Posted by Neil Paine on April 20, 2011
B-R reader Blake had an interesting question this morning:
"You folks are great at acquiring information like this, so I would like to ask:
Could you produce a list of the occasions when a visiting team starting pitcher has had an AB before he has thrown his first pitch in a ballgame?"
Using the Play Index Batting Event Finder, you can set up a search for all PAs in a given year range by a visiting pitcher in the 1st inning:
Of those 189 instances since 2003:
- All but two teams -- the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays -- had a pitcher bat before throwing a pitch. The leaders, predictably, are all NL teams; St. Louis saw this happen an MLB-high 15 times, while the Padres and D-Backs had it happen 14 times apiece. The Twins and Angels led the AL with 3 instances apiece.
- Pittsburgh pitchers allowed it to happen the most, as they saw their counterpart in the top of the 1st 25 times. Right behind them were the Rockies (20) and Reds (17).
- The visiting pitcher hit .110/.148/.134, which sort of hampers your chances of making it all the way back to the top of the order -- although away leadoff men also saw a second 1st-inning PA 96 times over the same time span.
Here's how often it happened each season:
Finally, here are all of the pitchers since 2003 who had multiple games where they either batted before throwing a pitch, or allowed the opposing P to bat before throwing a pitch: