Anomaly, Thresholds and the Intangible

Being the first thing I've posted to this site, I was hesitant. But then I thought: fuck it, I'm curious, extremely curious what might come from this wonderful community relative to what follows. I've read this site for awhile, and was reconnected to the M's, after I went on a years-long professional-sports hiatus, by the wonder contained within Jeff's prose. That was the 2011 season. I checked in every once in a while prior to 2011. But I stuck around that year, and, not being in Washington, relied on this place for the grim and glory that is Mariners' news(?).

This post was inspired by things that I simply/complexly dislike: 1) Hawk Harrelson; 2) The Mariners getting defeated in exaggerated fashion(s) – see M's v Astros game (if you must). And also that I don't want to work on my thesis right now.

I mention Hawk because of comments made about sabermetrics being overrated etc. Who honestly cares what comes from that mind? It's exceedingly hard to glean meaning from its speaking. But it did prompt my desire to at least preliminarily begin an investigation.

The question is this, how do high-scoring games come to be? I believe that it is not meaningfully possible to say something like "n didn't have his best stuff tonight" and thus a lot of runs. Mainly because any high-scoring game most probably in all likely-hood, all things equal (stupid phrase), doesn't involve the train-wrecking of one pitcher. The relievers tend to get hammered as well is what I am saying. Managers tend toward making efforts toward slowing, or stopping, the carnage. So, does that mean that the opponent's hitters simply "find that metaphysical groove", collectively, or that momentum? When does this discovery manifest itself in performance? That is, can momentum be measured specifically outside of "the eye test"?

I write this as an introduction of sorts to a study I will probably do regardless of the response this generates as I am curious and procrastinating, I just won't be as meticulous about keeping a record if response trends negatively or toward apathy. What I want to know is whether patterns manifest over a given sample size which indicate definitively how high-scoring games come to be. Aaaand, is there a point that presents itself where one could say: "Hey, this almost high-scoring game didn't happen, because x and possibly other letters"? Can advanced metrics offer signals towards an understanding of these phenomena; or, are high-scoring games simply Anomalous and thus outside the scope of such possible analysis? That is, they're perhaps Intangible. I want to find the Threshold(s) if they exist.

I write this introduction of sorts to invite discussion (as the intention of the entire study would be as well) and suggestion. I am, by conditioning, mathematically disinclined. I do find the empirical studies fascinating, and the breadth and possibilities of mathematical analysis inspiring. I've shut myself out somewhat to it. Yet, Baseball + Math? Yay story-problems! And knowledge generally! Thank you LL.

What I am saying is SABR data is foreign to me, but through application (teach-to-fish etc) I can begin to function within its scope.

Things I am contemplating as data-sets include focusing on team-batting statistics over individual numbers (ISO, BABIP, wOBA, team slash-lines, swinging strikes), individual pitching statistics (FIP/xFIP) and UZR (when/if possible) of the team ass-kicked or scored excessively upon, as some games involve both teams with high run totals. I will be looking at if/how these numbers shift noticeably during individual contests. I'm not wed to sticking with any particular measurment. I wish to keep the scope narrow; as I don't have the time to conduct a dissertation level analysis. So, while I want this to be not-arbitrary, it's inevitable certain decisions will be. It might be that this whole damn study is arbitrary. Sports is like that.

The Arbitrary Stuff: In a grand study, I would look at decades of data from across the League. In this, will probably just look at a few years of Mariners games. The order of the words in the title of this thing is arbitrary. I will have to define "high-scoring". I am leaning toward between 12-15 runs as the low end. Other stuff will come up, probably. I'll be relying on FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference for the data. Such things as meteorological season will probably have to be considered.

Of course, if something like this has already been considered, I'd like to know and won't go any deeper into all this stuff. Or maybe I will.

In 2001 the Mariners played in 23 games where they scored 10 or more runs. 11 of those games, they scored 12 or more runs. They were 10-1 in those games, no more need specifically be said about that fucking shit. 20-3 scoring in the double-digits. In 2002, 15 games of 10 or more. Remember Doug Creek? I sure as hell don't.

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