As I wrote this, the Yankees took game number two of their double header against the Yankees and some things passed through my head during both games:

Vazquez on track?

It’s just one start, but Javy looked fantastic yesterday. If not for one “meh” inning, the game might still be going on. 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 7 K? I’ll take it every time. Hopefully, Javy builds from here and gets on a roll.


What more can we say about this? Hughes has been stellar thus far. He did just about everything right last night. My favorite moment came when he struck out the side after allowing a leadoff double to Miguel Cabrera. Throwing 3-2 curves to Boesch and Avila was ballsy, but Hughes got away with it. I suspect he threw those pitches because those guys are young hitters and, hence, more likely to chase curves, even in a full count. That shows me that Phil and Frankie were thinking out there, and it paid off.

Jackson’s defense

Austin Jackson was great on defense yesterday. He’s very fast and appears to get good reads on the ball. He may not have made any fancy looking plays, but because of good reads and good speed, he didn’t need to.

Swisher hurt?

I can’t recall anything about it in the YES broadcast, but Joe Girardi said that Nick’s left bicep is sore and he may be “day-to-day”. Awesome.

Anyway, I’d like to divert this to a more “big picture” moment. In a simple Google search, I didn’t find anything like what I’m about to present. If I stole your idea, please let me know and I’ll give you your credit.

So, all of our runs allowed stats–ERA, RA, FIP, tRA, etc.–are all based on something rather intuitive: how may runs the pitcher gives up per nine innings. This is convenient because it normalizes the different innings pitchers throw and is pretty easy to understand.

However, in this day and age, we see very few nine inning games by pitchers. Frankly, I don’t really care about this. A lot of media people get up in arms about the lack of complete games in baseball (non-Halladay Division), but it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. There are tons of reasons why there are fewer complete games (better/more patient hitters, middle IFs/C’s turning into power hitters, etc.), but that’s a post for another day.

Today’s standard seems to be 100 pitches. So, I’m proposing we start looking at how many runs (earned and unearned, like run average) a pitcher gives up per 100 pitches rather than per 9 innings. Let’s see how the Yankee starters perform in this “new” (it’s probably not new) category. For number of pitches, I’ll be relying on the Gamelogs section of Baseball Reference.

CC Sabathia:
Pitches: 687
Runs: 17
R/100P: 2.47
ERA: 3.04

A.J. Burnett:
Pitches: 720
Runs: 20
R/100P: 2.78
ERA: 3.40

Andy Pettitte:
Pitches: 589
Runs: 9
R/100P: 1.53 (!!)
ERA: 2.08

Javier Vazquez:
Pitches: 563
Runs: 27
R/100P: 4.80
ERA: 8.10

Phil Hughes:
Pitches: 619
Runs: 6
R/100P: 0.97 Damn!
ERA: 1.38

So, what do we see? Well, R/100P certainly makes Javier Vazquez look better. I’d guess that this is because 100 pitches is generally fewer than nine innings so it follows that a pitcher will allow fewer runs in a shorter amount of time.

Obviously, this isn’t perfect. It’s something that’s likely to overrate pitchers more than ERA will. However, I think it’s useful to look at because 100 pitches is something a pitcher is more likely to reach than nine innings is. Tomorrow, I’ll look at the ’09 Yankees and see how R/100P compared to ERA over a full season.

8 Responses to “Thoughts on the Double Header and Looking at Runs Differently”

  1. Interesting take. Your argument makes sense. I’d like to see the breakdown for relievers too if you have the time and energy. It makes sense also because the administration bases appearances on # of pitches thrown, not the number of IP. You should name this stat quickly…  (Quote)

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  2. The per-100 pitches idea is interesting, but I’m just not too sure about it. A starting pitcher is especially valuable if he gets deep into games, even if the CG is a thing of the past. A pitcher who throws 100 pitches to get through 5 innings, giving up three runs (think Joba ’09) will have a an ER/100 slightly higher than ’10 AJ but would not be nearly as good.  (Quote)

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  3. I like the creativity but I’m unsure of the value. As Damian noted, you are effectively rewarding a pitcher who takes a lot of pitches to get outs.  (Quote)

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  4. This is fun. But what I think you’ve REALLY stumbled upon is just how arbitrary the 9 inning or 100 pitch measurement really is. Might it be more applicable for all pitchers if you simply broke it down by runs-per-inning? That way you could apply it more evenly to starters, middle relievers and closers alike? Might be a more accurate barometer for say a guy like Acevedo, who over the last few years has started as well as done some long and short relief.  (Quote)

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    Moshe Mandel Reply:

    Agreed. I think the per inning thing would be a lot more useful.  (Quote)

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    bg90027 Reply:

    How does ER/ inning show anything that ERA doesn’t? It’s the same stat on a different scale and the range of outcomes will be smaller so it will blur the differences between pitchers. I don’t like Matt’s idea much either as it doesn’t capture the differences in how economical different pitchers are and how deep they pitch into games which is an important distinction.  (Quote)

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  5. I think the point is that the lineups have changed and the amount of pitches thrown to get outs may have increased as hitter’s are becoming more in tune with taking pitches. Hence the length of games being played. I’m sure that all the other stats we are living with today such as BABIP and UZR etc started in a similar fashion.  (Quote)

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