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Brandon Morrow finally gets a ground-ball double play

Posted by Andy on September 25, 2011

The other night Brandon Morrow finally registered his first ground-ball double play of the season. It came against Desmond Jennings of all people, in a game against Tampa Bay.

Provided he doesn't get another GIDP this season, Morrow will finish way out in first place for the most innings pitched in a season since 1919 (as far back as we have GIDP data) recording 1 or none ground-ball double plays.

Rk Player IP GDP WHIP Year Tm G GS GF SV H R ER BB SO ERA ERA+
1 Brandon Morrow 173.1 1 1.275 2011 TOR 29 29 0 0 157 101 92 64 196 4.78 89
2 Gene Nelson 123.2 1 1.253 1987 OAK 54 6 15 3 120 58 54 35 94 3.93 106
3 Cloyd Boyer 120.1 1 1.280 1950 STL 36 14 9 1 105 52 47 49 82 3.52 122
4 Jeff Reardon 110.1 1 1.296 1980 NYM 61 0 35 6 96 36 32 47 101 2.61 136
5 Jack Meyer 110.1 1 1.278 1955 PHI 50 5 36 16 75 50 42 66 97 3.43 116
6 Ross Ohlendorf 108.1 1 1.385 2010 PIT 21 21 0 0 106 54 49 44 79 4.07 100
7 Bill Singer 106.1 1 1.044 1970 LAD 16 16 0 0 79 39 37 32 93 3.13 122
8 Ray Narleski 104.1 1 1.572 1959 DET 42 10 21 5 105 83 67 59 71 5.78 70
9 Jose Bautista 100.2 1 1.450 1995 SFG 52 6 19 0 120 77 72 26 45 6.44 63
10 Bill Campbell 100.0 1 1.290 1982 CHC 62 0 39 8 89 44 41 40 71 3.69 101
11 Moe Drabowsky 98.0 1 1.000 1969 KCR 52 0 37 11 68 33 32 30 76 2.94 125
12 Russ Springer 96.2 0 1.490 1996 PHI 51 7 12 0 106 60 50 38 94 4.66 92
13 Orlando Hernandez 94.2 1 1.394 2001 NYY 17 16 0 0 90 51 51 42 77 4.85 93
14 David Weathers 93.0 1 1.505 1999 MIL 63 0 14 2 102 49 48 38 74 4.65 98
15 Al Holland 91.2 0 1.015 1983 PHI 68 0 53 25 63 26 23 30 100 2.26 160
16 Dave Beard 91.2 1 1.309 1982 OAK 54 2 39 11 85 41 35 35 73 3.44 113
17 Scott Sanders 90.0 1 1.222 1995 SDP 17 15 0 0 79 46 43 31 88 4.30 95
18 Craig Lefferts 89.0 1 1.225 1983 CHC 56 5 10 1 80 35 31 29 60 3.13 121
19 Pete Cimino 88.1 1 1.177 1967 CAL 46 1 19 1 73 38 32 31 80 3.26 96
20 Pete Schourek 86.1 1 1.448 1991 NYM 35 8 7 2 82 49 41 43 67 4.27 86
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/25/2011.

This is quite a list huh? Aside from everything else, I love seeing Clete Boyer's less-well-known brother Cloyd on there, not to mention the other Jose Bautista.

There's a ton of variation on this list. Some guys had great seasons. Others did not. Some made it here because they just didn't allow all that many baserunners, cutting down on the number of GIDP opportunities. Nearly every pitcher on here has a good strikeout rate, and obviously strikeouts prevent GIDPs too.

The thing about Morrow is that he's an extreme fly-ball pitcher. Check out his ground ball to fly ball ratios:

Year Tm GB/FB GO/AO
2007 SEA 0.50 0.77
2008 SEA 0.49 0.57
2009 SEA 0.57 0.70
2010 TOR 0.66 0.89
2011 TOR 0.57 0.66
5 Seasons 0.57 0.72
MLB Averages 0.79 1.07
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/25/2011.

For his career, he's got nearly 2 fly balls allowed for every 1 ground ball, where as the league average is more like 1.3 fly balls per ground ball. I would presume the same is true for most of the guys on this list.

Thanks to reader Dave H. for emailing in about Morrow.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 25th, 2011 at 9:00 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

25 Responses to “Brandon Morrow finally gets a ground-ball double play”

  1. Funny thing is that he should have had his second GDP in the very next inning. A bad relay throw from 1st basemen David Cooper only allowed them to get the out at second.

  2. Based on what Corey said, I might have thought that pitchers with poor-fielding middle infielders would also tend to have low GDP totals, since their guys aren't getting to balls to turn two, but that doesn't seem to be the case, at least for Morrow. His 2Bs have an Rtot of +6 and his SSs are +13.

  3. Johnny Twisto Says:

    GIDP data for pitchers is only back to 1950.

  4. at least we know how morrow is getting his outs (via strikeout), how the hell did the rest of those guys do it? none of them have anywhere near his K rate except al holland

  5. Good point, Andy. I've often wondered why Morrow doesn't get better results, given his high K rate (10.1 K/9 career). His career ERA+ of 97 is the worst of the 34 pitchers with 500+ IP and at least 9.2 K/9.

    The dearth of DPs is part of the puzzle.

  6. I think the biggest piece to that puzzle is that he never met a batter he couldn't walk.

  7. Yippeeyappee Says:

    #6. Morrow is actually 12th on this in walks per inning.

  8. Yeah, Morrow can get yip-ie. When he's dialed in, as he was during that 17K game last year or his last game with the M's, he'll only walk a couple while striking out a ton. But when he can't find his control, he'll walk the world. That was his undoing as a closer with Seattle (after he'd decided his diabetes wouldn't allow him to start), and it seems like it remains a problem for him in Toronto. If he can ever get consistent from start to start he'll put up a heck of a season, but as a flyball pitcher he's always going to be at a disadvantage at Coors North vs Safeco.

  9. As Johnny mentioned GIDP for pitchers goes back to 1950, which means it is reliant on PBP. Some one of the pitchers are is on the list because of missing PBP data.

    Cloyd Boyer had at least 1 more GIDP in this game: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN195007210.shtml . I suspect there are others, but I didn't check carefully once he no longer qualified.

    Jack Meyer had only 2 appearances without PBP. In one of them he only pitched .1 innings, so that is safe. The other a game in which Meyer pitched 1.2 innings. However, based on the batters faced for each pitcher, it appears that the GIDP from that game was not when Meyer was on the mound, so he still qualifies.

    The other pitchers all have PBP in all of their appearances.

  10. oneblankspace Says:

    Too bad he couldn't have pitched against the Cardinals.

  11. oneblankspace Says:

    I'm so glad that as a USAmerican, I can get a green card.

  12. The other curiosity about Morrow this year is that he has not surrendered a single HR in any of the 11 games for which he was credited with the win. This is more surprising still given his FB/GB ratio. On the flip side, he has surrendered 15 HR in his 11 losses and 5 in his 7 NDs.

    I was trying to come up with a way to seach for such a streak in PI, but couldn't do it. I could search for streaks within a subset of pitching games defined by getting a decision (win or loss), but not within a subset defined by getting a winning decision.

  13. Doug - You can do this search by using the advanced criteria in the player streak finder.

  14. According to his splits, in 2011, Morrow does his best when bases are empty or when the only baserunner is on first.

  15. @13.

    Thanks for the tip, Ralphy.

    In fact, Brandon's current 11-game streak of no homers is his wins as a starter is the longest of 2011. Chris Carpenter currently has an intact 10 game streak.

    Historically, though, those streaks are peanuts. In the game-searchable era, 12 of the 17 longest streaks occurred over just 10 years, 1919 to 1928. Bill Doak (Cards and Brooklyn) leads the way with a 56-game streak (1919-24).

    Longest streaks since expansion are #10 Rick Rhoden (32 games, 1977-82) and #14 Nolan Ryan (29 games, 1979-82). Longest streak this century is Tim Lincecum at 17 games in 2008-09.

  16. @15.

    To clarify on Chris Carpenter's current 10 game streak of no homers in his 2011 wins as a starter. This streak actually extends back to 2010, and now stands at 14 games since then.

  17. Yes, Ralphy. Great tip, Ralphy.

  18. Be nice, Andly.

  19. i thought to myself, "Self? I wonder if Morrow tends to give up more base runners when there are 2 outs? Thus no chance of a double play?"

    Zero/one out: 118 singles and walks/HBP. (153 total base runners)
    Two outs: 80 total base runners.

    Two thirds of his base runners come with 2 outs in the inning.

    Is that normal or an anomaly?

  20. @19, Gonzo -- I'm not following those numbers.

  21. I described his stats strangely, didn't I? I see why you don't follow.

    I was trying to say that he was at his worst with 2 outs, where there is no chance of a double play. 233 total base runners, 80 of them with 2 outs.

    153 base runners with zero/one out. 110 of those were singles, walks or HBP (Which are double play opportunities).

    Is it the norm around the league for pitchers to be at their worst with 2 outs?

  22. A ground double play is not a ground double play unless the umpire feels like to call it that way.

  23. Maybe I'm just an overly sensitive Cardinals fan, but can't Clete and Cloyd Boyer both be described as less-well-known brothers of Ken?

    It may be a lot closer than describing the 1962 Braves as Tommy and the other Aaron, but still...

  24. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Gonzo/21, you're still describing it strangely. I can't figure out what you're adding or how you're determining that two-thirds of his baserunners have come with two outs. That's not the case. But it is true that he has pitched far worse with two outs, and no, that's not normal.

    David/23, I was thinking the same thing.

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