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Game-Ending Outs: Maybe A-Rod isn’t as bad at this as we thought July 19, 2012

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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So, a friend of mine made the following comment on Facebook the other day:

Someone has to look this up for me. Has any player, ever, made the last out for his team more often than A-Rod? He’s like the bizarro Mo.

At the time, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson were tied with 5 game-ending outs apiece for the Yankees. Since then, I thought it would be interesting to see what the average “game-ending out” looks like, at least according to Baseball Reference.

As of July 18, there were 1264 game-ending outs in the majors this year.  Aaron Hill, Jesus Guzman, and Kyle Seager are ties for the lead with 9 apiece, with a spate of other batters tied for second at 8. Unsurprisingly, the 8th batting-order position makes the game-ending out most often; managers (of course) tend to arrange their strongest batters earlier in the lineup. By and large, game-ending outs tend to be short at-bats, with 850 coming with 4 or fewer pitches.

450 were strikeouts, with the league-leading total of 5 shared by Edwin Encarnacion, Giancarlo Stanton, and Ryan Ludwick. Craig Kimbrel of Atlanta leads the league in game-ending strikeouts, having thrown 15 of them. Kimbrel also led last year, with 31, which surprised me. Mariano Rivera had less than 2/3 as many, with only 20.

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