40 Innings

Over the course of the last 5 or so years since I first read Moneyball, I have learned a lot of valuable things about the game of baseball. One of the most important is from The Book which illustrates that over the course of shorter inning samples – say 40 – a pitcher can do basically anything. From The Book blog:

ANY pitcher can look bad as far as his location goes and can get hammered in 1 or 5 or even 10 games

For the whole thing, basically read this post. But while we’re at it, Joe Nathan’s month of August:

11 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 6 BB, 1 HR.

Add the two homers today and obviously fans are worried. But we shouldn’t be. Since Joe is a closer, if he does anything but slam the door 1-2-3 it’s going to look bad. But looking at his pitch f/x data from today compared with a July save against the Tigers when he went 1-2-3 and had two strikeouts, Joe’s fastball, curve and slider all were traveling at roughly the same speed, and only his fastball had noticeably less break.

His spin:

July

July

Not radically different. It’s going to be ok, folks. Pitchers get hit. Not time to trade Joe yet.

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