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I’m Still With 47 September 21, 2015

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Sports.
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Photo: slgckgc on Flickr

Photo: slgckgc on Flickr

Hansel Robles took the loss last night on an ugly line – 2/3 of an inning pitched, 5 runs on 3 hits, a walk, and a wild pitch. It was a tough way to lose – the story of the game was Matt Harvey leaving after five shutout innings of one-hit baseball and, so the narrative goes, Robles coming in to crap it up. I’d like to suggest that it’s not entirely fair to throw this all on Robles.

Robles’ first batter was Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached on a throwing error by second baseman Daniel Murphy. His second batter was Brett Gardner, who reached on a fielder’s choice. Ellsbury was safe on the fielder’s choice due to a catching error by David Wright. Let’s keep track of that – although the official scorer considers Gardner to be Robles’ only earned run, Gardner should have grounded out.

At that point, Carlos Beltran hit a double, which should have been a completely innocuous hit with no one on. Brian McCann struck out – inning over, in a parallel universe where Juan Uribe hadn’t suffered an injury coming out of the game (or where Wilmer Flores or Kelly Johnson comes in to play second, rather than Murphy). Even allowing for Gardner to reach safely and Beltran to bat him home, that gets followed up by a wild pitch with Greg Bird at the plate, followed by walking Bird, and a swinging strikeout of Chase Headley. Worst case scenario, Robles gives up the tying run.

From there, it’s a totally different ballgame – Sean Gilmartin or Addison Reed comes in to at worst a tied game in the 7th, followed up by a chance for Tyler Clippard or Reed to take the eighth and Jeurys Familia closing to the strains of “Danza Kuduro” in the ninth. Don’t get me wrong – Collins has made a lot of excellent moves this season. Last night’s sixth was a comedy of (literally) errors, but a few other moves made it look like Collins had decided the game was already out of hand by the seventh.


RBIs with Two Outs July 4, 2011

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball, Economics.
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Sunday’s Subway Series game between the Mets and Yankees ended with a bang – Jason Bay hit a single off Hector Noesi that brought home Scott Hairston. The tenth inning should have been over, but Ramiro Pena committed an error at shortstop that put Daniel Murphy on base for Boone Logan. Hairston’s run was unearned, but no matter – Noesi took the loss and the Mets won the game.

The final score was 3-2, and the interesting thing about the game was that all three of the Mets’ runs came with two outs. (My fiancée, Katie, suggested that this was unusual, and motivated most of the rest of this post.) In fact, so far, the Mets have had 347 RBIs (of 375 runs scored), and 147 of them have come with two outs. That’s about 42.4% of their RBIs. By contrast, only 1070 of 3274 plate appearances – 32.7% – come with two outs. (Less than a third of plate appearances come with two outs because of the double play, among other reasons.) The majority come with no men out (about 34.8%) with the remainder coming with one out. It seems like the high concentration of 2-out RBIs should be explained by the use of the sacrifice bunt, but the Mets have only had 31 sacrifice bunts this season – not nearly enough to account for the difference between 32.7% of plate appearances and 42.4% of RBIs.

Is that pattern common across baseball? So far, there have been 10,037 RBIs in Major League Baseball in the 2011 season. 3686 of them – about 36.7% – came with two outs. Excluding the Mets’ numbers, that’s 3539 out of 9690, or 36.5%. For the National League only, there were 1928 two-out RBIS of 5212 total, or 37%, with 1781 of 4865 (36.6%) of National League RBIs coming with two outs if you exclude the Mets. (Note that I’m defining ‘in the National League’ as ‘in National League parks,’ since what I’m interested in is whether the Mets’ concentration of RBIs can be partially explained by the rules requiring pitchers to bat.)

Assume that the Mets’ RBIs are drawn from the same distribution as all others’. Then, 95% of the time, I’d expect the proportion of RBIs that come with two outs to be within two standard errors of the National League’s proportion, excluding the Mets. (The ‘two standard errors’ comes from the fact that a t-distribution’s critical value for a large number of trials for 95% significance is 1.96. For less than an infinite number, two standard errors is a handy approximation.) For the Mets’ 347 RBIs, the standard error would be

\sqrt{\frac{p(1-p)}{n-1}} = \sqrt{\frac{.366(.734)}{346}} = \sqrt{\frac{.232}{346}} = \sqrt{.000671} = .026

Thus, 95% of the time, the Mets should be within the interval of (.366 – .052, .366+.052), or (.314, .418). Since, again, the Mets’ proportion is .424, the Mets are slightly outside the 95% confidence interval. That’s pretty close, and certainly could happen by chance, but it’s surprising nonetheless. The question then is whether this is due to some sort of strategy employed by the Mets’ management or to some sort of clutch playing ability by the Mets. Again, there’s more data to collect and crunch (as always).

Leadoff Home Runs June 19, 2010

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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Jose Reyes led off today’s Mets-Yankees game with a home run off Phil Hughes. That’s the eleventh leadoff home run of the year. That’s a little over half as many as there were last year on June 19, when Nate McLouth hit the 19th leadoff home run of 2009.

Last year, there were 51 leadoff home runs over roughly 6 months (early April through the first week of October), which puts uniformly distributed homers at  8.5 per month (so McLouth’s #19 on June 19 was about 2.25 behind pace). So far, with eleven over 2.5 months, that puts us on pace for 26.4, or, to be generous, about 30 leadoff home runs.

The change probably isn’t indicative of anything other than chance, but in 2008 #24 of 52 came on June 20, and in 2007 they were already up to 28 of 59 by June 19. Over the past few years there’s been a slowing of leadoff home runs which may be due to chance or may be due to some other factor. Who knows? It’s way too small a sample to say anything about.