Mound Serendipity

The Associated Press says P Matt Clement, he of a 6.68 ERA in 12 starts this season for Boston, is “scuffling through the worst of his eight major league
seasons.” Manager Terry Francona chalks it up to a bad shoulder; he’s put
the veteran on the 15-day disabled list, hoping the time away will help
Clement relocate his mojo.

Perhaps. But PROTRADE’s Moneyball Scoring system suggests Clement might be
better served hunting down a four-leaf clover or scoping pennies on a Beacon
Hill sidewalk. That’s because all luck, bad bounces, and mispositioned (or
range-challenged) fielders aside, the 31-year old has in reality pitched
himself within a few percentage points of his career-best season ERA.

According to our numbers, Clement’s “real” ERA is 3.62, more than three runs
better than the official number that besmirches his performance in Boston
sports pages. He is, in fact, PROTRADE’s reigning leader in bad luck among
major league pitchers this season. It’s a calculation we can manage because
we break down every baseball
play into its component parts, comparing what did happen to what usually
happens as a means of allotting appropriate credit or blame.

Most unique, it lays bare those non-errors that really should be. We’re
talking about those myriad cases when that lumbering right fielder cannot
get a glove on the ball and thus, doesn’t earn a demerit for failing to
achieve the routine.

So for pitchers, the difference manifests itself in little, unnoticed
fielding moments. Consider the third inning of a Red Sox-Rangers matchup at
Fenway Park on May 12, when 2B Mark Loretta doesn’t get to two separate
balls he should have caught, saddling Clement with two earned runs in the
team’s 6-0 loss. Or in an 8-6 loss to the Yankees on May 24, when Alex
Rodriguez and Robinson Cano led off the fifth inning with singles that
should have been outs, then New York OF Terrence Long drove in what would
prove the game-winning run with another routine grounder somehow out of the
reach of Loretta.

Clement has two weeks of R & R to find a way to reverse the after
effects of whatever mirror he broke or ladder he walked beneath. Maybe
easier — call Padres P Scott Cassidy, his serendipitous opposite. The
journeyman is strutting around San Diego with a 2.37 ERA from the team’s

Rumor has it, Cassidy pitches with a horseshoe in his glove.

PROTRADE’s Unlucky
  Player PT ERA Actual
1 Matt Clement (BOS) 3.62 6.68 -3.06
2 Francisco Cordero (TEX) 2.88 5.63 -2.75
3 Doug Waechter (TB) 4.33 6.62 -2.29
4 Mark Redman (KC) 3.97 6.06 -2.09
5 Odalis Perez (LAD) 4.86 6.90 -2.04
6 Brian Moehler (FLA) 4.66 6.68 -2.02
7 Keith Foulke (BOS) 3.84 5.63 -1.79
8 Jorge Julio (ARI) 3.35 5.06 -1.71
9 Jason Johnson (CLE) 4.06 5.70 -1.64
10 Taylor Buchholz (HOU) 4.53 6.06 -1.53
PROTRADE’s Lucky Ten
  Player PT ERA Actual
1 Scott Cassidy (SD) 5.23 2.37 2.86
2 Geoff Geary (PHI) 5.00 2.78 2.22
3 Sidney Ponson (STL) 5.54 3.54 2.00
4 Oscar Villarreal (ATL) 6.92 4.99 1.93
5 Luis Vizcaino (ARI) 4.39 2.59 1.80
6 Scot Shields (LAA) 2.95 1.30 1.65
7 Aaron Sele (LAD) 3.72 2.32 1.40
8 Ryan Franklin (PHI) 5.77 4.40 1.37
9 Mike Maroth (DET) 4.93 3.56 1.37
10 Woody Williams (SD) 4.62 3.27 1.35

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