Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 4/5/12

Opening Day 1.5 featured a one-game series with the defending world champs, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the league’s latest makeover recipient, the Miami Marlins. Righty Kyle Lohse earned the Opening Day honors for the Cardinals on the merit of being not recently or presently injured, and much to the surprise of many, Lohse took a perfect game into the 7th inning.

His line from the game:

7.1 IP, 1 ER, 3 K, 0 BB, 8 GB, 10 FB, 2 LD

All told, that comes to a 1.23 ERA, 1.49 FIP, 2.94 xFIP, and… a 4.22 SIERA

Everything but that SIERA number suggests Lohse had a great start. Let’s find out why.

The most important item to remember — and not just with Lohse, but with Josh Johnson, Felix Hernandez, and every pitcher who has pitched in this extra-young season so far — is that the FIP constant here at FanGraphs is not, well, constant. The Dark Overlord has some magical algorithm in place to keep the constant (usually around 3.2) variable according to the league’s run environment. Because the regular season has all of three games of data right now, that constant is unusually low — in the ones last I heard.

So Lohse’s 1.49 FIP is actually less impressive in the context of the four team “league.” His FIP- is 109 and his xFIP- is an even more troubling 164. With a 3.2 constant, the comes out to a 2.79 FIP and a 4.56 xFIP. Suddenly his SIERA, which sits near his career levels, does not look nearly as strange.

Which is all to say: Beware of FIP right now! Just because a number looks intrinsically good, it’s best to reference FIP- or SIERA to ensure the number is not biased by the current run environment.

So what was it about Lohse’s start troubled SIERA? Lohse did not walk anybody — though he did hit Emilio Bonifacio in the 4th inning (before removing him with a double play) — and his strikeout rate (about 12%) was not bad. Presumably, it must be his balls in play.

Lohse allowed 20 balls in play, but only 2 hits — good for a .100 BABIP. Last year, grounders went for a .237 BABIP, flies a .137 BABIP, and liners a .714 BABIP. If we apply these percentages to Lohse’s numbers, he comes out with about 2 ground ball hits, 1 fly ball hit, and 1 line drive hit (an expected BABIP of .200). SIERA is sensitive to what kinds of hits Lohse allows, but four predicted hits is not terrible — in fact, the 66% ground ball rate is much better than his career numbers.

However, his career homerun per flyball rate — 9.7% HR/FB — suggests he would have typically allowed at least one homer in a game such as this — which makes sense. A guy averaging 1.10 HR/9 probably would allow a homer in the typical game where he pitches nearly into the 9th inning.

In fact, he almost did, too. In the bottom of the second inning, Giancarlo Stanton redirected a pitch to deep center field, going for about a 405-foot out.

The new Marlins Park should play like SafeCo Field with even fewer HRs to center field, which could be bad news for Stanton, who, more than one time, took advantage of Dolphin Stadiums’ cut out in CF:

Stanton’s Dolphin Stadium Homers

Courtesy of Katron.org.

All this to say: (1) Lohse pitched well, but still looks very much like his Lohsian self, and (2) the new Marlins Park seemed to help him out a bit, but that may mean more for Miami’s home run hitters than for Lohse, and (3) above all, look at FIP- and xFIP- and all the minus stats instead of their traditional counterparts — especially early in the season. None of these stats may not be very predictive right now, but at least the minus stats (and SIERA) are better at being descriptive.


GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

CBS producer calls Tony Romo the next John Madden

NFL overtime will reportedly be reduced from 15 to 10 minutes

Seattle Times writer apologizes to Michael Bennett

Predators fans throw catfish on ice to celebrate Stanley Cup berth

WATCH: Draymond Green tries just a little to hard to sell foul

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Eddie George fires up Predators fans before Game 4 vs Ducks

Viktor Arvidsson had bloody ‘R’ on forehead after hit

Danny Ainge’s son running for congressional seat in Utah

John Wall’s retweet saves fan from taking final exam

WATCH: Cubs pull off two miraculous defensive plays in a row

To raise money for charity, a wrestling fan has Cody Rhodes slam him on thumbtacks

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NBA Weekend Awards: Who will take a bite of the Snow White Crystal Apple?

The 'How two award snubs might shake up the NBA' quiz

Preparing for the BIG3: Q&A with BIG3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz

Two months in and Nintendo's Switch dominates 2017 video game market

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker