Case IH extends hay and forage lineup with Optum Tractor Series and ISOBUS Class 3 capabilities

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Additions offer producers increased productivity and efficiency  To better meet power and equipment needs of high-volume hay and forage producers, Case IH beefed up its forage lineup this month with the new Optum tractor series. Fulfilling a new horsepower segment, the Optum tractor joins the company’s complete line of hay and forage equipment, which includes updates across its tractor lineup. Elevating baling productivity, Case IH also announced a new ISOBUS Class 3 enabled Feedrate Control system available for select LB4 series large square balers.“Case IH is proud to offer a full line of hay and forage equipment,” said Dave Henderson, Livestock Marketing, Case IH. “From hay cutting and handling equipment to balers and tractors, Case IH offers a lineup of innovative equipment to harvest and handle this important feedstuff, along with a broad mix of tractors designed to meet producer’s individual needs — no matter how unique or specialized.”New Optum tractor series delivers heavy-duty, year-round performance. From the iconic Farmall® series to the new Optum tractor, Case IH now offers producers four tractor series designed with the right mix of power, efficiency and versatility for any hay and forage task.A multipurpose workhorse, the Optum series features the necessary horsepower for high-volume hay and forage operations, plus enough muscle for larger tillage tools and planters. With PTO horsepower ranging from 240 to 270 hp, the tractor series delivers big-iron power, performance and comfort — plus outstanding features and technology, including the fuel-saving Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).“Built for heavy-duty, year-round application, the Optum series combines efficient power with operator convenience to handle the large workload and multiple tasks of hay and forage operations, row crop applications and farmstead upkeep,” said Dave Bogan, marketing manager, Maxxum/Puma Tractors. “Fulfilling a new horsepower requirement, we designed this series to meet the needs of customers looking for that optimal power-to-weight ratio for any field, cultivation or haulage task.”Highlighting the versatility of the Optum tractor, Bogan added, “It teams just as well with a large square baler or grain cart as it does with a midsize planter or seeder.”Mirroring its progressive feature set, the Optum tractor features new Case IH family styling. The modern look offers a redesigned hood, grille and roof cap with LED lighting, along with a spacious SurroundVision cab designed for maximum comfort and convenience.Other key Optum series features include:Efficient Power: Meeting Tier 4 B/Final emissions, Optum tractors feature Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR)-only technology to produce raw power and torque with less fuel. Additional fuel-saving technologies include a variable vane cooling fan and in-cab electronically shifted front and rear PTO economy speed options.Superior roadability: An available antilock braking system, autoguidance and in-cab tire pressure monitoring system provide greater productivity and control.Maximum versatility: Three bar-axle choices offer the complete range of wheel spacing options for row crop applications. A flange axle and tire offering — for large singles up to 900 mm wide — are also options. Large hydraulic pumps can run planters and seeders, plus reactive steering, suspended axle and cab suspension are built to power through any haulage task.ISOBUS Class 3 functionality: ISOBUS Class 3 enables the CVT Optum tractor and its approved implement to optimize the job at hand. Using ISOBUS Class 3, the implement can control tractor functions such as ground speed, rear PTO and rear hitch for increased performance and throughput.Multipurpose lineup offers comfort, performance and versatility. Highlighted by the Optum tractor, the Case IH hay and forage tractor lineup also includes similar updates across its Puma and Maxxum series offerings.Model Year 2016 Puma series enhancements: New roof cap styling, enhanced lighting packages and a redesigned grab-rail lighting structure improves form and function. Deluxe seating and leather-wrapped steering wheel options add comfort, and available antilock braking and hill-holder technology for powershift models provide greater roadability. CVT models include ISOBUS Class 3 functionality.Model Year 2016 Maxxum series enhancements: New seating choices, a radio antenna amplifier and HVAC control panel make an already best-in-class cab experience even better. A second accumulator added to the front-axle suspension system improves the overall ride. CVT models also include ISOBUS Class 3 functionality.Tractors team with LB4 series large square balers for high-tech haying. Pairing perfectly with the ISOBUS Class 3 functionality offered across the Case IH hay and forage tractor lineup, Model Year 2016 LB4 series large square balers are now even easier to operate. Available through AFS Connect, the new ISOBUS Class 3 functionality allows select balers to change settings on compatible tractors (Model Year 2016 CVT Optum, Puma and Maxxum tractors) to achieve maximum productivity and optimal bale quality.Appropriately named Feedrate Control, the advanced baling technology enables the baler to run at optimal performance by controlling the speed of the tractor. Using Feedrate Control, the baler controls the tractor’s forward speed through ISOBUS Class 3 commands, maintaining desired capacity by using a charge sensor. The system then calculates the best speed based on the information received from the sensors.Feedrate Control includes two running operations:Charge Control (available on LB334R and LB434R rotor cutter configurations): Charge Control automatically adjusts the tractor’s speed to reach optimal capacity inside the baler. This results in a higher feedrate throughput by up to 9 percent overall.Slice Control (available on all configurations of LB334 and LB434 models): Slice Control automatically adjusts the tractor’s speed based on bale slice thickness. This allows the operator to predetermine the number of slices per bale to create more consistency.“Feedrate Control helps producers maximize their productivity and efficiency by always running at full capacity — no matter the crop yield or level of operator experience,” said Cole Carling, marketing manager, Hay and Forage. “Without the need to monitor tractor speed, operators can work in comfort and with less fatigue. They also will have greater peace of mind knowing each bale is consistent in quality, flake size and shape.”Carling also pointed to increased fuel savings of up to 4 percent as a result of more-efficient baler operation.To learn more about the complete Case IH hay and forage offering, from cutting to conditioning and from balers to tractors, visit your local Case IH dealer or caseih.com.last_img read more

Wingnut Testing of Soffit-to-Ridge Venting, Round 2

first_imgIt has been a while since I blogged about my first round of Wingnut roof vent testing, so here is a reminder of the questions that the tests should answer: Does soffit-to-ridge cathedral roof air flow actually follow the nice neat arrows that ridge vent manufacturers show in their brochures? Does the configuration of a manufactured ridge vent make a difference in venting effectiveness? Does vent channel depth (the code requires a minimum depth of 1 inch) or roof pitch make a difference in air flow rates? What’s the difference in effectiveness between wind-driven ventilation and stack-effect-driven ventilation? The hiatus in publishing this blog sequel was mainly due to the fact that I had to work out a better approach to generating smoke, to make the testing more realistic at the “eave” and “ridge.” I also had to work out a way to test wind-driven venting. But as you will see below, all of these “improvements” mostly served to convince me that I need to field-verify the findings from my indoor Wingnut testing. The pressure was on, because about two months ago I committed to running a round of Wingnut roof vent testing for a local meeting, the Building Science Guild meeting of the Sustainable Energy Outreach Network (SEON) in late April 2019.RELATED ARTICLESWingnut Testing: Soffit-to-Ridge Roof VentingAll About Attic VentingHow to Build an Insulated Cathedral Ceiling Changes to the test rig and test protocol Here are the changes I made: 1. I bought a theatrical fogger to replace my handheld smoke sticks; see the photo at the top of the page. (There is a wide range of cost between different brands of foggers. Since I could not afford the “Cadillac” model — the Retrotec Tiny S, at $950 — I settled on a Chauvet DJ Hurricane 1000 for $120.)   Note how the vertical cardboard simulates the wall under an eave, and the cardboard “visor” simulates the roof overhang at the eave.  [Photo credit: Peter Yost, Building-Wright]. 2. I built a cardboard eave “wall” and soffit/overhang; see the photo above. For each pitch, we taped off the “trough” to better simulate the configuration of the space at the ridge of a cathedral roof assembly. [Photo credit: Alan Benoit, architect] 3. I taped over the unrealistic triangular void at the “ridge” — a void which changes shape with each pitch and represents an air space not typical of cathedral roof venting; see the photo above. I also added asphalt shingles above the ridge cap. (Since these shingles extend beyond each ridge vent, they are part of the geometry of vent flow.) 4. I used my Duct Blaster during testing to simulate wind-driven venting. A quick note about types of roof ridge vents There are, of course, a slew of different roof ridge vents (see photo below). I certainly have not tested all, or even most, of them, but I am can break them down into two types: those with vertical-leg baffles that extend well beyond the ridge cap shingles and those without the extended baffles. The five 2-foot length ridge vents shown in the photo are all commonly used by the roofing industry. Two on the left our essentially spacer mesh. The one in the middle is a corrugated vent, and the two on the right are vertical-leg baffle ridge vents. The left-hand three I am categorizing as non-vertical leg (without baffle) and the two on the right are vertical-leg baffled ridge vents. I am making this distinction because ridge vent manufacturers of the former style claim that the vertical-leg baffle is key to enhancing vent flow driven by wind. Round 2 testing results We set up the Wingnut roof vent test rig in the wood shop of the Windham Regional Career Center. (Instructor John DiMatteo is an active member of the Sustainable Energy Outreach Network guild). The first test was a roof assembly with a 3:12 pitch and a 1-inch-high vent space, tested for both stack-effect flow (simulated by heating the roofing with infrared heat lamps) and wind-driven flow (simulated with a Duct Blaster). See the photo at the top of the page, as well as the video below. [Video credit: Alan Benoit, architect]   With a low slope, the type of vent or the type of driving force doesn’t matter much. With this low of a slope, there is just not very significant vent flow at the ridge. We do get evidence of vent flow down and out the bottom of the opposite side from the driving forces (wind and stack effect). The second test was a roof assembly with a 10:12 pitch, a vertical-leg baffle type vent, a 1-inch vent space, and with stack effect as the driving force; see the video below. [Video credit: Jon Saccoccio, architect] Pitch makes a big difference, with much more flow from both sides of the ridge vent and much less down and out the opposite slope. The third test was a roof assembly with 10:12 pitch, a 1-inch-deep vent space, stack effect venting, but with a non-vertical leg ridge vent; see the video below. [Video credit: Jon Saccoccio, architect] We get pretty good vent flow up and out the ridge vent but still quite a bit of flow down and out the other slope. The fourth test was a roof assembly with a 10:12 pitch, a 1-inch-deep ventilation space, wind effect ventilation, and a vertical leg ridge vent; see the video below. [Video credit: Jon Saccoccio, architect] We finally get vent flow at the ridge very similar to the arrows most manufacturers show. And note the difference that occurs when we focus the wind effect up on the roof deck as opposed to all the turbulence created when wind hits the “eave” wall and soffit as well. We discovered how hard it is to measure the wind speed along the roof slope; pretty much all we know is that we got the wind pretty similar among our wind-driven tests (with the handheld anemometer reading 3 to 4 miles per hour). The fifth test was a roof assembly with a 10:12 pitch, 1-inch-deep ventilation space, wind effect venting, with a non-vertical leg ridge vent; see the video below. [Video credit: Jon Saccoccio, architect] For whatever reason, the non-vertical leg ridge vent configuration is significantly different from the vertical leg baffle ridge vent. There seems to be much more resistance at the soffit vent opening, and much less air flow, with the non-vertical leg ridge vent. What’s next? Everyone at the Building Science Guild meeting agreed: while the “benchtop” A-frame testing rig has been helpful in teasing out some understanding of the factors that affect soffit-to-ridge vent flow in cathedral roof assemblies, we need to field-verify the indoor testing. So I am hitting the road with my theatrical fogger and a good sturdy extension ladder to a slew of colleagues’ buildings to test soffit-to-ridge cathedral roof assembly air flows in the field, documenting the following conditions while assessing vent flow: Outdoor temperature Solar condition: sunny, partly cloudy, etc. Roof pitch Roof cladding (roofing material) Type of soffit vent Type of ridge vent Wind speed at roof eave above and below the soffit and at the ridge (if I can get to the ridge). Stay tuned for another round of Wingnut ridge vent testing, this time with videos from the field. Call to action You too can be a Wingnut: use the information just above to do your own fieldwork on soffit-t0-ridge vent testing on cathedral roof assemblies and report your results back here in the Comments section of this blog. Together, we can figure this out quite a bit faster than would be possible with just one Wingnut.   Peter Yost is GBA’s technical director. He is also the founder of a consulting company in Brattleboro, Vermont, called  Building-Wright. He routinely consults on the design and construction of both new homes and retrofit projects. He has been building, researching, teaching, writing, and consulting on high-performance homes for more than twenty years, and he’s been recognized as NAHB Educator of the Year. Do you have a building science puzzle? Contact Pete here.last_img read more

Hussen names 11 communities for rural immigration experiment

first_imgOTTAWA — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says 11 communities the federal government is choosing for a new rural immigration program will gain new workers and citizens that are badly needed to boost dwindling economies.On Friday Hussen announced the communities chosen for the “rural and northern immigration pilot” — a program that will give rural employers the ability to directly select immigrants to hire in their businesses and will also give immigrants the ability to choose one of these 11 communities to make their permanent residence.By taking the decisions on matching immigrants to employers and communities out of Ottawa’s hands, rural and northern areas struggling with population declines and worker shortages hope to find newcomers who want to come and stay.“People don’t realize just how much the rural economy needs immigration,” Hussen said.He has spoken to rural employers desperate for workers, some of whom are turning away multimillion-dollar contracts because of a lack of skilled labour.“Some of them are saying, ‘We’re going to make decisions to move if we don’t have the workers that we need,’ and that’s just unacceptable. And I know how much these small towns are relying on that large employer to stay in place.”With more than two-thirds of immigrants to Canada settling in bigger cities, municipal leaders in smaller towns and communities have been calling on Ottawa to do more to help them attract newcomers.A number of rural communities have already been investing in settlement and integration supports for newcomers to make their towns more attractive to immigrants looking for permanent homes in Canada.That’s what Ottawa was looking for when choosing the 11 communities. Now, those areas will receive a range of supports to test the new program.The selected communities are:—Thunder Bay, Sault-Ste-Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and North Bay, Ont.—Gretna-Rhineland-Altona-Plum Coulee and Brandon, Man.—Moose Jaw, Sask.—Claresholm, Alta.—West Kootenay and Vernon, B.C.This new program is designed after an experiment that has seen success in expanding the population and filling labour needs in the Atlantic provinces.The Atlantic model sees immigrants arriving in the region with job offers and settlement plans for them and their families. Before the program was introduced, the retention rate for newcomers in Nova Scotia was at 60 per cent — four in 10 immigrants moved on before long. Now, more than 90 per cent of immigrants who arrive in Nova Scotia through this program are staying.Teresa Wright, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Globalization of fur market helping Indigenous trappers

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe fur industry has long been a staple of the northern economy.And as globalization continues new markets are opening up like never before.APTN’s Wayne Rivers met with a trapper in the Northwest Territories who is ready to take full advantage of the opportunity for new costumers.last_img

Hudsons Hope RCMP say thefts break and enters have increased this month

first_imgOn September 7th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP were called to a local residence for unwanted persons refusing to leave. The unwanted persons left prior to police arrival, however, one returned a short time later, driving a vehicle to the scene. The driver was found to be intoxicated while driving and was issued a 90 day roadside driving prohibition. The vehicle was impounded for 30 days.On September 8th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP stopped a vehicle for speeding and expired trailer insurance.  Two rifles were observed in the vehicle and the driver produced an expired firearms license.  Charges for unauthorized possession of a firearm have been forwarded to Provincial Crown for approval.On September 12th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP were advised of a theft of Crossbow from a parked vehicle on Beryl Prairie Road.  The vehicle had the door lock punched out to gain access while the owner was out hunting.  File 2018-314 refers.On September 12th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP stopped a vehicle travelling at 158 Km/Hr on Hwy 29.  The driver was subsequently found to be impaired by alcohol and was issued a 90 day roadside driving prohibition and the work truck was impounded for 30 days.  The driver was also issued violation tickets for excessive speeding and driving contrary to restrictions. HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. – Constable Bill McKenna with the Hudson’s Hope RCMP published this month’s policing report, saying that the detachment has seen an increase in break and enters as well as thefts.During the past four weeks, Cst. McKenna said that police responded to 57 calls for service and issued 34 motor vehicle act warnings and violation tickets, which is less than half the number of tickets issued in August.In addition, he said that two impaired drivers were located and issued immediate roadside driving prohibitions during last month. On September 12th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP received a report of a theft of off road light bars that were unbolted and taken from a parked truck at Dunlevy boat launch. File 2018-317 refers.Anyone with information regarding current or past investigations can contact the Hudson’s Hope RCMP directly at 250-783-5241 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Visit http://crimestoppersnebc.ca/  for advice on submitting tips online and to browse the area’s “most wanted” page.center_img Cst. McKenna did say that the Hudson’s Hope area has had an increase in break and enters and theft reports in recent weeks.“Several files are under investigation and the public are asked to be vigilant, to secure their belongings, and to report any suspicious people or vehicles to local police,” he said. “Remote residential and business properties, unattended vehicles, and storage facilities have been the most targeted. Property owners are encouraged to safeguard their properties and to check them regularly.”The policing highlights from the past four weeks in Hudson’s Hope are as follows:On August 25th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP conducted a joint check stop with BC Conservation office at Farrell Creek road. Several warnings for minor infractions were issue to drivers.  One driver was issued a three month driving suspension under the Motor Vehicle Act.On August 27th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP responded to Trespassers fishing near the Peace Canyon Dam spill way.  The three were escorted out of the area and warned for Trespassing.  The public are not permitted to access the river between the bridge and dam.  Trespassers could be issued a $115.00 violation ticket for Trespassing and/or be charged criminally for mischief, for interfering in normal operation of the dam.  Please keep in mind that the restriction is for public safety as the spill way may be opened for emergency purposes with little notice to persons on the bank.On September 5th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP received a report of a stolen John Deer 50D Excavator and Hoe from a property near Reschke Road. Anyone with information can call the local detachment and quote file 2018-299last_img read more

City of Fort St John holds inaugural council meeting

first_imgGrimsrud and Zabinsky during the Councillors’ oath of offcie. Photos by Scott BrooksFollowing the oath of office, Mayor Lori Ackerman made an emotional speech saying that she looks forward to working with the new council.“I want to congratulate those who were elected to represent the city of Fort St. John. I look forward to working with you over the next four years and I appreciate your dedication to council”, said Ackerman.Outgoing councillors Larry Evans and Bruce Christensen were presented with gifts in honour of their service to council.Former Councillors Christensen and Evans surrounded by council as they were presented with parting gifts on behalf of the city. Photo by Scott BrooksThe next city council meeting is on Tuesday, November 13 at 3:00 p.m. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The city of Fort St. John held the first inaugural council meeting of the new term at City Hall on Monday night.The Honourable Brian Daley, Provincial Court Judge, was on hand to conduct the Mayor and Councillors’ Oath of Office.Becky Grimsrud and Tony Zabinsky were the new councillors among the six to be sworn in at the meeting.last_img read more

Gemini Man most demanding film of my career Will Smith

first_imgLos Angeles: Will Smith, who will be fighting his younger self in Oscar-winner Ang Lee’s Gemini Man, recently said the “emotional and physical challenges” of making the film have been the most demanding of his career. It is for the first time that Smith, known for his action-comedy roles in Hollywood has teamed up with Lee, one of the most genre-bending directors in the modern era. Billed as an innovative action-thriller, the Paramount Pictures film will see Smith as Henry Brogan, an elite assassin, who is suddenly targeted and pursued by a mysterious young operative that seemingly can predict his every move. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaThe trailer of the film, which dropped on Tuesday, shows jaw-dropping action scenes peppered with suspense and a de-aged Smith. The filmmaker and actor of Hollywood, Smith, who aged in reverse with the help of digital technology to play his 23-year-old version, called Lee’s direction “cinematic wizardry”. “Ang is pushing the limits to give people an experience in the movie theatre that you can’t get anywhere else. This is not only an action film, but an exploration of what one’s younger self can ultimately teach one’s older self. I’m 50-years-old now, and the irony of becoming 23-year-old Junior in this film is that 23-year-old me wouldn’t have been ready for this experience or to take on this role,” he said.last_img read more

Egypt judges urged to free jailed female protesters

first_imgby Mona SALEMCairo- The lawyer for 21 Egyptian women and girls jailed over an Islamist protest told appeal courts Saturday there was no evidence of their guilt and urged judges to free them.Wearing handcuffs but holding red roses, the 21 appeared in Alexandria courts in white prison garb in a case that has sparked an outcry. Many bore the word “Freedom” written in Arabic and English on the palms of their hands, and smiled from the metal-caged dock.The women and girls were convicted last month of taking part in a violent protest demanding Islamist President Mohammed Morsi’s reinstatement following his overthrow by the army in July.Fourteen women previously sentenced to 11 years in jail were ushered into the cage in the courtroom as the appeal by the seven girls was heard in an adjacent juvenile court.Their harsh sentences had shocked even supporters of the military-installed government.Lawyer Ahmed al-Hamrawy told the court there was no evidence to convict his clients and asked the judges to release them.“Even in Mubarak’s era there were morals. Egypt’s women and girls were a red line and they weren’t placed on trial,” he said, referring to ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, Morsi’s predecessor.“This is an oppressive sentence,” one defendant, Salma, told AFP during a court recess.She said her daughter was among the seven juveniles sentenced, and explained that they had both been near the October 31 protest by chance when arrested.“I have the right to express my opinion — this is a constitutional right, and we are currently political prisoners,” said another defendant, Aya Adel.The prosecutor general’s office charged that the women fought with knives and threw rocks during clashes that erupted during the protest in Egypt’s second city.Six men said to be Muslim Brotherhood leaders were tried in absentia in the same case and sentenced to 15 years.They were found guilty of inciting the women to cut key roads in the city during the clashes.There was a heavy police presence outside the court complex in the coastal city, where Morsi’s Islamist supporters have repeatedly clashed with opponents and security forces.During the recess, about 100 friends and relatives of the defendants stood outside the courtroom chanting “Down with military rule.”Hamrawy told AFP he expected the misdemeanor courts to either acquit them or release them on bail ahead of a final ruling.The jail terms, coming in the same week as a restrictive new protest law, re-energized Islamist opposition to the interim government and drew criticism even from its secular supporters.Hamdeen Sabbahi, a former presidential candidate and a leading dissident under Morsi, called on the interim president to pardon the girls and repeal the new law governing protests.The military-installed government has pressed a crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement that has killed more than 1,000 people and imprisoned thousands.Much of the Brotherhood’s leadership, including Morsi, is on trial on various charges of inciting violence.Courts have also handed out harsh sentences to Islamist protesters, including 12 men imprisoned for 17 years after a violent protest in Cairo.Amnesty International severely criticized the verdicts against the female protesters.It “shows the Egyptian authorities’ determination to punish dissent,” the rights grolast_img read more

The Heat Should Keep Playing Small Ball

Every NBA game between the Miami Heat and the Indiana Pacers is a contrast in styles. While the Pacers rely heavily on a starting lineup featuring two traditional big men, the Heat employ a multitude of flexible lineups favoring speed and shooting. This contrast presents advantages and disadvantages for both teams; each game, each team has to either make the other team adjust or adjust themselves.Through the first three games of Eastern Conference finals, the Heat were making the adjustment, using lineups with two traditional big men far more often than they did during the regular season. And though the Heat won two of the first three games, it didn’t work too well.Miami Heat Minutes Played And Point Differentials, By LineupThe Heat regularly use just three players who could reasonably be categorized as bigs: Chris Andersen, Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem. With Andersen unavailable in Game 4 because of a calf injury, the Heat were forced to stay small. They used the combination of Haslem and Bosh for just six minutes together about 13 percent of the game, a single stretch in which they outscored the Pacers by one point. Over the remaining 42 minutes, the Heat’s smaller lineups outscored the Pacers by 11 points. The Heat beat the Pacers 102-90 and lead the series 3-1.For the most part, the Pacers have outscored the Heat when Miami has two big men on the floor; the less Miami does that, the better off it is.Playing these small lineups helps spread the floor, opening driving lanes for the Heat’s ball handlers and stretching the Pacers’ defense. In Game 4, that stretch effect (and the open lanes that resulted) were one of the main factors in the Heat’s series-high 34 free-throw attempts. The Pacers complained about the officiating, but the Heat’s free-throw rate in Game 4 was roughly as far above their season average against the Pacers as their free-throw rate in Games 1 and 2 was below it.The Heat’s small lineups also coincided with the best game in the series from Bosh — 25 points on a 76.2 true shooting percentage. This development shouldn’t have been unexpected. Across the season, Bosh’s true shooting percentage was about 8 percentage points higher when he played without either Andersen or Haslem as compared with when he played alongside one of them.Game 4 gave the Heat firm control over the Pacers and the rest of the series, but it also provided an emphatic reminder: The Heat are at their best with a small lineup on the floor, even with its inherent drawbacks. read more

The Giants Clustered Their Luck

The 41,911 fans who filed into AT&T Park on June 8 got lucky. It was a perfect, 74-degree Sunday afternoon (instead of the notoriously fickle San Francisco weather), and the sky was filled with glorious sunshine. Those in attendance got a taste of baseball glory, too. The Giants beat the Mets 6-4 that day, making it five wins in a row for Los Gigantes. With that win, they improved to 42-21. A year after stumbling to a 76-86 record, the Giants owned the best record in baseball.They’ve been terrible ever since. San Francisco has lost 16 of its last 21 games, the worst record for any major league team during that time. After owning a 9.5-game lead in the NL West on June 8, the Giants have given most of it up, clinging to a half-game lead on the Dodgers. You can find all kinds of reasons for that swoon. Injuries forced journeyman Tyler Colvin and light-hitting rookie Joe Panik to take on regular playing time, with predictably bad results. Mike Morse, an early-season terror at the plate, hasn’t hit a lick for the past month. And closer Sergio Romo turned into a piñata, becoming former closer Sergio Romo in the process.Few could have predicted such a sharp and sudden drop. But one indicator did suggest that regression was coming, sooner or later: cluster luck.In a late-May Grantland column, I wrote about the concept of cluster luck as a way to explain how a series of good (or bad) events coming one after another can propel or punish a team:Joe Peta, a former Wall Street trader, presented cluster luck in his book, Trading Bases. Essentially, the concept boils down to this: When a team’s batters cluster hits together to score more runs and a team’s pitchers spread hits apart to allow fewer runs, that’s cluster luck. Say a team tallies nine singles in one game. If all of those singles occur in the same inning, the team would likely score seven runs; if each single occurs in a different inning, however, it’d likely mean a shutout.You’ll sometimes hear a broadcaster talk about a team that scores in bunches, or a pitcher who knows how to scatter hits. But those streaks don’t tend to last very long, since these aren’t sustainable skills for most teams, or players. So when a team has high cluster luck numbers, it usually means its luck isn’t going to last long. Losses are likely around the corner.Sports analyst Ed Feng, proprietor of ThePowerRank.com, calculates cluster luck by using the Base Runs formula to compare actual runs scored and runs allowed to expected runs scored and runs allowed. When that Grantland article ran just over a month ago, Feng had found that the 32-19 Giants ranked second in the majors in cluster luck. And while Giants hitters had bunched hits together about as well as an average team’s hitters would, their pitchers had been astoundingly fortunate, giving up 22 fewer runs than you’d expect over their first 51 games.1Three days after my Grantland article ran, the excellent Colorado Rockies blog Purple Row published an article that noted how the Giants had put up better numbers than any other team both in high-leverage pitching and hitting situations. So cluster luck wasn’t the only factor at work, nor the only one likely to regress.On Wednesday, Feng updated his cluster luck rankings. Below is the ranking of the 30 teams from luckiest to unluckiest:Whatever luck the Giants had earlier in the season, these latest numbers show that their good fortune has almost completely evaporated. A lot of that pullback falls on Romo. From May 29 to June 28, the team’s erstwhile closer allowed 12 hits in nine and two-thirds innings — subpar numbers for a closer, but not necessarily fatal ones, assuming those hits were spread out. They were not. Romo worked four straight perfect innings from June 4 through June 12, with all 12 of those hits coming in just six appearances. All told, opponents blasted him for 10 runs in those six appearances, netting a 16.88 ERA. The biggest beating came on June 13, when the Colorado Rockies clobbered him for four hits, drew a walk and tallied five runs in just one-third of an inning.2The Rockies have been a house of horrors for Romo this year. His past four outings against them netted this line: three innings pitched, 11 hits, 11 runs.The Giants are a talented team, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them contend for the NL West title, and maybe even make a run at the World Series. They have a young ace in Madison Bumgarner, Tim Hudson enjoying a late-career revival, Tim Lincecum suddenly pitching masterfully, All-Stars Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval heating up after lousy starts, excellent first baseman Brandon Belt due back soon after a long stint on the disabled list, and a general manager who’s made lots of aggressive trades in his 18 years at the helm. The cluster luck regression has come, yet they’re still hanging onto first place.We could see more teams experience cluster luck pullbacks, starting with Seattle. The Mariners boast plenty of front-line talent themselves, with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma at the top of the rotation. Robinson Cano is performing about as well as a guy with six home runs can, and 23-year-old Mike Zunino is emerging as a top defensive catcher and dangerous power hitter. Underrated third baseman Kyle Seager is putting up career-best numbers, and the bullpen is leading the American League both in ERA and in fielding-independent metrics. This is also a team with lots of holes, one that has 36-year-old banjo hitter Endy Chavez leading off every day, to name only the most glaring problem. Yet the Mariners are on fire, having won four in a row, 10 of their last 12, and 27 of their last 43 games.That’s what happens when your hitters bunch together hits better than any other team. Through Tuesday, the Mariners had scored 31 more runs than you’d expect from a club with average hit distribution. That Tuesday game offered a Ph.D.-level course in what happens when your hitters click at the same time. Coming into the sixth inning, Seattle clung to a narrow 3-1 lead. The first two batters of the inning reached on a walk and an infield single, followed by two straight groundouts by the lineup’s 1-2 hitters. Then, an outburst. Cano doubled. Seager doubled. Logan Morrison doubled. Zunino doubled. Michael Saunders singled. Finally, Ackley capped the monster inning with a sixth straight Mariners hit, this one an RBI single. All told, Seattle scored seven runs on seven hits in the sixth, an incredibly tough feat to pull off without the benefit of a single homer.None of this is meant to suggest that the Mariners will fall into an immediate slump, the way the Giants did.3Or that teams with poor cluster luck numbers like the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates will suddenly go on monstrous winning streaks and steamroll the rest of the league. There are good reasons to like the chances of all three of those teams, to varying degrees. They have the best pitcher in the American League, and a supporting cast that’s getting increasing contributions from younger players. After sweeping the lowly Astros, they now play seven straight against the struggling White Sox and Twins. And they recently called up top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker from the minors, a far better fifth starter than Erasmo Ramirez, Brandon Maurer or others Seattle might have considered.Still, the Ms probably shouldn’t settle for the roster they have now. They already opened the vault for Robinson Cano last winter, and they’ve got the ample TV revenue they’ll need to go after other big talents. The cluster luck beast is lurking in the shadows, and the trade deadline is coming up. Might as well try to fight back. read more