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Baseball StatHead: May 6, 2011

Posted by Neil Paine on May 6, 2011

Baseball StatHead: May 6, 2011

Stathead posts for today (with some catch-up from yesterday), including relegation thoughts, the worst fielders ever, and SABR award winners.

15 Responses to “Baseball StatHead: May 6, 2011”

  1. Neil L. Says:

    Clicked on Tango's link from the stathead list relating to the run-expectancy matrix. Very interesting hypothesis, based on 23 years of data.

    "Get ready for the return of small ball! Speedsters, split screens of pitchers/runners, tons of useless pickoffs (that part should be addressed if small ball is the reality), jack rabbits in the outfield. "

    Have a look. I am interested in your reactions.

  2. John Autin Says:

    Forgive me for going off-topic, but....
    In tonight's Braves-Phillies game, ATL starter Derek Lowe threw 6 no-hit innings, broken up by Shane Victorino starting the 7th.

    Meanwhile, his opposite number, Cliff Lee, equaled the live-ball record for strikeouts in an outing of 7 innings or less, with 16, tying Jake Peavy (twice) and Randy Johnson (3x, including once in relief).

    Lee allowed 9 hits and 3 runs, and unless the Phils rally from a 4-0 hole, those 16-K pitchers will fall to 2-4 in such games.

    Lee's previous high-K game was 13, last July. This April, he had two 12-K games and one of 11. He has taken over the MLB strikeout lead with 60, in 46.1 IP. (He did walk a batter tonight, da bum.)

  3. John Autin Says:

    Oh, and as of this writing (9:37pm EDT), Jaime Garcia of St. Louis has a perfecto through 6 IP, at home against Milwaukee.

  4. Neil L. Says:

    @3 @2

    John Autin, Cliff Lee with 16 SO in a losing effort. What is your take on his outing?

  5. John Autin Says:

    No perfecto, alas, so what else have we got....

    -- The worst modern season OPS by a qualifying 1B is .515 by Jiggs Donahue of the 1908 White Sox. No 1B in the live-ball era has had a season OPS below .555. I point this out because James Loney currently has a .500 OPS through 33 games (with one more PA coming tonight). Loney has a .250 OBP and .250 SLG, with 1 HR and 1 double in 120 AB.

  6. John Autin Says:

    Neil L -- Without having seen any of his pitches, my take is that Lee had an excellent game, and got unlucky in allowing 9 hits. Of course, I acknowledge that he could have made some bad pitches in the 3rd, when Atlanta started a 3-run rally by stringing 4 hits starting with 2 out and none on. The fact that 3 of those hits were doubles increases the probability that some of those pitches weren't where Lee wanted them. And yet, he got all 3 outs of that inning on called 3rd strikes; 9 of his 16 victims went down looking.

    The only walk he issued went to pitcher Derek Lowe. I may be misreading the B-R stats, which seem to conflict, but it's possible that Lee had never before walked the pitcher. (Before tonight, he had walked 356 in his career, and his Batting Order "non-P" splits add up to 356 walks; on the other hand, the Event Finder says he's given 2 walks to pitchers.) Lowe also had one of the hits.

    The Braves generally don't strike out a lot, by today's standards; they ranked 7th in the NL before tonight, averaging just under 7 Ks per game. They whiffed 18 times tonight; their previous high game was 12.

    The game was in Philly, where Lee had averaged over 1 K per inning before tonight, and now has 73 Ks in 62.2 IP. Don't know if the park actually helps him, or it's just a coincidence of timing, pitching for Philly during his best seasons. His career K/ is 7.0 -- but that breaks down to 6.8 K/9 in the AL and 8.9 in the NL.

    Interesting that he got 16 Ks after having just 2 in the first 2 innings. By inning: 2, 0, 3, 3, 2, 3, 3.

    Also interesting that Atlanta gave him his worst beating this year, in his 2nd start -- 6 runs on 10 hits in less than 4 IP. They also hung some ugly numbers on him over 2 games back in 2009; before tonight, his career ERA in 4 starts vs. Atlanta was almost 7 (worst of any team he's faced), with 31 hits in 19.1 IP. However, I don't know how much overlap there is between the lineup Atlanta used tonight and those of 2009.

    Without having seen the game, that's about all I can think of on short notice.

    What's your take?

  7. birtelcom Says:

    John, the box scores show Lee walking Reds pitcher Ramon Ortiz in a 2005 interleague game and walking Padres pitcher Brian Lawrence in another interleague contest a month later.

  8. Neil L. Says:

    John, how do I post after you?

    First off, situation is everything. I agree with you about his poor 3rd inning. Yet he struck out the side.

    I didn't realize his 16 SO were only in 7.0 IP, until I checked.

    How often has a pitcher had 16+ SO over 7 or less IP. And been trailimg the game.

    Finally, where was the Phillies offense?

  9. John Autin Says:

    Birtelcom, Thanks for the info on Lee's walking the pitcher.

    It means that his career splits by "Batting Order Positions" are incorrect, as the three "non-P" splits there add up to his career walk total -- or else I have misunderstood what those splits mean.

  10. John Autin Says:

    Of course, if I were smarter, I would have scrolled down and seen the splits by "Opposition Defensive Position," which show the 2 walks to pitchers.

  11. Timmy P Says:

    Neil L. - I think you're completely wrong about Juan not being worth the discussion, he is exactly the type of player we should be discussing. And concerning the Coriolis force, it's the Coriolis force not Coriolis effect. Baseball is a game of inches and if the way a tub of water drains while sitting still can be affected, certainly a round object being thrown 200' would be affected. The Coriolis force hurts left handed throwers, but helps left handed hitters. Ever see how effortless left handed hitters look? Ted Williams and Mark Grace come to mind. Mark Grace's swing was a thing of beauty, it was effortless like a rock rolling down a hill. Ted Williams would twist his body to add power. That is because the Coriolis force aided them, esp. in ball parks that were further north, Fenway, Wrigley. Juan Pierre has a beautiful swing also, although his intention is not to hit for power, it's to use his blazing speed to get to first base, so he can steel second.

  12. Timmy P Says:

    If there are any TV big shots out there, you should ask ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian about the Coriolis force, he's familiar with it and spoke about the difficulties left handed outfielders have making strong throws. I saw it on the intranet just last week, not on TV I don't have a TV.

  13. Phrozen Says:

    Timmy P, I can't tell if you're serious or not, but the coriolis force (or effect--both are legitimate) will have ZERO practical impact on the normal path of a baseball.

    Baseball is a game of inches, not microns.

  14. Timmy P Says:

    Phrozen - please site your study. Let me say that I am not aware of any study disproving the Coriolis force and it's relation to baseball. If you're aware please let me know. As to the use of force vs effect, there is a huge difference. The Coriolis force is there, it is real and it's force on all objects esp further north or south of the equator can not be denied. The coriolis effect is the perception one gets from observing it. Huge difference. Phrozen have you ever noticed how smooth the swings of all most all left-handed hitters are?

  15. Timmy P Says:

    One other thing, since they started playing major league baseball in Denver how many years of complaining about high ERA's and home runs were there before someone thought, hey you know not only are we a mile high, it's also incredibly dry up here. So let's stick these balls in a humidor and see what happens. That very small thing has made a huge differnce. Now go and weight a "dry" ball and a ball left in the humidor. I'll bet you the differnce is so small that NASA would say it's not going to affect the game. Well it has, and the numbers since at Coors Field don't lie.