Friday, June 08, 2007

No no-no

I don’t want to take anything away from Curt Schilling's near no-hitter yesterday but if Alex Cora had reached Shannon Stewart's grounder in the 9th and got him out at first, it would have been one of the luckiest and least deserved no-hitters in the last 20 years. It all come down to batting average on balls batted into play. The best way to get a no-hitter is to limit the number of balls put into play by striking guys out. There is a reason why Nolan Ryan has 7 career no-hitters, he was one of the best strikeout pitchers in the history of baseball (#4 all time in strikeouts per nine innings) and had a ridiculously long career. The logic is simple, the fewer balls put into play, the greater the chance that there will not be a hit. A batter that strikes out has a 0% chance of getting a hit but a batter that puts the ball into play has about a 30% chance of getting a hit. Yesterday Schilling struck out just 4 batters. If the averages had held Schilling should have given up at least 7 hits. There have been 24 no-hitters since a pitcher has had less than 4 strikeouts and still had a no-hitter (in 1993 Jim Abbot struck out just 3 Indians and walked 5 in the luckiest no-hitter I could find). In the 24 no-hitters since 1993 the strikeout average is 8.45. So if anyone should be congratulated on yesterday’s 1 hitter it should be the Sox defense which converted 24 of the 25 balls in into play into outs. I can't say enough how happy I am with the Sox improved defense over last year. So far they are converting .709 of balls in play into outs compared to the woeful .683 last season. It was a good performance by Schilling but not even his best of the season. That would have been on May 28th against a much better Cleveland lineup when he struck out 10, walked 0 and gave up no home runs.

5 comments:

Dan said...

Interesting point. Obviously, I agree that Schilling didn't deserve the no hitter, but that's mostly because I think he's an insufferable scumbag. So, I'll gladly agree with your analysis. I also found the all time K/9 list to be interesting. Look at Hideo Nomo at # 9!! And Bill Lee at # 863. Ha, ha, Spaceman, you suck!

fyi, Mariano only has 903 innings, but has 805 K, which would put him at # 7, ahead of both Schilling and Clemens.

Dewy24 said...

Now why do you have to attack Bill Lee? If you were to make the complete opposite of Curt Schilling it would be Bill Lee.

You know Mariano is the one Yankee I praise without reservation. He and Pedro are the best pitchers I've seen in my lifetime.

akboognish said...

Yeah, I have no problem with folks ragging on Schilling because I dislike him as much as the next guy, but what makes him offensive is not that he opens his mouth but rather what comes out of it. Bill Lee is often criticized for being outspoken but I love that about him and generally love what he has to say. I think it's fucked up to hate Bill Lee because he's a loudmouth. He's the Mark Cuban of retired baseball players. And I do love Mark Cuban, too.

As for Schilling, I have to give him credit for being so open about shaking off 'Tek's sign. The combo of that plus Stewart's shaking off his 3rd base coach's sign to take the pitch makes for pretty interested baseball.

Finally, I was at the game yesterday and can report that during the 9th inning (and only then), every one of the A's fans near me was rooting for the no-hitter. As one guy in front of me said, "I can go to a thousand games and not see this happen; I'm rooting for him now." I was trying to compare it to when I was watching the Moose almost throw that perfect game against the Sox, and how happy I was (and still am to this day) that Everett screwed that up for him. I think the difference is probably 80% that I wasn't actually at the game and 20% that it was the Yankees who were pitching. Being at the game and watching a no-hitter that late was just something entirely different than watching it on t.v. While I think that if I was at the game that Moose was pitching I might have wanted it broken up just as much (the 20% Yankees factor), if yesterday it was an A's pitcher going that far I think I would root for them in the end (9th inning or maybe the 8th). This is why the Yankees were the only team, other than maybe the A's (maybe) who were ecstatic that the no hitter didn't happen, bursting out in applause and cheers.

--Adam

jonesy said...

this analysis is very impressive. in fact, i have developed my own equation regarding dewy's post:

blogging + complicated mathematical examinations of baseball performances=a whole lot of avoiding work at the office.

which is one of the things I like best about you, dewy24...

Dan said...

Spaceman's certainly the complete opposite of him as far as K/9 goes. It's not like I was ragging on a one armed pitcher for the luckiness of his no hitter.

I'm just kidding. I don't have a problem with the Spaceman. Most people named Spaceman are OK in my book.