Stranded, Caught in the Crossfire

I’d intended to launch into a tirade about drawing seven walks against the opposing starter and losing, but it turns out that happens fairly often. Since 1920, teams are 2077-2158 in games where the starting pitcher allows at least seven walks. That’s a .490 winning percentage, which is both surprising and hardly cause for a tirade.

That said, failing to score against Jonathan Sanchez on Friday night irritates me — in much the same way that Sanchez himself irritates me (or letting Aubrey Huff beat you with his legs, but that’s another story). Actually, failing to score against a starter who issues at least seven walks is uncommon. Again going back to 1920, it’s happened just 181 times out of 4235 total 7+ walk starts, or a shade under 4.3 percent.

There were no such games in 2009, but Sanchez’s performance was the second this year. Edwin Jackson, you may recall, walked eight while tossing a no-hitter on June 25.

The most walks ever issued by a starting pitcher without allowing a run? Eleven, both by Yankees hurlers. On August 1, 1941, Lefty Gomez did it against the St. Louis Blues Browns. On May 21, 1970, Mel Stottlemyre victimized the Washington Senators.

Chase Headley for MVP?

Oops, my bad; that should read “Carlos Gonzalez”… I was looking at road numbers, so you’ll forgive my confusion:

Player    PA   BA  OBP  SLG HR
Headley  293 .297 .342 .450  7
Gonzalez 271 .288 .310 .450  7

I should have looked at their home numbers as well:

Player    PA   BA  OBP  SLG HR
Headley  300 .234 .310 .320  3
Gonzalez 287 .381 .429 .770 25

If there is a player who takes better advantage of his park than Gonzalez, I don’t know who it is. How cool would it be to magically transform from Juan Encarnacion into, oh, Jeff Bagwell v. 1994 whenever you return home from a road trip? I so want that super power.

Speaking of Splits

Have you noticed that the two best road ERAs in MLB this year belong to Ubaldo Jimenez and Mat Latos?

Player     IP  ERA  H/9 HR/9 BB/9   K/9
Jimenez 101.2 2.30 5.49 0.35 3.98  8.50
Latos    99.1 2.36 6.16 0.91 2.45 10.06

I just found it a little unusual that one pitcher who should be hindered by his home park and one who should be helped both end up at the top in less extreme environments. I think the take-home is that they’re pretty good.

Wonderful Advice

Strunk and White: Unless there is a good reason for its being there, do not inject opinion into a piece of writing.

Me: Thanks for injecting that opinion into your writing.

Eh, stuff just bugs me sometimes. Losing, for example…

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9 Responses »

  1. That’s an incredible stat about the .490 W%. I’d guess it’s a selection bias thing caused by two issues:

    1) If a pitcher is left in long enough to walk that many guys, they are probably doing unusually well in other aspects and/or stranding a lot of those baserunners


    2) Their team has scored enough runs that the walks aren’t hurting them and their manager just wants to get innings out of him.

  2. I’m trying to be positive about things, but it’s getting harder and harder.

  3. Damn it, Geoff, I was railing against the one-hit, plenty of walks thing. Not so glad you put me straight but it’s good to know next time this happens again.

    Still… it’s as annoying as the AJ Burnett no-hit game.

    Stauffer’s done good. OK, drawing walks didn’t work last night… how about getting lots of hits. Come on, Padres.

  4. Things interesting only to me:

    Padres’ win over Giants was not the only 1-run game today in NL.
    There were 8 games today, 5 of them 1-run games, the other 3 all 3-run games.


  5. @Vegas Watch: You raise good points. Another that might be worth mentioning is that the occurrence and success rate of 7+ walk starts have decreased over time; in particular, hitters really started punishing pitchers for issuing so many free passes in the ’80s:

    Years       W-L    Pct
    1920-1929 228-262 .465
    1930-1939 340-334 .504
    1940-1949 353-343 .507
    1950-1959 335-312 .518
    1960-1969 189-163 .537
    1970-1979 266-227 .540
    1980-1989 141-184 .434
    1990-1999 130-204 .389
    2000-2010  95-157 .377

    @Nick: We were supposed to finish in last place this year; does that help?

    @Didi: Ugh, the Burnett no-no. At least our second baseman didn’t break his hand on a HBP… On another note, isn’t it awesome to see Stauffer finally put it together? After all he’s been through, that guy seriously deserves to succeed.

    @LynchMob: That is great news. I’m still not counting on anything from CY, but wouldn’t it be nice?

  6. @Geoff — yes it does make me feel a little better. But now that we are here, I want them to win it.

  7. The offense is struggling… heck, it sucks.
    Even though the team has won 4 games in September, the Padres can’t be winning many more games if the hitters don’t pick up the slack. In those 4 games, the team scored 4 runs twice, 2 runs once and 1 run once. The pitching and defense are going to have to be superb for the team to have a chance to win. During the losing streak, the Padres scored 4+ runs twice. Prior to the losing streak, the team was 13-3 when scoring 4+ runs in August.

    Look at it this way: That first game in the 10-game streak was game 3 in the Arizona series that the Padres had already won. Since then, the Padres have only won a 3-game series, the sweep against the Dodgers in which the Padres outscored them 10-3. The rest of the series, the team was outscored by:
    Phillies: 3-11 (3 games)
    Diamondbacks: 8-19 (3 games @AZ)
    Rockies: 7-14 (3 games)
    Giants: 5-14 (4 games).

    Sure, the run prevention hasn’t been good in those games (4.46 runs/game) and that makes the 1-0 loss to the Giants in game 2 even more frustrating since the offense can only manage 1.77 runs/game. Including the Dodgers series the runs/games are 3.81 allowed and 2.06 scored, still horrific.

    P.S.: Good to see Ludwick moved down behind Headley especially since he still sucks at the plate (his HR during the stretch so far came when the game was out of reach). How many more times are the fans supposed to suffer a third strike looking from Matt Stairs before he’s benched forever? Geez.

    And here come the Rockies in Denver, winner of 10 straight games.

  8. While i’ve ranting against Ludwick, I failed to rail on Headley, whose OBP has been below .200 for over a week now. Geez! Get on it… the bases, I mean.

    Good series win so far. Let’s go for the sweep, Padres!
    Oh, and the Dodgers decided to play and beat the Giants.