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Justin Verlander, Second No-Hitter of 2011 May 8, 2011

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Yesterday, the Tigers’ Justin Verlander threw 2011’s second no-hitter, blanking the Blue Jays on a phenomenal 9-0 win. Verlander’s line was 9.0 innings pitched, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts, 108 pitches (74 for strikes) and a game score of 90. The Jays’ Ricky Romero took the loss.

It was Verlander’s second no-hitter. Although Bleacher Report’s Josh Rosenblat suggests that this is the start of a second “Year of the Pitcher,” I would be careful about making that conclusion. Remember that no-hitters are probably poisson distributed, so we should expect clumps of them. If pitchers keep it up, I’ll start crunching more numbers, but for now it’s just an odd coincidence.

Cheap Wins July 16, 2010

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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The opposite of the Tough Loss discussed below (which R.A. Dickey unfortunately experienced tonight in a duel with Tim Lincecum) is a Cheap Win. Logically, since a Tough Loss is a loss in a quality start, a Cheap Win (invented by Bill James) is a win in a non-quality start – that is, a start with a game score of below 50 (or, officially, a start with fewer than 6.0 innings pitched or more than 3 runs allowed).

The Chicago White Sox’ starter, John Danks, picked up a Cheap Win in Thursday’s game against the Twins. Although he pitched six innings, he gave up six runs (all earned) in the second inning, leading to an abysmal game score of 33. Danks had two of last year’s 304 Cheap Wins. Ricky Romero led the pack with six, and Joe Saunders and Tim Wakefield were both among the six pitchers with five Cheap Wins. Even Roy Halladay had two.

Through the beginning of the All-Star Break, there have been 136 Cheap Wins in 2010. That includes one by my current favorite player, Yovani Gallardo. John Lackey is already up to 5, and Brian Bannister is knocking on the door with 4.

It’s hard to read too much into the tea leaves of Cheap Wins, since they’re not all created equal. In general, they represent a pitcher sliding a little bit off his game, but his team upping their run production to rescue him. To that end, Cheap Wins might be a better measure of a team’s ability than Tough Losses, since, while Tough Losses show a pitcher maintaining himself under fire, Cheap Wins represent an ability to hit in the clutch (assuming that run production in Cheap Wins is significantly different from run production in other games). That’s hard to validate without doing a bit more work, but it’s a project to consider.