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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.

Helping Your Own Cause July 10, 2011

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Yesterday, Cliff Lee of the Phillies scored the only run for his team by homering to right center in the bottom of the third inning. Cliff’s lead held until Dan Uggla led off the fifth with a homer of its own, and the score stayed tied until the top of the eleventh when Alex Gonzalez and Brian McCann batted three in for the Braves to set up Craig Kimbrel for the save. Lee’s homer prompted a couple of searches that led readers here – specifically, people are curious about pitchers hitting home runs.

It’s uncommon, but not as rare as I’d expected. Fifteen home runs this year (out of 2410, so about 0.6% of MLB home runs) were hit by pitchers. They’re last in the majors for home runs by position – even pinch hitters hit more (54) – but third from the bottom are designated hitters with 154. Interestingly, even doubling DHs’ home runs puts them third (behind first basemen and right fielders).

One pitcher – Zach Duke of Arizona – has hit two home runs, with the remainder hitting only one each. The World’s Worst Sports Blog’s favorite player, Yovani Gallardo, combined with Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to put up three pitcher homers for Milwaukee, tying Duke and Barry Enright‘s Diamondback total. No pitcher has surrendered more than one home run to another pitcher, but two have both allowed one and scored one: Greinke and Travis Wood. Besides Lee, four pitchers – Enright, Wood, Zach Britton, and Tim Hudson – have homered to break a 0-0 tie.

This year or last year, no game had home runs hit by pitchers from both teams. I scanned manually, and there were a few dates with multiple home runs by pitchers, but I couldn’t find a game with home runs by both teams’ pitchers until I got back to April 13, 1997. The Montreal Expos’ Carlos Perez homered off of Colorado starter Kevin Ritz, who was lifted (in the top of the fifth) after one more batter for reliever Darren Holmes. Holmes allowed another earned run, but got out of the inning and then led off the bottom of the fifth with a homer of his own. Pitchers for both teams homered not only in the same game, but the same inning, separated by only six batters.