With his 1-4 tonight, Joe Mauer's batting average dropped to .366, an excellent average, but no longer the all-time best for a catcher (who qualified for the batting title). With 4 games left to the season, Mauer has fallen behind Babe Phelps, who hit .367 for the Dodgers in 1936. Of course, the batting title qualifications were different then and Phelps only had 349 PA in his signature season. If we raise the bar a bit, Mauer only needs to stay above the .362 that was recorded by Bill Dickey in 1936 and matched by Mike Piazza in 1997. Here are the all time BA leaders among players who qualified for the batting title and played at least 50% of their games at catcher (does not include tonight's game, but I'm leaving Mauer 2009 in for comparative purposes):
I'm getting ready for the postseason and I've cleaned up the presentation of the batter vs. pitcher numbers to include a line for the playoffs along with a total line for the regular season and also for regular and postseason.
MGL over at The Book flags a comment by Michael Kay about splits being more likely in double-headers than in back-to-back games as being idiot speak. MGL doesn't back up his comments with numbers, but we'll do the heavy lifting for him here.
I'm not sure why the home team picks up the advantage in the doubleheader (about 1%), perhaps it is because they get to dictate the pitching matchups, or maybe fatiguing situations increases the advantage of playing at home, noise?
Lots and lots of good players populate this list, both the batters and pitchers.
I checked the record of the teams in these games. Here are the outcomes of the 22 games (from the point of view of the team hitting the leadoff HR) as you read down the column above.
So that's a record of 16-6 (.727) in those 22 games. Not too surprising--with run-scoring at a premium in the playoffs, single runs have a bigger impact on the outcome.
A few other tidbits:
There is one series--the 2007 ALDS--that appears twice here, with the Yankees' Johnny Damon and the Indians' Grady Sizemore both leading off different games in that series with homers. The Indians won both games, as well as the series.
Just 1 out of these 22 games was Game 1 of its series. That's a little surprising, although so many Game 1's are pitched by aces that it's not too surprising.
Finally, I would remiss if I didn't mention how much more common the leadoff HR has become, with more than half of these games coming since the 1990s. While there are more playoff games now thanks to the extra layers of playoffs (meaning more total playoff games per year and hence more chances for leadoff HR) the more recent era is over-represented, thanks to the increased overall prevelance of home runs in the game.
Following the jump is the list of 38 games since 1954 where a pitching staff has allowed at most 1 hit in a game and still lost. The most recent occasion was last year when the Angels allowed zero hits to the Dodgers and still lost, thanks to a runner that reached on error, advanced on error, and scored on a sacrifice fly.
This list includes 5 games with zero hits allowed. Most of these are pretty famous "near no-hitters" as games where the losing team allowed no hits but pitched only 8 innings. However, included is Ken Johnson's 1964 no-hitter (and loss) with the Colt .45's and the bizarre 1967 Orioles-Tigers game that resulted in a combined no-hitter (and loss) for the Orioles.
Ah, but, how many keystone combos have reached base 275+ times, each, in the same season? Here's that answer:
Year Lg Team Number Players Matching
1999 AL New York Yankees 2 Derek Jeter / Chuck Knoblauch
1949 NL Brooklyn Dodgers 2 Jackie Robinson / Pee Wee Reese
Yup, that's it - just two.
Pretty nice company...just twice in history...once in each league...both times in New York...each team being a pennant winner.
Today we're going to talk a little about the individual batting gamelogs, which are by no means new here at Baseball Reference, but at the same time are tools that I think we can continually stand to learn new things about. To access a batter's gamelogs, go to his main page, point to "Game Logs [+]" under the "Standard Batting" table, and select the logs you want to look at.