Saturday, June 14, 2008

Good plan doesn't pan out

Yesterday I took the Houston Astros in the 2nd Half at +130. I made this bet before the game started. The 2nd Half in baseball is the 6th inning and beyond. I liked the bet but it lost. I thought it was well thought out given the Yankees situation and had positive EV. Historically, in games with the road team around -155 favorites, the home team has been worth about +130 in the 2nd Half. If the NYY/HOU game was a normal game with a line of -155 for the Yankees, then I would have thought I had a zero-EV bet. But I knew that Mariano Rivera was unlikely to pitch, and even if he did, he would not be at 100% strength. Rivera had pitched in 4 straight games from June 7th to 10th, then took the 11th off, but then pitched again on the 12th. That's 5 out of 6 days! Incredible for a closer these days.

With Rivera out and Joba Chamberlain now in the starting rotation, the Yankee bullpen for last night's game was very suspect.

To top it off, Chamberlain was going into his 3rd start and was still probably on a pitch count. Although it would be higher than his previous start, I would have been shocked if he threw more than 100 pitches. So I didn't think he was likely to pitch much in the 2nd half of the game. If it was another pitcher, like Andy Pettitte, then there would have been the possibility of the starter going deeper into the game and pitching the 7th and 8th too. But with Chamberlain, there is a much lower chance of that. And that meant the bullpen would be pitching most or all the innings in the 2nd half. It turned out that Chamberlain threw 89 pitches over 6 quality innings.

But it didn't work out. Veras and Farnsworth pitched three scoreless innings and the Yankees scored one run in the 8th inning on a Derek Jeter solo HR. I still like the thought process and the rationale for the bet. At worst, I had a zero-EV bet. But likely, I had a positive EV bet given the reasonings shown above.