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Long Beginnings

Posted by Raphy on July 29, 2009

In addition to getting on base, one of the jobs of the lead-off hitter is to make the pitcher throw a lot of pitches. This allows the subsequent batters to get an idea of the opposing pitcher's stuff that game . Here are all the lead-off plate appearance since 1988 that were 13 pitches of longer:

  Date           Batter         Tm   Opp  Pitcher                Score        Inn RoB Out Cnt Pit RBI Play Desc.
-------------+-----------------+---+----+-----------------+-----------+---+---+---+---+---+---+-------------------------+
1988-06-07    Brian Downing     CAL @TEX Charlie Hough     tied   0-0  SO     t 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Strikeout Swinging
1989-06-07    Howard Johnson    NYM @CHC Rick Sutcliffe    tied   0-0  2B     t 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Double to RF (Line Drive to Deep RF)
1989-06-23    Dave Martinez     MON @CHC Mike Bielecki     tied   0-0  HR     t 1 ---   0 3-2  15   1 *LEADOFF GM*:Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF)
1990-05-27    Wade Boggs        BOS @MIN Kevin Tapani      tied   0-0  BB     t 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Walk
1990-06-30    Dwight Smith      CHC @SDP Andy Benes        tied   0-0  SO     t 1 ---   0 3-2  14   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Strikeout Looking
1991-10-05    Paul Molitor      MIL @BOS Tom Bolton        tied   0-0  BB     t 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Walk
1992-09-26    Pat Listach       MIL  OAK Ron Darling       tied   0-0  BB     b 1 ---   0 3-2  17   0 Walk
1993-08-23    Wade Boggs        NYY @CHW Jason Bere        tied   0-0  1B     t 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Single to CF (Line Drive to Deep SS-2B)
1996-08-25    Wayne Kirby       LAD  NYM Pete Harnisch     tied   0-0  BB     b 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 Walk
1998-06-18    Johnny Damon      KCR @DET Justin Thompson   tied   0-0  SO     t 1 ---   0 2-2  13   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Strikeout Swinging
1998-06-30    Johnny Damon      KCR @STL Manuel Aybar      tied   0-0  SO     t 1 ---   0 3-2  15   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Strikeout Swinging
2000-08-14    Tony Womack       ARI @PHI Kent Bottenfield  tied   0-0  Out    t 1 ---   0 3-2  14   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Groundout: 3B-1B
2001-06-10    Jose Offerman     BOS  PHI Robert Person     down   0-1  Out    b 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 Popfly: 3B
2003-09-25    Scott Podsednik   MIL @HOU Tim Redding       tied   0-0  SO     t 1 ---   0 2-2  14   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Strikeout Looking
2004-04-23    Mark Kotsay       OAK  ANA Jarrod Washburn   down   0-2  BB     b 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 Walk
2004-09-02    Aaron Miles       COL @SFG Jason Schmidt     tied   0-0  SO     t 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Strikeout Swinging
2005-07-01    Scott Podsednik   CHW @OAK Rich Harden       tied   0-0  BB     t 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Walk
2006-04-14    Cory Sullivan     COL  PHI Ryan Madson       down   0-1  Out    b 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 Flyball: LF (Deep LF)
2007-08-19    Matt Stairs       TOR  BAL Jeremy Guthrie    tied   0-0  Out    b 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 Flyball: CF (Deep CF)
2009-05-20    Chone Figgins     LAA @SEA Chris Jakubauska  tied   0-0  Out    t 1 ---   0 3-2  13   0 *LEADOFF GM*:Groundout: 2B-1B
  • Wade Boggs, Johnny Damon and Scott Podsednik each pulled it off twice. Damon's two at-bats accounted for half of the strike-out swingings on the list.
  • Pat Listach ran up the highest pitch total with 17, but Dave Martinez , who had the second longest at bat, wins the prize for homering on the 15th pitch.
  • Damon(1) and Podsednik(1) didn't even make it to 3 ball counts.
  • In total the players went 3-14 with a double, homer, 6 walks and 6 strikeouts.
The information in this post was collected from a series of "team batting event finder" searches.
Selecting 1st inning, 0 out, no runners on base,  batting 1st and 7+ pitches and searching for
Plate Appearances for all teams will give you an easy to scan list of long lead-off at bats.
(Selecting "Leading off the Game" will give you a similar list, but will only include visiting players.)

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 at 5:00 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.

3 Responses to “Long Beginnings”

  1. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    That's a pretty good composite batting line. If I calculated correctly, a .450 OBP and a .500 SLG. Leading off the game, a walk truly is as good as a single, so the low BA doesn't really matter. And all the K's are no worse than any other out. Obviously it's a miniscule sampling of PAs, but these long beginnings definitely appear to pay off for the offense.

  2. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Someone told me not too long ago that she (yes, she) thought that the one thing that sets major leaguers apart from all other levels, even AAA, is the ability to keep fouling off pitches, presumably to tire out the pitcher.

  3. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    I don't think most major leaguers purposely foul off pitches to tire out the pitcher. I do think some foul off pitches they can't handle, and yes I agree that is a skill which lesser players do not have.