Friday, May 05, 2006

Taking a lot of pitches

The Yankees and Red Sox are going to win a lot of games late as they continue to get into bullpens early. The Yankees and Red Sox are Number 1 and 2 in reaching base on balls per game. Not only that, but they are tied for the ML lead with their hitters averaging 3.95 pitches per plate appearance. If you can get the starting pitcher out after 5 or 6 innings, even if he is pitching well, you have a good chance to win late.

Jason Giambi leads all of baseabll at an almost ridiculous 4.68 pitches per plate appeacance.


Warren said...

I don't disagree about the importance of getting on base, working the count, etc. But sometimes I think the idea that seeing more pitches gets you to the bullpen faster is a bit overblown.

The worst team in baseball in pitches per plate appearance is the Angels at 3.52. Over a full season (last year), the spread was 3.86 Boston to 3.60 Tampa Bay (in the AL, at least).

If a starter can last 100 pitches, then we're talking about a difference of two plate appearances per game - that is, teams like the Yankees and Red Sox get to the other teams' bullpen for about two extra plate appearances. That's a good thing, but we're talking about somewhere between 1/3 and 2/3 of an inning. It's a nice bonus, but it pales in comparison to the main reasons you'd want your hitters to be patient - more walks, and getting better pitches to hit.

Ross said...

Is there a differnce between these teams and their pitches per plate appearance versus starting pitchers and versus relief pitchers?

With no data, my inclination would be that patient hitters are working longer into the counts against starters more than relivers, which would increase the impact.

The reason I would think this is that starters are using more different pitches than relief pitchers. Getting looks at the different pitches takes longer against a starting pitcher. Against a relief pitcher, you may be seeing just 2 different pitches, with one being a fastball. This might not be right, but I would be curious to see the data.

Ross said...

In tonight's Yankees game, it took Vincente Padilla at least 6 pitches on four different Yankee batters in the 1st inning.

The bottom of the first took Mike Mussina 6 pitches total.

Padilla threw 39 in the first inning.