Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Sometimes, A Cigar's Just A Cigar
2008-04-11 06:02
by Derek Smart

Pitcher wins are funny things. They're theoretically meant to document which pitcher on the winning team was most instrumental in bringing a victory to fruition, but more often than not, as is the complaint of those such as myself who enjoy using more objective measures when employing statistics, the pitcher win is simply an accounting tool reflecting the hurler most proximate to the final lead change.

We have recent examples of this phenomenon to choose from, most recent being Kevin Hart's win on Wednesday - a complicated 'got it', 'lost it', 'got it again' scenario that I won't do you the disservice of recounting here. That game clearly featured a superior performance by Ryan Dempster, who got no statistical satisfaction from his performance after his bullpen mates lost the lead. In that case, Dempster deserved the win, but did not get it due to the vagaries of accounting, and each season is rife with examples of similar doings, many of them stories of relievers getting victories they not only didn't earn, but whose performance actively worked against the greater goal - triumph turning to defeat, but for the largesse of the offense surrounding them.

Occasionally, though, due to some combination of luck and timing, the right reliever gets his due, and both wins notched by Jon Lieber have been earned in every respect. But for his work in Games 1 and 3 of the Pirate series, the Cubs could very well be 4-5 instead of 6-3. We and the Cubs owe Jon Lieber a debt of thanks for his early performance, and he's earned every bit of it.

2008-04-11 11:03:14
1.   Josh Wilker
Is there a thought that Leiber's great work is going to get him into the rotation? For the Cubs' sake I hope not; more than ever, with starters pitching fewer and fewer innings, the underrated "long man" role is huge.
2008-04-11 12:43:02
2.   chicagoburke
I have been a huge Leiber fan since saving all kinds of money on beer when he pichted the gem against the reds in 01. He is a team guy and will be a huge asset to this club weather out of the BP or as a spot starter. I like him in the swing role if he's willing to stay there! Great to have Jon back in the fold.
2008-04-11 14:53:11
3.   Derek Smart
1 I haven't seen anything that ratchets up that idea lately, but I'd say that mostly depends on what guys like Marquis and Hill do over their next few starts. Perform decently, and the question is moot. Struggle, and there's going to be some noise.

Personally, I'm with you on the idea of his being more valuable in a swing role. I should probably do a separate post on it, in fact, because I think he's uniquely suited to that sort of thing, what with his ability to throw strikes and have very efficient outings. He can not only be very effective, but also turn around and do the same thing faster because of that efficiency. Or at least, that's the theory pinging around in my head.

2008-04-11 15:48:11
4.   Ali Nagib
1 3 I have no problem with Lieber pitching 3-4 innings a week to pick up after Marquis or Hill struggle. Throw in a few spot starts and some mop-up work here and there and he should be able to eat up most of the big chunks of innings that inevitably come up when someone gets hurt or gets shelled.

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