/.437, 740 OPS

I called for Mabry to start against Odalis Perez, Jeff Weaver, and even Lima to an extent. Those guys were studs against lefties compared to Backe. If lefties hit .347 off of him on the season, what will they do when he's going on short rest, in the playoffs, on the road?

Both of his starts against the Cardinals came in September this year, when the Cards were no longer playing with winning as their #1 goal (at least not regular season winning.) In the first game, Womack, Edmonds, and Mabry started, with Walker getting the day off. In the 2nd game, Edmonds and Walker both got the start with the other two sitting out. And neither game saw Backe go deeper than 5 innings pitched, even though Houston won both. My point being - the Cardinals didn't throw their top lefties at him either start, and yet he was still couldn't go deep.


Normally, I don't put much stock in home/road splits. I think a single season has too much variation to pin a pitcher into being better at home or away. This is especially true of a guy like Backe, who only threw 67 innings in 2004. However, his splits are pretty extreme.

Home - 4-1, 2.61 ERA, .237 average allowed
Road - 1-2, 6.52 ERA, .347 average allowed

You can look at the last 3 years in order to get a better sample size, but it still only takes his number of innings pitched to 124.2.

Home - 4-2, 3.92 ERA, .231 average allowed
Road - 2-2, 6.03 ERA, .313 average allowed

Over that time span, he's been worse at home and better on the road compared to this season, as you would expect to see as the sample size gets larger. However, you're still looking at a pretty large difference there.


Look at the splits for Backe in his first 45 pitches vs. the rest of the game.

Pitches 1 to 45 - .278/.345/.455, 800 OPS
Pitches 46 and up - .313/.387/.518, 905 OPS

He allows a lot of base runners regardless of if it's early or late in a game. The problem is, he starts getting hit harder the farther he goes. Look for the Cards to take advantage of this, along with his lack of rest, by taking a lot of pitches early tonight. If they can get him up into the 40's pitch count wise by the 3rd or 4th inning, it may end up being a very short night for him.


Does anyone see any way the Cardinals shouldn't win tonight? The Cardinals have faced him, which eliminates some of the mystery. Lefties kill him. He's much worse on the road. And he's pitching on 3 days' rest. Granted, you never know where the next Brit Reames will pop up in the post-season, but I'm just not seeing it.


At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't normally post but I found your comment regarding the next Britt Reames ironic, if not disturbing, given the link to baseball prospectus. According to BP, the most similar pitcher to Britt by age is none other than one Pete Munro...

Thanks for the blogs, I enjoy your analysis.



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