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Archive for May, 2009

When The Going Gets Tough

Posted by Steve Lombardi on May 29, 2009

This is not via Play Index, but, rather from one of the fun Baseball-Reference.com toys that can be found in the Frivolities section of the site.  It's from the Team Game Log Reports - an area which is a series of tools that slice and dice game-by-game results from 1901 to the present in a wide variety of ways.  The tool used here was Situational Reports For Teams' Wins and Losses - which is a form that will create a report showing the won-loss record and the number of runs scored and allowed in various situations.

I was curious about how teams did when playing someone with a winning percentage of .600+ during the 5 year period prior to this season.  So, I set the controls for "From 2004 To 2008 and Greater Than or Equal to a .600 Opponent's Season W-L%" and this is what I got:

Rk    Tm  G  W  L W-L%  RS  RA pythW-L%
1    ANA 28 15 13 .536 146 120     .589
2    CHC 41 21 20 .512 177 176     .503
3    PHI 25 12 13 .480 128 125     .511
4    HOU 51 24 27 .471 210 229     .460
5    TEX 49 23 26 .469 255 269     .476
6    SFG 22 10 12 .455  89  99     .451
7    CHW 29 13 16 .448 135 137     .493
8    BOS 38 17 21 .447 182 218     .418
9    MON 21  9 12 .429  67  89     .373
10   MIN 38 16 22 .421 138 150     .462
11   MIL 49 20 29 .408 201 251     .400
12   FLA 20  8 12 .400  69  94     .362
13   STL 15  6  9 .400  62  66     .471
14   NYY 38 15 23 .395 179 198     .454
15   NYM 28 11 17 .393 121 150     .403
16   OAK 49 19 30 .388 243 258     .473
17   BAL 58 22 36 .379 310 332     .469
18   SDP 29 11 18 .379 120 154     .388
19   ATL 24  9 15 .375  96 132     .358
20   CLE 41 15 26 .366 189 190     .498
21   LAD 35 12 23 .343 128 160     .399
22   CIN 50 17 33 .340 221 287     .383
23   TOR 59 20 39 .339 233 310     .372
24   TBD 59 20 39 .339 246 344     .351
25   ARI 25  8 17 .320  97 136     .350
26   DET 42 13 29 .310 146 209     .342
27   SEA 49 15 34 .306 207 261     .396
28   COL 29  8 21 .276 126 185     .331
29   KCR 41 11 30 .268 169 220     .382
30   PIT 51 13 38 .255 192 318     .284

It's pretty hard to play .500-ball, or better, when facing a team with a winning percentage of .600+, huh? Well, at least, over the last five years, overall, many teams have not been able to do it.

What I find interesting here is that, from 2004 through 2008, teams like the Angels and Cubs have broken-even when they have played tough teams whereas other teams who have posted many wins over the last 5 years, like the Yankees and Mets, have not be able to win as much as they lose when facing stronger teams.

Aren't New Yorkers supposed to be tough? (I say this...joking...in case anyone thinks I'm dissing New York. As a native New Yorker, I don't mean to offend anyone from the area too.)

2 Comments | Posted in History

Best H/9IP, minimum 300 IP

Posted by Andy on May 29, 2009

On yesterday's post we've talked a lot about Bob Gibson's 1968 season in which he pitched 304.2 innings and allowed only 198 hits. Would you believe that this is NOT the best hit rate for a guy with at least 300 IP?

  Cnt Player             **H/9**    IP  Year Age Tm  Lg  G   GS CG SHO GF  W  L  W-L% SV  H   R   ER  BB  SO   ERA  ERA+ HR  BF   AB  2B 3B IBB HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS Pk BK WP   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  OPS+  Pit  Str
+----+-----------------+---------+-----+----+---+---+--+---+---+--+---+--+--+--+-----+--+---+---+---+---+---+------+----+--+----+----+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+----+
    1 Sandy Koufax         5.79   335.2 1965  29 LAD NL  43  41 27   8  2 26  8  .765  2 216  90  76  71 382   2.04  160 26 1297 1205 29  7   4   5  13   3  13  16  4  1  0 11  .179  .227  .280  .507   52           
    2 Bob Gibson           5.85   304.2 1968  32 STL NL  34  34 28  13  0 22  9  .710  0 198  49  38  62 268   1.12  258 11 1161 1075 23  0   6   7  15   2  18   6  5  0  0  4  .184  .233  .236  .469   47           
    3 Ed Walsh             5.89   369.2 1910  29 CHW AL  45  36 33   7  7 18 20  .474  5 242  90  52  61 258   1.27  189  5 1386                  4                        2  6                            0           
    4 Nolan Ryan           5.98   332.2 1974  27 CAL AL  42  41 26   3  1 22 16  .579  0 221 127 107 202 367   2.89  118 18 1392 1165 38  6   3   9  12   4  24  28 21  3  0  9  .190  .313  .279  .592   76           
    5 Vida Blue            6.03   312   1971  21 OAK AL  39  39 24   8  0 24  8  .750  0 209  73  63  88 301   1.82  185 19 1207 1103 28  3   3   4   9   3  23   7  7  0  1 10  .189  .251  .272  .523   55           
    6 Walter Johnson       6.03   346   1913  25 WSH AL  48  36 29  11 11 36  7  .837  2 232  56  44  38 243   1.14  259  9 1305                  9                        0  3                            0           
    7 Pete Alexander       6.05   376.1 1915  28 PHI NL  49  42 36  12  7 31 10  .756  3 253  86  51  64 241   1.22  225  3 1435                 10                        0  2                            0           
    8 Mordecai Brown       6.17   312.1 1908  31 CHC NL  44  31 27   9 12 29  9  .763  5 214  64  51  49 123   1.47  160  1 1180                  5                        0  6                            0           
    9 Sandy Koufax         6.19   311   1963  27 LAD NL  40  40 20  11  0 25  5  .833  0 214  68  65  58 306   1.88  159 18 1210 1135 28  6   7   3  13   1   9  11  1  0  1  6  .189  .230  .271  .501   54           
   10 Walter Johnson       6.32   369   1912  24 WSH AL  50  37 34   7 13 33 12  .733  2 259  89  57  76 303   1.39  242  2 1426                 16                        0 11                            0           
   11 Jack Coombs          6.32   353   1910  27 PHA AL  45  38 35  13  6 31  9  .775  1 248  74  51 115 224   1.30  182  0 1388                  7                        0 10                            0           
   12 Rube Waddell         6.33   328.2 1905  28 PHA AL  46  34 27   7 11 27 10  .730  0 231  86  54  90 287   1.48  179  5 1300                 10                        2 10                            0           
   13 Walter Johnson       6.37   370   1910  22 WSH AL  45  42 38   8  3 25 17  .595  1 262  92  56  76 313   1.36  183  1 1402                 13                        0 21                            0           
   14 Eddie Cicotte        6.39   346.2 1917  33 CHW AL  49  35 29   7  9 28 12  .700  4 246  76  59  70 150   1.53  174  2 1288                  3                        2  1                            0           
   15 Babe Ruth            6.40   323.2 1916  21 BOS AL  44  41 23   9  3 23 12  .657  1 230  83  63 118 170   1.75  158  0 1300                  8                        1  3                            0           
   16 Gaylord Perry        6.42   322.1 1974  35 CLE AL  37  37 28   4  0 21 13  .618  0 230  98  90  99 216   2.51  144 25 1262 1127 34  7   7   6  19  12  27  12  6  3  0  2  .204  .269  .313  .582   67           
   17 Addie Joss           6.42   325   1908  28 CLE AL  42  35 29   9  6 24 11  .686  2 232  77  42  30 130   1.16  205  2 1244                  2                        0  6                            0           
   18 Denny McLain         6.46   336   1968  24 DET AL  41  41 28   6  0 31  6  .838  0 241  86  73  63 280   1.96  154 31 1288 1206 38  5   2   6  10   3  19  19  5  1  0  3  .200  .243  .317  .560   72           
   19 Mordecai Brown       6.46   342.2 1909  32 CHC NL  50  34 32   8 15 27  9  .750  7 246  78  50  53 172   1.31  193  1 1302                  7                        0  9                            0           
   20 Claude Hendrix       6.51   362   1914  25 CHI FL  49  37 34   6 12 29 10  .744  5 262  91  68  77 189   1.69  174  6 1371                  5                        0  9                            0           
   21 Bugs Raymond         6.55   324.1 1908  26 STL NL  48  37 23   5  8 15 25  .375  2 236 116  73  95 145   2.03  116  2 1247                 14                        0  9                            0           
   22 Nolan Ryan           6.57   326   1973  26 CAL AL  41  39 26   4  2 21 16  .568  1 238 113 104 162 383   2.87  122 18 1355 1172 53  5   2   7   7   7  24  37 10  4  0 15  .203  .302  .303  .605   77           
   23 Christy Mathewson    6.57   390.2 1908  27 NYG NL  56  44 34  11 10 37 11  .771  5 285  85  62  42 259   1.43  168  5 1499                  3                        0  2                            0           
   24 George McQuillan     6.58   359.2 1908  23 PHI NL  48  42 32   7  6 23 17  .575  2 263  87  61  91 114   1.53  157  1 1409                  6                        0  5                            0           
   25 Gaylord Perry        6.64   342.2 1972  33 CLE AL  41  40 29   5  1 24 16  .600  1 253  79  73  82 234   1.92  170 17 1345 1235 43  9  16  12  15   1  27   5  8  0  0 11  .205  .261  .296  .557   68           

Nope, Koufax gets the top slot on this particular list. Notice that the only pitchers on here to approach modern day are Koufan, Gibson, Ryan, and Perry. Of course, that's mainly due to the fact that nobody pitches 300 innings in a season any more (plus hit rates are too high...)

Do you know who pitched the most recent 300-inning season? Most fans will know right off that it was Steve Carlton in 1980:

  Cnt Player            Year   IP  Age Tm  Lg  G   GS CG SHO GF  W  L  W-L% SV  H   R   ER  BB  SO   ERA  ERA+ HR  BF   AB  2B 3B IBB HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB CS Pk BK WP   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  OPS+  Pit  Str
+----+-----------------+----+-----+---+---+--+---+---+--+---+--+--+--+-----+--+---+---+---+---+---+------+----+--+----+----+--+--+---+---+---+---+---+---+--+--+--+--+-----+-----+-----+-----+----+----+----+
    1 Steve Carlton     1980 304    35 PHI NL  38  38 13   3  0 24  9  .727  0 243  87  79  90 286   2.34  162 15 1228 1114 50 13  12   2  14   8  14  14 16  9  7 17  .218  .276  .327  .603   69           
    2 Phil Niekro       1979 342    40 ATL NL  44  44 23   1  0 21 20  .512  0 311 160 129 113 208   3.39  120 41 1436 1290 50  6   8  11  14   7  25  40 11  2  4 18  .241  .306  .384  .690   88           
    3 Phil Niekro       1978 334.1  39 ATL NL  44  42 22   4  1 19 18  .514  1 295 129 107 102 248   2.88  142 16 1389 1254 42 10   5  13  13   6  13  34 12  4  3 11  .235  .298  .323  .621   71           
    4 Jim Palmer        1977 319    31 BAL AL  39  39 22   3  0 20 11  .645  0 263 106 103  99 193   2.91  132 24 1269 1148 42  9   1   3  10   9  22  15 30  1  0  7  .229  .290  .344  .634   77           
    5 Steve Rogers      1977 301.2  27 MON NL  40  40 17   4  0 17 16  .515  0 272 122 104  81 206   3.10  122 16 1235 1121 44 10   3   5  18   9  23  24 13  4  1 14  .243  .294  .343  .637   77           
    6 Dave Goltz        1977 303    28 MIN AL  39  39 19   2  0 20 11  .645  0 284 129 113  91 186   3.36  120 23 1253 1149 41 14   4   2   7   5  26  18 16  6  1  9  .247  .302  .367  .669   82           
    7 Phil Niekro       1977 330.1  38 ATL NL  44  43 20   2  1 16 20  .444  0 315 166 148 164 262   4.03  111 26 1428 1236 44  9  12   8  11   8  26  47 32  4  3 17  .255  .344  .368  .712   88           
    8 Randy Jones       1976 315.1  26 SDP NL  40  40 25   5  0 22 14  .611  0 274 109  96  50  93   2.74  120 15 1251 1173 40  3   9   4  15   9  34  15  3  2  1  0  .234  .265  .311  .576   74           
    9 Jim Palmer        1976 315    30 BAL AL  40  40 23   6  0 22 13  .629  0 255 101  88  84 159   2.51  130 20 1256 1140 35  8   5   8  10  14  20  33 15  3  0  5  .224  .278  .321  .599   80           
   10 Gaylord Perry     1975 305.2  36 TOT AL  37  37 25   5  0 18 17  .514  0 277 127 110  70 233   3.24  116 28 1248 1159 45  7   6   4  11   3  15  12 17  2  0  5  .239  .284  .362  .646   82           
   11 Jim Palmer        1975 323    29 BAL AL  39  38 25  10  1 23 11  .676  1 253  87  75  80 193   2.09  169 20 1268 1172 37 10   4   2  10   4  32  29 11  1  0  4  .216  .266  .316  .582   68           
   12 Jim Kaat          1975 303.2  36 CHW AL  43  41 12   1  1 20 14  .588  0 321 121 105  77 142   3.11  125 20 1279 1172 51  6   0   9  11  10  31   4 12  2  2  0  .274  .321  .379  .700   95           
   13 Andy Messersmith  1975 321.2  29 LAD NL  42  40 19   7  2 19 14  .576  1 244  92  82  96 213   2.29  149 22 1276 1148 29  3   2   5  20   7  24  14  7  2  0  8  .213  .275  .301  .576   67           
   14 Catfish Hunter    1975 328    29 NYY AL  39  39 30   7  0 23 14  .622  0 248 107  94  83 177   2.58  144 25 1294 1191 38  5   4   5   7   8  17  15 14  0  0  7  .208  .261  .312  .573   62           

From 1966 to 1975, it was common for at least 4 guys to do it per year, including 9 in 1969.

3 Comments | Posted in Season Finders

Most conseuctive starts 7+ IP to start a season

Posted by Andy on May 28, 2009

Roy Halladay did it again last night, pitching 7 innings in the Blue Jays' eventual 12-10 loss (their 9th straight--ouch!) He's gone at least 7 innings in every one of his 11 starts so far this year, but as you might except he's a long way from the record for most starts with 7+ IP to start a season:

                   StreakStart  Streak End Games   W   L   GS  CG SHO  GF  SV   IP     H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR   ERA  HBP  WP  BK Teams
+-----------------+-----------+-----------+-----+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 Bob Gibson         1968-04-10  1968-09-27    34   22   9  34  28  13   0   0  304.2  198   49   38   62  268  11   1.12   7   4   0 STL                                  

 Tom Seaver         1970-04-07  1970-08-15    27   17   7  27  18   2   0   0  231.2  163   65   62   60  226  19   2.41   2   3   0 NYM                                  

 Gaylord Perry      1972-04-15  1972-06-13    15   10   5  15  11   3   0   0  131.2   93   28   26   29   90   5   1.78   5   4   0 CLE                                  

 Roger Clemens      1992-04-07  1992-06-16    14    9   4  14   6   3   0   0  112.1   80   24   22   24  104   5   1.76   3   0   0 BOS                                  

 Curt Schilling     2001-04-04  2001-06-06    13   10   1  13   4   1   0   0  100.1   86   30   29   12  108  16   2.60   0   1   0 ARI                                  
 Mark Fidrych       1976-05-15  1976-07-20    13   11   2  13  12   2   0   0  120.1   93   26   23   28   50   5   1.72   1   2   0 DET                                  
 Phil Niekro        1969-04-08  1969-06-16    13    9   4  13  11   3   0   0  112     78   28   23   22   80   4   1.85   3   5   0 ATL                                  

 Ron Darling        1988-04-06  1988-06-04    12    6   3  12   3   2   0   0   93     66   24   23   23   60   6   2.23   1   1   2 NYM                                  
 Jack Morris        1984-04-03  1984-05-28    12   10   1  12   7   1   0   0  100.1   65   26   21   32   68   5   1.88   2   6   0 DET                                  
 Rick Langford      1981-04-10  1981-06-10    12    5   7  12  11   0   0   0  103     93   41   33   38   49   5   2.88   0   0   0 OAK                                  
 Nelson Briles      1968-04-11  1968-06-08    12    7   4  12   5   1   0   0   97.2   99   27   25   19   61   6   2.30   1   1   0 STL                                  
 Bill Singer        1968-04-11  1968-06-05    12    5   5  12   5   2   0   0   97.1   68   24   19   24   94   2   1.76   2   4   1 LAD                                  
 Bob Shaw           1962-04-16  1962-06-18    12    9   2  12   8   1   0   0  105.2   96   29   23   14   59   8   1.96   2   1   0 MLN                                  
 Ned Garver         1954-04-17  1954-06-16    12    4   3  12   6   1   0   0  101     78   25   17   25   27   6   1.51   2   0   0 DET                                  

 Roy Halladay       2009-04-06  2009-05-27    11    8   1  11   1   0   0   0   82     76   26   24   11   68   6   2.63   2   1   0 TOR                                  
 Pedro Martinez     2000-04-04  2000-06-08    11    9   2  11   3   2   0   0   85.1   45   10    9   16  114   3   0.95   7   1   0 BOS                                  
 Curt Schilling     1998-03-31  1998-05-23    11    5   5  11   4   1   0   0   85.2   57   22   19   20  117   6   2.00   0   3   0 PHI                                  
 Kevin Brown        1993-04-11  1993-06-04    11    5   3  11   6   1   0   0   89.2   73   28   19   19   52   5   1.91   4   1   0 TEX                                  
 Bill Wegman        1992-04-06  1992-05-29    11    5   4  11   2   0   0   0   90.1   80   27   26   18   39  10   2.59   5   0   1 MIL                                  
 Chris Bosio        1988-04-06  1988-05-26    11    6   5  11   8   1   0   0   90     83   27   22   15   35   5   2.20   2   1   2 MIL                                  
 Dave Stieb         1984-04-07  1984-05-30    11    7   1  11   2   1   0   0   86     58   21   20   28   63   5   2.09   3   0   0 TOR                                  
 Kip Young          1978-07-24  1978-09-17    11    6   5  11   6   0   0   0   89.1   80   26   25   21   40   8   2.52   2   0   0 DET                                  
 Jerry Augustine    1977-04-09  1977-05-28    11    6   5  11   7   0   0   0   91.2   77   36   33   31   27   9   3.24   2   1   0 MIL                                  
 Steve Busby        1975-04-07  1975-05-25    11    7   3  11   7   2   0   0   92.1   70   26   25   29   61   3   2.44   2   3   0 KCR                                  
 Ken Holtzman       1973-04-08  1973-05-22    11    9   2  11   9   1   0   0   96.2   63   20   14   19   55   6   1.30   1   5   0 OAK                                  
+-----------------+-----------+-----------+-----+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
                   StreakStart  Streak End Games   W   L   GS  CG SHO  GF  SV   IP     H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR   ERA  HBP  WP  BK Teams
+-----------------+-----------+-----------+-----+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 Don Sutton         1972-04-15  1972-06-09    11    8   1  11   5   3   0   0   93.2   53   18   13   18   66   4   1.25   1   1   0 LAD                                  
 Dave Giusti        1968-04-13  1968-06-02    11    4   5  11   6   1   0   0   90     61   20   18   25   60   6   1.80   1   3   1 HOU                                  
 Bob Friend         1960-04-12  1960-06-01    11    6   2  11   5   3   0   0   90     68   22   21   12   66   5   2.10   0   1   0 PIT                                  
 Warren Spahn       1958-04-15  1958-05-31    11    8   1  11   9   1   0   0   98.2   83   28   26   27   45   7   2.37   0   1   0 MLN                                  
 Bob Keegan         1954-04-17  1954-06-09    11    9   1  11   9   2   0   0   96.1   86   27   23   33   26   5   2.15   0   0   1 CHW                                  

A note on Bob Gibson's incredible 1968 season. Those 34 starts to start the season with 7 IP? Those were all of his starts that year. Yeah, that's right...the guy threw at least 7 innings in every start. In fact, he completed 28 of those 34 games (and also won the Cy Young, MVP, ERA and strikeout titles, and threw 13 shutouts.)

So Halladay has a long, long way to go to approach that post-1954 record (don't hold your breath.) But the only guys ahead of him from the last 20 seasons are Roger Clemens, 14 in 1992, and Curt Schilling, 13 in 2001.

11 Comments | Posted in Streak Finders

Draft Tool Updated and Cleaned Up

Posted by Sean Forman on May 27, 2009

Amateur Draft: 1999 St. Louis Cardinals Picks in the June Draft - Baseball-Reference.com

We spent a lot of time and money going through all 60,000 lines in our draft database, cleaning up errors and making the school and city names consistent from year to year. This was a large undertaking and I'm sure there are still dozens if not hundreds of errors or corrections that will still need to be made, but I'm confident we have the best normalized DB out there. A big thanks to Jay Virshbo for getting this work done. Please report any errors you find.

I also matched up all pre-2009 debuts to their draft record, so those are now updated as well. Next steps are to match this to our minor league db and then we can get these updated daily with the new 2009 debuts.

Draft Front Page

Comments Off | Posted in Announcements

Homers leading off the game: more or less likely?

Posted by Andy on May 27, 2009

When Jimmy Rollins homered on the first pitch of the Phillies game with the Yankees on Friday, I got to wondering whether leadoff homers (not necessarily on the first pitch) happen more or less freqeuently than all homers in the game.

Here's what I mean.

In 2008, there were 52 leadoff homers. This counts only the visiting team batting in the top of the first, and not the home team batting in the bottom. In 2008, there were 2428 games. That means that 52/2428 = 2.14% of games featured a leadoff homer, and since each game has exactly one leadoff plate appearance, there was a 2.14% chance of a player hitting a leadoff home run in 2008. Now, checking out the major league batting totals for 2008, we see that there were a total of 187,614 plate appearances and 4878 home runs. That works out to 2.60%, meaning any plate appearance (including the leadoff spot) had a 2.60% chance of ending up as a home run.

That means that, very roughly, the leadoff batter of a game has roughly a 20% lower chance of hitting a homer than for any other average batter during the game. This result is not surprising given that leadoff hitters usually want to try to simply get on base by any means possible and swinging for the fences is usually not the first choice.

By comparison, let's look at walks in 2008. There were 165 walks to lead off games in 2008. Coming in those 2428 games means the leadoff batter waked 6.80% of the time. Looking back at the league-wide data, we see that there were 16,337 walks in those 187,614 plate appearaces. That means that on average, batters walked 8.70% of the time. So, again, leadoff batters were about 20% less likely to walk.

Incidentally, on the league-wide page, you can see data on the first batter of the game right here. In this case, that's first batter of the game for each team, so it includes the guy batting first in the bottom of the first inning.

3 Comments | Posted in Event Finders, Game Finders

Rudy Seanez has played for a lot of teams…

Posted by Andy on May 27, 2009

...or more correctly, he's played for some teams a lot of times. Check out his career transactions:

June 2, 1986: Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 4th round of the 1986 amateur draft. Player signed June 7, 1986.

December 10, 1991: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Mike Christopher and Dennis Cook.

November 17, 1992: Traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Colorado Rockies for Jody Reed.

July 16, 1993: Granted Free Agency.

July 22, 1993: Signed as a Free Agent with the San Diego Padres.

November 18, 1993: Released by the San Diego Padres.

January 14, 1994: Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

October 15, 1996: Granted Free Agency.

January 14, 1997: Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Mets.

May 30, 1997: Sent to the Kansas City Royals by the New York Mets as part of a conditional deal.

October 17, 1997: Granted Free Agency.

December 15, 1997: Signed as a Free Agent with the Atlanta Braves.

November 2, 1999: Granted Free Agency.

December 12, 1999: Signed as a Free Agent with the Atlanta Braves.

October 30, 2000: Granted Free Agency.

February 25, 2001: Signed as a Free Agent with the San Diego Padres.

August 31, 2001: Traded by the San Diego Padres to the Atlanta Braves for . The Atlanta Braves sent Winston Abreu (September 6, 2001) to the San Diego Padres to complete the trade.

November 5, 2001: Granted Free Agency.

February 1, 2002: Signed as a Free Agent with the Texas Rangers.

October 28, 2002: Granted Free Agency.

December 15, 2002: Signed as a Free Agent with the Texas Rangers.

May 3, 2003: Released by the Texas Rangers.

May 6, 2003: Signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox.

July 29, 2003: Released by the Boston Red Sox.

August 2, 2003: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.

October 15, 2003: Released by the Chicago Cubs.

February 12, 2004: Signed as a Free Agent with the Kansas City Royals.

July 31, 2004: Traded by the Kansas City Royals to the Florida Marlins for Abraham Nunez.

October 28, 2004: Granted Free Agency.

November 24, 2004: Signed as a Free Agent with the San Diego Padres.

October 27, 2005: Granted Free Agency.

December 20, 2005: Signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox.

August 19, 2006: Released by the Boston Red Sox.

August 31, 2006: Signed as a Free Agent with the San Diego Padres.

October 30, 2006: Granted Free Agency.

January 22, 2007: Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

October 30, 2007: Granted Free Agency.

February 4, 2008: Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

March 26, 2008: Released by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

April 2, 2008: Signed as a Free Agent with the Philadelphia Phillies.

If I've counted correctly, here are his tours of duty:

Padres four times

Dodgers three times

Red Sox, Braves, and Royals two times

Phillies, Marlins, Cubs, Rangers, Mets, and Indians one time

2 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Most 5-hit games in a season

Posted by Andy on May 26, 2009

A reader asked so here is the answer. Most 5-hit games in a season since 1954:

 Year Games Link to Individual Games
+----+-----+-------------------------+
 2008    42 Ind. Games                
 2004    41 Ind. Games                
 1999    39 Ind. Games                
 2000    38 Ind. Games                
 2007    37 Ind. Games                
 2005    35 Ind. Games                
 1996    35 Ind. Games                
 1970    31 Ind. Games                
 1991    30 Ind. Games                
 1986    29 Ind. Games                
 1980    29 Ind. Games                

Well well well....the record was set last year.

That's not such a surprise since A) there are more teams now so it would have to be a recent season and B) more run-scoring means more plate appearances per game, making it easier to get 5 hits in a single game. To some degree, this list would be more meaningful if I at least normalized it by total number of games played each year.

So far in 2009, we've had 10 such 5-hit games. With just over a quarter of the season gone, that means tings are on pace for roughly a typical year from the last several years of 35-40 such games.

Also, in a shameless plug for my external blog, I've got a contest going on with a bonus prize of a whole mess of packs of baseball cards. If you are your kids are into that, you might want to enter it.

1 Comment | Posted in Game Finders

Eric Gagne

Posted by Andy on May 26, 2009

I heard a bit on ESPN radio about how Eric Gagne was historically much better in save situations than in non-save situations.

That's easy to see from his splits.

In 216 games comprising save situations, he had an ERA of 2.31. In 138 games comprising non-save situations, he had an ERA of 3.06. While both numbers are good, that's a pretty significant difference. Note that the non-save situations excludes game starts which, although clearly a situation in which a save can not be earned, doesn't really apply to what we're looking at. Early in his career, Gagne was a starter, and it's helpful that the "non-save situation" already excludes game starts.

As a reliever, his career OPS against was .573, which is excellent. In save situations, that figure is .524 while in non-save situations it was .639. Again, both figures are good but that is a very large difference over so many innings (over 370 total.)

Eric Gagne's highest similarity score is to Bobby Thipgen, who had an even more stilted set of splits in favor of save situations. Thigpen's ERA was more than 1.5 runs higher in non-save situations.

I wonder why this is. I've heard managers reference that their closers do best when pitching one inning (the 9th usually.) But is this cause or effect? Clearly Gagne and Thigpen both did better when pitching in save situations, but was it their mentality or the hitters' mentality, or something else?

For a bit more data, I checked Mariano Rivera's splits, and he's much closer, although still a little better in save situations. Ditto for Trevor Hoffman.

I also notice that the K/BB ratios for all these guys are significantly higher in save situations. I wonder if that has to do with eagerness of the batters, knowing that they need runs and perhaps are more likely to swing, and therefore more likely to swing and miss.

Thoughts on this?

8 Comments | Posted in Splits

Die Hard McClain

Posted by Steve Lombardi on May 22, 2009

Which big league pitcher, since 1954, has the longest streak of pitching at least 7 innings in a game from the start of his career?  According to Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index Pitching Streak Finder, here's the answer:

                   StreakStart  Streak End Games   W   L   GS  CG SHO  GF  SV   IP     H    R   ER   BB   SO   HR   ERA  HBP  WP  BK Teams
+-----------------+-----------+-----------+-----+------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
 Joe McClain        1961-04-14  1961-06-01     9    5   3   9   3   1   0   0   72     59   23   21   13   21   3   2.63   2   1   0 WSA
 Steve Rogers       1973-07-18  1973-08-18     7    4   2   7   4   2   0   0   59.2   36    8    8   19   27   3   1.21   0   0   0 MON
 Tom Browning       1984-09-09  1985-04-21     6    3   0   6   1   0   0   0   47.1   41    6    5    8   28   0   0.95   0   1   0 CIN
 Steve Gromek       1954-04-13  1954-05-14     6    5   1   6   5   1   0   0   54     47   14   14    5   25   5   2.33   2   1   0 DET
 Curt Simmons       1954-04-14  1954-05-12     6    4   2   6   6   1   0   0   54     46   14    9   21   28   1   1.50   0   0   0 PHI

Amazing.  If not for this game, the streak would have been 14 games for McClain.   For more on Joe, click here.

4 Comments | Posted in Streak Finders

Jobs @ SR: User Affairs Coordinator

Posted by Sean Forman on May 22, 2009

Comments Off | Posted in Announcements

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