6:20 p.m. - Right now, in drizzly Boston, it's 7 C - perfect Roy Halladay weather. That is, until Rob Pettapiece and his amazing math skills imploded my theory that Toronto's staff ace pitches better in the cold.
However, I recently received an email from Jonathan Hale, the man behind the estimable Jays blog, the Mockingbird. Hale is the Toronto baseball community's sabermetrician emeritus. After lightly teasing me about turning to the dark side - numbers - he offered his take on Rob's analysis. I've asked Jonathan's permission to quote verbatim from his missive. Here it is:
"While I'm sure (Rob's) numbers are right, I'm not sure about the conclusion. While it may be negligible, a "negative" correlation, and certainly that graph, seems to indicate that as the temperature goes up, Halladay's game score goes down. An average swing of 10 in game score from very cold to very hot weather as shown in the final table is surely significant.
As Rob points out, that could be because hitters are more dangerous in the heat (I'm going to generously assume as evidence he has my seminal work on pitcher effectiveness vs. temperature at Baseball Digest Daily in mind). So the real question is does Roy Halladay hate warm weather any more than your average pitcher? I have neither the foggiest idea or the will to crunch those particular numbers, but I can tell you a few things that really jump out about his performance using my own personal nerd tool, the pitch-tracking system installed at the parks known as pitch f/x:
1) His sinker sinks less and less as the temperature rises.
2) He throws more strikes.
I know this was just an idle pondering thought that you're not looking for a dissertation on...just thought it was an interesting question you left open and I'd add another angle. Next time just say something rash based on a half dozen of the Doc's games that you can remember, and both me and Rob will leave you alone. :)
Jonathan included funky graphics to support his conclusions, but I have neither the ability nor the access to experts (at 6:30 on Tuesday) that is required to show them to you. If you're going to start crying about the evidence, therefore, blame me. (BLOGGER'S NOTE: No need to cry. Jonathan has posted them here.)
Well, we may get a sense tonight, with Halladay throwing in temperatures that should hover just above freezing. Thank the baseball Gods for the closed pressbox at Fenway, the park's only architectural concession to the 20th century.
Cheers back at ya, Jonathan. Thanks for weighing in. And thanks to both you and Rob for adding a gravitas to my writing that's normally found through the use of a thesaurus. I've used 'gravitas' right, right?
Cathal: Any pre-game words for the blog, Griff?
Cathal: That's bloggable. The 'toad' thing? Not so much.