YANKEE STADIUM, OCTOBER 1, 2012, 6:55 P.M.
To the gregarious gang of 20-something Yankee fans in Section 201 [next to the outdoor food court and sports bar] it’s obvious that Ivan Nova [12-8], pitching in his home park against Jon Lester, who is ending his worst season [9-14], will easily prevail and their “Bronx Bombers” will win the AL East title and, inevitably–the World Series.
But wait, a lone Red Sox fan, an alien presence, who claims to be a Professor of Neuroscience at Harvard, rises to lecture them about Yankee starter Ivan Nova’s biorhythm chart, which scientifically predicts an opposite result; holding up a chart, he informs them that Nova’s Physical and Esthetic biorhythms both hit the critical phase at noon today and will remain there until midnight.
As the PA announcer completes the lineups, the Professor confidently concludes that Nova will struggle with physical activity and may even be prone to an injury and he will not perform with ease and grace. Furthermore, he states that none of Lester’s seven biorhythms will be in critical phase.
The Yankee fans are experiencing creeping buzz kill and with their black handlebar eyebrows crinkling in confusion and mouths agape, they mechanically mumble the National Anthem with the crowd, trailing off, in a state of rising primal fear, just after “gave proof through the night.” [More below.]
And, also, some more traditional measures auger toward a Red Sox victory:
Although Nova is 2-0 against the Sox, both victories were in Fenway Park, where pitched 12 innings with a 2.25 ERA and a 13-2 K-W ratio. But, he has yet to face the Sox in the Stadium, his ERA in the Bronx is 6.08, with a 4-4 record.
Conversely, Lester has performed well at Yankee Stadium this year: 1-0, 12.2 innings, 3.46 ERA; 21/13 K-W ratio; the Yankees batted just .250 with1 HR.
Does that forecast a final score of Sox 6, Yankees 3?
Most stat-heads believe that a pitcher’s last performance should be heavily weighted against his year-to-date stats.
Nova’s last three starts stats:
Ivan Nova was not sharp in his last start; 4 runs, 6 hits, 4 2/3 innings, 77 pitches, raising his ERA to 5.02 in a 6-0 loss.
Lester’s last three starts’ stats:
In his last outing against the Rays he made his third quality start of September; 6 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 5 Ks to 1 W; he shutout the Rays in the first 4 innings; 97 pitches, 62 for strikes and he lowered his ERA to 4.94.
YEAR TO DATE COMPARISON
Lester 9-14 4.94 K/W:167-32 ERA 4.94 WHIP 1.38 IP 200.1
Nova 12-8 5.02 K/W: 153-28 ERA: 5.08 WHIP 1.47 IP 170.1
If you weight the most recent starts against their 2012 stats, it suggests that Lester has the edge.
Then again, by game 161, “Pitcher’s Bane,” fatigue, is exacting maximum leverage and Lester  has 30 more innings and three more seasons on his arm mileage than Nova . Their career IP stats show that they have averaged about the same number per season, Lester: 1158 , Nova 377.2 , but the Boston LHP has logged about 780 more innings.
The Sox of 2012 have averaged 4.6 runs per game, but since losing Adrian Gonzalez in the Big Trade, the Sox have averaged just 3.4 runs per game.
The Yankees are out-hitting the Sox most categories:
“Rubbish!” says the Harvard Professor, “The biorhythms predict that Nova is going to have a bad day.”
He informs the slack-jawed Yankee fans that there are seven biorhythms that begin their phase at birth and repeat that continuous cycle, until death. Waving his right hand like legendary Boston Pops conductor, Arthur Fiedler, he demonstrates that the curve of a roller coaster can be above the mid-line [high energy] or below it [low energy], but, when the roller coaster is ON the mid-line [horizon] that biorhythm is in critical phase.
With the foam fading fast in their plastic Yankees beer cups, the “students” in section 201 listen attentively, as if the will be a final exam shortly, as the Professor recites the seven types of biorhythms:
“Major: Physical, Emotional, Intellectual.
Minor: Intuition, Esthetic, Self-awareness, Spiritual.”
With the class number increased by a peanut vendor and an usher, the Professor explains:
“Essentially being in that critical phase, which lasts for a day, means that Mr. Nova will experience difficulty in that biorhythm area; he will be Physically “off balance” and susceptible to an accident or injury. Or, for example, suppose you were Intellectually “off balance”–that would cause you to be susceptible to making bad decisions.
Or, maybe one of you four minor biorhythms, say Intuitive, is in critical phase and you are “off balance;” it would not be a good idea for you, if you were a MLB manager, to play a hunch. If your Esthetic biorhythm is critical, you should pick the color to paint the house another day.
“Says who?” challenges the Alpha male in the Bomber Backer gang.
“Listen,” says the Professor, who whips out an article from his briefcase and reads:
“It is said that Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland both overdosed on critical days in their biorhythm cycles. Coincidence? Or could the study of biorhythms have saved their lives?
This question–whether monitoring biorhythm cycles can actually make a difference in people’s lives–has been studied since the 1960s, when the writings of George S. Thommen popularized the idea.
Several companies began experimenting and although the Japanese were the first nation to apply biorhythms on a large scale, the Swiss were the first to see and realize the benefits of biorhythms in reducing accidents.
Hans Frueh invented the Bio-Card and Bio-Calculator, and Swiss municipal and national authorities appear to have been applying biorhythms for many years before the Japanese experiments. Swissair, which reportedly had been studying the critical days of its pilots for almost a decade previously, did not allow either a pilot or a co-pilot experiencing a critical day to fly with another experiencing the same kind of instability. Reportedly, Swissair had no accidents on those flights where biorhythm had been applied.”
As a concerned affect spreads across the Yankee rooters’ flaccid faces, the Professor concludes with a flourish: “Nova’s Physical and Esthetic biorhythms both hit the critical phase at noon and remain there until midnight today. In sum: he will struggle with physical activity and may even be prone to an injury and he will not perform with ease and grace.”
[So says the biorhythms computer at http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/biopage.cgi]
FAST FORWARD TO 2013:
New Red Sox manager, Bill “Spaceman” Lee needs to make a critical decision about who to send up to pinch hit with the bases loaded in the 9th inning.
He is sitting between the Sultan of Saber, Bill James and biorhythms guru James Williams; Bill James says that the pinch hitter, Ciriaco has good stats versus the pitcher on the hill and hits well in night games in Fenway; Williams says that the Ciriaco has no biorhythms in critical phase.
It seems like a no-brainer, but, when manager Lee runs his biorhythms’ chart on his iPad, and says: “I can’t decide!”
“Why not?” asks James.
“My Intellectual AND my Intuitive biorhythms are in critical phase today…” Lee replies.
Just then, the batboy answers the red phone and says to Lee: “It’s Mr. Lucchino…he says he’s got a hunch…send up Gomez to pinch hit…”
Lee suddenly says: “Ciriaco! Grab a bat!”
Puzzled, James Williams says to manager Lee: “What about your critical biorhythms?”
“Over-ruled!” replies manager Lee, tersely.
“But, Mr. Lee, I thought you believed in the biorhythm charts?” whines James Williams.
“Rule One.” Lee replies, cryptically.
“Rule One?” wonders James Williams, aloud.
Lee, smiles, laughs and replies: “Forget biorhythms–and SABRmetrics…
Rule One: Whatever Lucchino says–do the opposite…”