Friday, October 31, 2008

Winter League HBP leaders

Just in case any of you thought writing a blog about Major Leaguers getting hit by pitches was too obscure, here's the leaders in the various Winter Leagues. If you're looking to travel to see some HBP action, it looks like the Dominican Winter League is the place to be - they're averaging 1.52 plunks per game. The Arizona Fall League is the next best choice, where they hit batters 1.2 times per game. Behind them are the Venezuelan and Hawaii Winter Leagues, averaging 1.02 and 1 plunk per game, and the Mexican Pacific League where batters have been plunked 0.93 times per game so far this year.

Anyway, here are the HBP leaders (batting) through 10/30/2008, by league:

Arizona Fall League
NameTeamHBPPlate Appearances
Kevin FrandsenScottsdale Scorpions766
Casper WellsMesa Solar Sox755
Chris PettitScottsdale Scorpions383
Emmanuel BurrissScottsdale Scorpions365
Eric YoungPhoenix Desert Dogs376
Tyler GreenePeoria Saguaros352
Nolan ReimoldSurprise Rafters255
Nate SpearsMesa Solar Sox254
Brian McFallSurprise Rafters239
Leonard DavisPeoria Saguaros247
Drew StubbsPeoria Javelins253
Sean KazmarPeoria Saguaros249
Shelby FordScottsdale Scorpions275
Mike BaxterPeoria Saguaros242
Brandon SnyderSurprise Rafters236
Michael McKenryPhoenix Desert Dogs235
Juan MirandaPeoria Javelins249

Dominican Winter League
NameTeamHBPPlate Appearances
Amaury CazanaTigres del Licey358
Timo PerezTigres del Licey352
Luis TerreroAguilas Cibaenas332
Juan RichardsonLeones del Escogido217
Danilo SanchezLeones del Escogido216
Adam PavkovichTigres del Licey224
Diory HernandezLeones del Escogido227
Bradley CoonEstrellas de Oriente219

Hawaii Winter League

NameTeamHBPPlate Appearances
Tommy GilesWaikiki Beach Boys466
Tony ThomasWaikiki Beach Boys383
Darin HolcombHonolulu Sharks377
Todd FrazierWaikiki Beach Boys397
Cyle HankerdWest Oahu CaneFires374
Buster PoseyWaikiki Beach Boys247
James SkeltonWest Oahu CaneFires256
Marquez SmithWaikiki Beach Boys290
Lars DavisHonolulu Sharks242
Gregory BurnsWest Oahu CaneFires285
Mark HallbergWest Oahu CaneFires283
Chris CarterNorth Shore Honu282
Bradley EmausHonolulu Sharks263
Matt McBrideNorth Shore Honu2105

Mexican Pacific League

NameTeamHBPPlate Appearances
Carlos GastelumNaranjeros de Hermosillo466
Brian MyrowVenados de Mazatlan463
Luis CruzYaquis de Obregon340
Pedro DiazCaneros de los Mochis345
Cristhian PresichiAlgodoneros de Guasave373
Javier RoblesMayos de Navojoa266
Xavier PaulAguilas de Mexicali263
Todd JenningsAguilas de Mexicali266
Fernando RiosMayos de Navojoa240
Jason DuboisAguilas de Mexicali264
Kit PellowAlgodoneros de Guasave275
Erubiel DurazoNaranjeros de Hermosillo275
Tike RedmanAlgodoneros de Guasave265
Jason PhillipsYaquis de Obregon252

Venezuelan Winter League
NameTeamHBPPlate Appearances
Luis GonzalezCaribes de Anzoategui555
Brendan KatinAguilas de Zulia343
Luis OliverosAguilas de Zulia244
Rajai DavisCaribes de Anzoategui244
Jackson MelianLeones del Caracas245
Eliezer AlfonzoCaribes de Anzoategui253
Jesus GuzmanLeones del Caracas262
Gorkys HernandezCaribes de Anzoategui215

If Kevin Frandsen's name sounds familiar, he's the guy who got hit by a pitch in his first three major league games, back in 2006. He's still with the Giants organization. Casper Wells is a prospect for the Detroit Tigers, and looks like he might be ready to add some valuable HBPs to their offense.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Congratulations Philadelphia!

The Phillies finished off the the Rays last night, to become World Series Champions, and more importantly, Chase Utley got hit by a pitch (though that was in Monday's part of the game). That means that the Phillies only tied for fewest HBPs in a victorious postseason campaign in the division era. Utley's plunk brought their total to 2, tied with the '99 Yankees for the fewest since the playoffs went to 3 rounds. The 1992 Blue Jays were the last team to get hit only once in the postseason, and win the World Series, and nobody has won a World Series without getting plunked at least once since the 1976 Reds.

While they only got hit by two pitches, the Phillies made the most of those plunked base runners, as Eric Bruntlett scored the winning run in game 3, and Utley scored the 2nd of 4 Phillies runs in their 4-3 victory in game 5. Utley became only the 2nd player ever to get hit over 25 times in the regular season and get plunked in the World Series, joining Don Baylor who did so in back to back years with the 1986 Red Sox and the 1987 Twins (though only 4 of his HBPs that season came after his trade to the Twins).

Monday, October 27, 2008

3rd Carl plunked in World Series History

Carl Crawford got hit by a pitch in last night's World Series game 4, but it didn't help the Rays move any closer to a win - the lost 10-2. Crawford became the 3rd player named Carl to get hit by a pitch in the World Series, joining Carl Furillo (10/3/1955) and Carl Yastrzemski (10/7/1967). Carl Everett has been plunked in the division series in each league, but not the World Series.

Crawford got hit by Joe Blanton, who was the 6th Joe to hit a batter in the World Series, joining Joe Magrane, Joe Neikro, Joe Dobson, Joe Bush and Smokey Joe Wood.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Eric Bruntlett - Most clutch HBP in World Series History?

The Phillies finally got their first HBP of the postseaon last night, when Eric Bruntlett got hit by a pitch to lead off the 9th inning. He came around to score the winning run, making that the first time in World Series history that the walk-off winning run was scored by someone who reached base on an HBP. It's very interesting that the Phillies first HBP of the 2008 postseason was recorded not by the guy who got hit 27 times in the regular season - but by the guy who used to be play for the Astros alongside the modern era HBP king, Craig Biggio.

The last time the go-ahead run was scored by a plunked batter in a World Series game was game 6 of the 1992 series, when Charlie Leibrant hit Devon White in the top of the 11th inning. He then gave up a Roberto Alomar single and a Dave Winfield double, which drove in White as the go ahead run, and Alomar for a needed insurance run. Atlanta got one back in the bottom of the inning, so White's run wasn't the ultimate difference maker, but it was a clutch HBP.

In game 2 of the 1974 World Series, Sal Bando got plunked by Don Sutton to lead off the bottom of the 9th for the A's, and scored on a Reggie Jackson double, but Bando's run left the A's still down 3-2, and the rest of the team could not continue the rally. That was the last time a batter got hit to lead of the 9th inning or later, and scored a run, before last night.

In game 4 of the 1957 World Series, the Milwaukee Braves entered the bottom of the 10th inning, trailing 5-4. Tommy Byrne hit lead-off pinch hitter Nippy Jones. Jones was replaced by pinch runnner Felix Mantilla who move to second base on a Red Schoendienst sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a Johnny Logan double to tie the game. Eddie Mathews then won the game with a two-run homer, but it was Nippy Jones' HBP that started the rally.

In game 1 of the 1907 World Series, Harry Steinfeldt got hit by a Bill Donovan pitch in the 9th inning, and came around to score the tying run. That game went another 3 innings but ended in a tie (back when that sort of thing was allowed).

4 other batters got hit by a pitch in the 9th inning or later, and scored a run, but none of those runs was integral to the outcome of the game. In 1979, Bill Robinson took a plunk with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th inning of World Series game 7, but that just extend the Pirates lead to 4-1 and sealed their victory.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Note to Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies have made it as far as game 2 of the World Series this year, and still haven't been hit by a pitch. You know who the last team was to get to game 2 of the World Series without getting hit by a pitch? The 1993 Phillies. The last team to get that far in the postseason without getting hit by a pitch and actually WIN the World Series was the 1992 Blue Jays.

The '93 Phillies finally got hit by a pitch in game 4, but it didn't help out there campaign by then.

The last team to make it through the World Series without getting hit by any pitches in the playoffs was the 1985 Cardinals (who lost) and the last team to do that before them was the 1983 Phillies (who also lost). Nobody's managed to make it through the playoffs victoriously, without getting hit by a pitch, was the 1976 Reds.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

AQ - asked questions (not necessarily Frequently)

The following are not questions anyone asked me specifically, but questions asked of The Internet (via various search engines) which directed people to either this site, or my old one - Plunk Biggio. That is, search queries I found in the traffic logs.
Since they might not have found the answer very easily on the page Google or Ask or Yahoo sent them to, as a public service, I'm answering them here.

Q:"How many hits did Craig Biggio get in his major league career and how many years did he play"
A: Craig Biggio had 3060 hits in 20 years in the majors, plus 39 hits in 9 postseason series in 6 different years. He also got hit by 285 pitches in the regular season, 2 in the postseason, and one in an all star game.

Q: "how many 3,000 hit club members get their hit off a hall of fame pitcher?"
A: I assume they mean case where a player got his 3000th hit of an eventual hall of fame pitcher. Dave Winfield is the only one, at least among the players who reached 3000 after 1950 - he got his 3000th hit off Dennis Eckersley. But, it's worth noting that Stan Musial got his 3000th hit off Moe Drabowsky, and Drabowsky is a member of my friend Josh's hall of "fame of fat guys and guys from Poland" (you just have to be one or the other for consideration). Drabowsky is the all time leader in HBPs among players from Poland, in both batting and pitching.

Q: "who had 2500 singles but not 3000 hits?"
A: Willie Keeler. He's the only one. He also got hit by 129 pitches, which is pretty good.

Q: "is a hbp a plate appearance?"
A: yes. but it should count as a home run. Then Biggio would come out of retirement.

Q: "what is the distance in miles from petco park to fenway?"
A: 3,043 by car, on the route provided by google maps. Which is exactly one mile for every major league batter whose been hit by a pitch, in the regular season, since May 13, 2007.

Q: "who has most hbp for white sox?"
A: Carlos Quentin had the most in 2008 with 20, but Minnie Minoso has the franchise record with 145, and the single season record with 23

Q: "what events have happened since july 22, 1999?"
A: um... 16,579 batters got hit by a pitch? Is that what you were looking for? If you're not going to be more specific, I can only guess. Jason Kendall has the most HBPs since then with 142, followed by Craig Biggio and Jason Giambi with 135.

Q: "What are facts of tuesday?"
A: Casey Blake and Chase Utley led the majors in HBPs on Tuesday this past season with 6 each. Kevin Youkilis had the highest Tuesday slugging percentage among players with at least 75 Tuesday at-bats. He slugged .750 on Tuesdays. 94 batters have been plunked in the postseason on Tuesdays, but Tom Glavine is the only pitcher who has hit 3 batters on Tuesdays. (This is a popular question - different forms of this query like "facts about Tuesdays" have come up 12 different times in the past month.)

Q: "things that happened in 1999"
A: Gene Kingsale became the first major leaguer born in Aruba to hit a sacrifice fly - Sept 14, 1999. And he became the first Aruban to get hit by a pitch, which was probably more important. (This one comes up about as often as the Tuesday question.)

Q: "the surprising hit in 1996"
A: Not much of a question to work with here... but Roger Salkeld went 1 for 32 that year, so that one hit was probably surprising.

Q: "home alone with michael jackson pitchers"
A: Pitcher Mike Jackson gave up 67 solo home runs in his career. (Please let this be what that googler was actually looking for.)

Q: "example of a good beginning and a bad ending"
A: This blog post?

Monday, October 20, 2008

ALCS Game 7 - is not friendly to the HBP

Last night, Dustin Pedroia became the 6th batter to get hit by a pitch in game 7 of an American League Championship Series, and the 5th batter to lose such a game after being plunked. The only player ever to get plunked in ALCS game 7 and win was Hal McRae, in 1985 for the Royals. But, an opposing Toronto batter was also hit in that game, so in ALCS game sevens, the team with the most plunks is 0-3. Al Oliver got hit for the Blue Jays and lost in 1985's ALCS game 7 (by Brett Saberhagen), Bobby Grich and Bob Boone both got hit by Roger Clemens in the 1986 ALCS game 7 and lost, and Miguel Cairo got hit by Derek Lowe in the 2004 ALCS game 7 and lost. (But, even though he lost the game, Cairo did set the record, which still stands, for most HBPs in a single playoff series, since that was his 4th. That should count as the Yankees 27th Championship. Probably.)

In National League Championship game sevens, teams that have gotten hit twice in the game are 0-3 (the 1988 Mets, 2003 Cubs, and 2004 Astros), while teams that get plunked once are 2-1 (the Cardinals and Mets had one each in 2007, which the Cardinals won, and the Braves got hit once in their 1996 game 7 NLCS win).

In the World Series, the team that gets hit the most in game 7 has won 6 out of 8 times. There were two World Series game 7s in which both teams got hit once each, so teams that get plunked at least once in the World Series are 8-4. The 1979 Pirates got plunked twice in game 7 that year, and won, so teams with more than one HBP in World Series game 7 are undefeated, 1-0.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jason Bartlett - first postseason HBP(s) in Rays franchise history

Josh Beckett hit Jason Bartlett with a pitch last night in the third inning, making Bartlett the first batter in Rays history to get hit by a pitch. Justin Masterson hit Barlett in the 8th inning, which made Bartlett the 5th player in Major League History to record the first 2 postseason HBPs for a franchise - but he's the only player to do so in the first game. No other player has been plunked twice in a postseason game for a franchise that had never before been plunked in the postseason. The others who got hit by the first 2 plunks in their team's postseason history are Roger Bresnahan of the Giants, Honus Wagner of the Pirates, Frank Chance of the Cubs, and Hal McRae for the Royals.

Also, Jason Bay got hit by a pitch, which means there were three HBPs in last nights game, all by guys name Jason. That's the first time in postseason history that three HBPs were recorded by players with the same first name.

Here's the full list, in chronological order, of the first postseason HBPs in the history of each franchise (the Nationals are the only team left without one):

Red Sox - Hobe Ferris, 1903 World Series Game 1, 10/01/1903

Pirates - Honus Wagner, 1903 World Series Game 3, 10/03/1903

Giants - Roger Bresnahan, 1905 World Series Game 1, 10/09/1905 (as New York Giants)

A's - Andy Coakley, 1905 World Series Game 3, 10/12/1905 (as Philadelphia Athletics)

White Sox - George Rohe, 1906 World Series Game 2, 10/10/1906

Cubs - Frank Chance, 1906 World Series Game 5, 10/13/1906

Tigers - Ty Cobb, 1907 World Series Game 2, 10/09/1907

Braves - Rabbit Maranville, 1914 World Series Game 2, 10/10/1914 (as Boston Braves)

Phillies - Milt Stock, 1915 World Series Game 5, 10/13/1915

Dodgers - George Cutshaw, 1916 World Series Game 1, 10/07/1916 (as Brooklyn Robins)

Reds - Morrie Rath, 1919 World Series Game 1, 10/01/1919

Yankees - Mike McNally, 1921 World Series Game 3, 10/07/1921

Twins - Bucky Harris, 1925 World Series Game 1, 10/07/1925 (as Washington Senators)

Cardinals - Tommy Thevenow, 1926 World Series Game 6, 10/09/1926

Indians - Lou Boudreau, 1948 World Series Game 6, 10/11/1948

Mets - Cleon Jones, 1969 World Series Game 5, 10/16/1969

Orioles - Davey Johnson, 1970 ALCS Game 1, 10/03/1970

Royals - Hal McRae, 1976 ALCS Game 3, 10/12/1976

Brewers - Charlie Moore, 1982 ALCS Game 1, 10/05/1982

Angels - Bobby Grich, 1982 ALCS Game 2, 10/06/1982

Padres - Tim Flannery, 1984 NLCS Game 1, 10/02/1984

Blue Jays - Willie Upshaw, 1985 ALCS 1, 10/08/1985

Astros - Glenn Davis, 1986 NLCS Game 3, 10/11/1986

Rockies - Walt Weiss, 1995 NLDS Game 1, 10/03/1995

Mariners - Mike Blowers, 1995 ALDS Game 3, 10/06/1995

Marlins - Charles Johnson, 1997 NLDS Game 1, 09/30/1997

Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, 1999 NLDS Game 2, 10/06/1999

Rays - Jason Bartlett (twice), 2008 ALCS Game 6, 10/18/2008

Nationals - Lastings Milledge, 2009 NLDS Game 2, 10/2/2009 (or... 2012? 2020? Maybe?)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

they leave me no other choice...

It's been a slow postseason as far as HBPs go this year. It seems not many players are interested in taking a pitch and a little bit of pain that might help their team win. There have been just 11 plunks in 24 postseason games in 2008, which is, at the moment, the lowest plunks per game output for a postseason since 1992 when only 5 batters got hit in 19 games. Of course there will be at least 5 more games this season to bring that up, but the trend so far hasn't looked good. If Tampa Bay manages to finish off the Red Sox without getting hit by a pitch, we could have two teams in the World Series who made it their without getting plunked in the postseason. Both have had some close calls, but neither team has been actually been hit in their Division or Championship series. The last time the World Series had two teams that didn't get hit by any pitches in the previous rounds was 1992 when the Blue Jays played the Braves - three years before the Divisional Round was added.

So, since nobody wants to get hit by any interesting number of pitches this year, or do it in any interesting way (with the exception of Jamie Moyer and Russell Martin), I guess I'll just have to live in the past and talk about the 2008 regular season. And if I'm going to talk about the past, I might as well put things in terms of Craig Biggio.

1,672 HBPs were recorded during the 2008 regular season, but only 221 of them were thrown by pitchers who had previously hit Craig Biggio with a pitch. Of the 213 pitchers who plunked Craig Biggio, 54 pitched during the 2008 season, and 48 of them hit at least one batter. Of that group, Vicente Padilla hit the most batters with 15.
Pitchers who plunked Biggio averaged 4.1 hit batters each in 2008, while pitchers who didn't hit Craig Biggio only hit 2.43 each.

On the batting side, the 2008 leaders for getting hit by pitches thrown by pitchers who once plunked Biggio were Lastings Milledge and Nate McLouth with 5 each. Kevin Kouzmanoff, Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder and Josh Willingham had 4 each. They're all well short of the record though - in 1998, Jason Kendall got hit 12 times by pitchers who had hit Craig Biggio with at least one pitch in their career, at the time they plunked Kendall. Kendall holds the career mark as well, having been hit 59 times by pitchers who hit Craig Biggio and that doesn't include the 23 plunks thrown by a pitcher who hit Kendall before Biggio, and then hit Biggio later in his career.

221 plunks by pitchers who have hit Craig Biggio with a pitch is the lowest single season total since 1996. That year, only 200 batters were hit by pitchers in that not-very-exclusive club. In both 2004 and 2005, pitchers who plunked Biggio hit 396 batters. Last year they hit 325 batters.
Here are the year by year totals of HBPs thrown by pitchers who had previously plunked Craig Biggio:
2008 - 221
2007 - 325
2006 - 356
2005 - 396
2004 - 396
2003 - 341
2002 - 328
2001 - 345
2000 - 321
1999 - 255
1998 - 327
1997 - 291
1996 - 200
1995 - 140
1994 - 62
1993 - 66
1992 - 49
1991 - 23
1990 - 19
1989 - 15

In case your wondering how long it might be before the last batter is hit by a pitcher who plunked Biggio, I checked the same thing for the group of pitchers who hit Don Baylor with a pitch. Baylor's last HBP was on September 28, 1988 (thrown by Bert Blyleven), but the last HBP thrown by a pitcher who plunked Baylor wasn't until August 2, 2001 when Brett Saberhagen threw his final HBP. He hit Troy Glaus.

Circling back to the 2008 postseason, two of the eleven plunks this postseason have been thrown by pitchers who plunked Biggio - Carlos Zambrano hit Casey Blake, and Chad Durbin hit Russell Martin. There has now been at least one postseason HBP thrown by a pitcher who plunked Biggio, in 14 consecutive years, dating back to 1995 when the Division Series was added.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Historic NLCS game 3

You may have thought that game 3 of the NLCS last night was important because the Dodgers won, and brought the series to 2-1, but that's not what was REALLY important in last night's game.

First, Jamie Moyer hit Russell Martin with a pitch. That plunk gives Moyer the record for being the oldest pitcher ever to hit a batter in a postseason game. David Wells held the prior record at 43 years 4 months old when he hit David Eckstein on October 5, 2006. But Moyer hit Russell Martin at the age of 45 years 10 months. That plunk also had the biggest age difference between the pitcher and batter of any plunk in postseason history. Moyer is about 20 years and 3 months older than Martin. The previous largest age gap between the thrower and receiver of a postseason plunk was 17 years 2 months, when Joe Neikro hit Jim Lindeman on October 21, 1987. Neikro was 42 years 11 months when he threw that, so he held the record for the oldest postseason plunker from that date until David Wells broke it in 2006.

Also, Russell Martin got hit later in the game by Chad Durbin, and that means Martin is the first batter ever to get hit twice in an NLCS game. He's just the 12th batter to have a 2 plunk game in the postseason.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

JD Drew shows toughness and team spirit - really!

Grant Balfour hit JD Drew with a face-level fastball (which Drew took in the shoulder) in ALCS Game 1 last night, which makes Drew the 109th batter plunked in the ALCS and the 18th hit in ALCS Game 1. Drew got hit in World Series game 2 last year, so he's up to 2 postseason HBPs for his career - 6 short of David Eckstein's record of 8. Grant Balfour had never hit a batter in the postseason before that one, but he got his first out of the way with his first pitch of the series. Teams that get hit by a pitch in ALCS game 1 have one the series just 47% of the time (8 wins out of 17 instances). The average total HBPs fro an ALCS in which one batter got hit in game 1 is 3.6.

In the NLCS, they've gone 2 games without hitting anyone, but in NLCS history, 21 batters have been plunked in a series in which nobody got hit in the first 2 games. The average NLCS with no batters hit in the first two games has had 1.5 plunks in the rest of the series, but when 1 batter has been hit in the first two games, there have only been 1.4 plunks the rest of the way. When 2 or 3 batters were hit in NLCS games 2 or 3, games 3 through 7 of those series have averaged only 1.3 total HBPs.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

more postseason hit batters records

Four days and nineteen years ago, on October 4, 1989, Greg Maddux pitched his first game in the postseason. He was pitching for the Chicago Cubs at the time, facing the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, and he hit Matt Williams with a pitch with 2 outs in the third inning. Since then, he's hit 8 other batters in the post season, against 8 different teams in all, in 8 different seasons. If he gets a chance to hit one of the Phillies with a pitch, he'll be the first player to hit batters from 9 different teams in the postseason. He also might be the first pitcher to hit 10 batters in the postseason, unless Tim Wakefield beats him to it.

The Red Sox announced today that Tim Wakefield will be starting game 4 of the ALCS for them. His first playoff game was in the 1992 NLCS, pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Atlanta Braves, but that was the year before Greg Maddux joined the team. Wakefield didn't hit a batter until the 1995 ALDS, when he had joined the Red Sox and they were facing the Cleveland Indians. He was the first pitcher to hit current Dodger and Maddux teammate, and former Red Sox and Wakefield teammate, Manny Ramirez with a pitch. And he did it again in the '98 division series. In all, Wakefield has hit 8 different postseason batters a total of 9 times, facing 5 different teams in 6 different postseasons. While Maddux has thrown a postseason plunk for 3 different employers, Wakefield has thrown all 9 of his since joining the Red Sox.

Tom Glavine and David Wells are tied for 3rd place on the postseason plunks thrown list with 7 each, trailing the 9 plunks of Maddux and Wakefield.

Tim Wakefield holds sole possession of the American League Division Series record for hitting batters with pitches with 6, but Greg Maddux only has a tie for the NLDS record, with 3 - tied with Kevin Brown. Maddux is also in a tie for the National League Championship Series plunking record with 5, tied with Greg Maddux. Wakefield has only hit 2 batters in the ALCS, behind a group of leaders who have hit 4 ALCS batters (Mike Boddicker, Pedro Martinez, Jeff Nelson, Frank Tanana, and David Wells). Both pitchers have hit just one batter in the World Series.

So, it will be interesting to see if either of them gets his 10th postseason hit-batter... and if the Red Sox and Dodgers meet in the world series, maybe they could even plunk each other. (No opposing pitchers have ever plunked each other in the postseason).

By the way, David Wells holds the record for hitting batters in the postseason while playing for the most teams, with 4. He hit batters on behalf of the Yankees, Padres, Orioles and Reds. Maddux's eight opposing teams plunked is the record there, but Pedro Martinez holds the record for hitting one team the most times in the postseason, with 4 hit-batsmen against the Yankees. Pedro is the only pitcher to hit the same batter in two different games in the same postseason series (Alex Rodriguez in the 2004 ALCS), and, Tim Wakefield is the only pitcher who has hit the same batter in the postseason in two different years (Manny Ramirez in 1995 and 1998).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

division round wrap up and LCS preview

The Division Round of the American League playoffs wrapped up both series yesterday, but no one got hit by a pitch in either of the ALDS Game 4s. There have been only 13 HBPs in the history of ALDS games 4 (21 games in all). The ALDS appears to have declining plunk numbers as the series moves along - batters have been hit an average of 0.9 times per game in ALDS Game 1, 0.87 times per game in Game 2, 0.67 in game 3, and 0.62 HBPs per game have been recorded in ALDS game 4. There's a bit of an upswing in games five, with 7 hbps in 10 game fives, but that's a very small group. Interestingly, the NLDS works in the opposite direction - game 1 plunk rates are 0.57 per game in NLDS Game 1 history, going up to 0.63 in game 2, 0.67 in game 3, and 0.94 in game 4. But, no batter has ever been hit by a pitch in game 5 of an NLDS. Overall, batters have been hit about 21% more often per game in the ALDS than in the NLDS.

In the American League Championship Series, if you're hoping to see someone heroically standing in the way of a pitch to gain a valuable base runner for his team, your best bet is to watch Game 5. More batters have been hit in game 5 of the ALCS than any other game, even though there have only been 24 game fives in the 38 American League Championships played so far. 26 batters have been hit in those games.

Here's the HBP rates per game in the various games of the American League and National League Championships:


As you can see, overall, batters get hit about 19.8% more often per game in odd numbered games of the series than in even numbered games.

As for this years matchups, the Dodgers and Phillies hit each other 11 times during the regular season, which is exactly as many times as last year's NL finalists Arizona and Colorado hit each other in the 2007 regular season. Prior to that, no NLCS featured teams that had hit each other with that many pitches in the regular season. 11 plunks is also the largest 2008 total among National League teams that aren't divisional opponents.

In the ALCS, the Rays and Red Sox plunked each other 25 times, which was 2nd only to the Indians and Tigers among 2008's most plunk-filled regular season matchups. The last time the ALCS opponents hit each other that many times was the 2004 Yankees-Red Sox series. Those two teams hit each other 33 times that season, and tied the ALCS record by hitting each other 8 times. The '87 ALCS, and the 1919 and 2005 World Series also had 8 batters hit by a pitch, and the 1909 World Series is the only post season series with more - they had 10, but Hughie Jennings was managing one of those teams. Also, if you like Game 7s, their have only been 5 game 7s in ALCS history, but 4 of them involved the Red Sox.

Also, keep in mind that ALCS games that take place on even numbered days of the month feature batters getting hit 0.62 times per game, while they only get hit 0.54 times per game on odd numbered game - about 13.4% less often. In the NLCS though, batters get hit 25% more often per game on odd numbered days than on evens. 0.53 HBPs occur per NLCS game on odd numbered days, but only 0.42 on even numbered days. I don't know what good that will do you, but keep it in mind anyway. It could be like one of those key pieces of useless information that shows up on the 7th page of a book as a passing detail but turns out to be the key to the whole mystery that the hero randomly remembers at the end of the book even though several years have passed and he had no reasonable need to ever remember that bit of trivia. Years from now, when you read this again, you'll catch on to the foreshadowing.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Division series HBP records

Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli both got hit by pitches in ALDS game 3 between the Red Sox and Angels at Fenway last night, as the Angels extended that series, but in the nobody got hit in the final game of this years National League divisional round. That means only 3 batters got hit in the 2008 NLDS - tied for the 2nd fewest plunks the NLDS since that round was added to the playoffs in 1995. Only 1 batter was hit in the 1997 NLDS, and 3 were plunked in 1996 and 2001. On the American League side, the 2008 ALDS is also third to last place in ALDS plunk history with 5 batters plunked this year. That's ahead of only the 2006 ALDS when 3 batters were plunked, and the 1997 ALDS when 4 batters got hit. However, their will be at least two more games before the 2008 ALDS is over.

If the White Sox and Rays and Red Sox and Angels hit each other 5 more times, they can set the ALDS record for most plunks in a postseason. There were 9 in the 2001, 2002 and 2005 ALDS. But, they'd need to hit each other 7 more times to break the overall division series record because the 2005 NLDS had a total of 11 plunks. The '98 Astros, 2005 White Sox, and 2007 Indians are tied for the team record for most times plunked in a division series with 5 each, and a long list of players is tied for the individual record for most plunks in a single division series with 2. But, Manny Ramirez has the career lead in division series HBPs with 4, and Tim Wakefield has the pitching record with 6 hit batters in his division series career.

Speaking of which, when Manny Delcarmen hit Mike Napoli last night, that moved the Red Sox into the all time franchise lead for hitting batters in Division Series play ahead of the Yankees. The Red Sox have now hit 22 batters in Division Series games. The Yankees are 2nd with 21, and Cleveland is behind them with 13. Atlanta has hit 12 Division Series batters to lead the National League, and the Padres are behind them. The Yankees still have a commanding lead in the category of getting hit by pitches in the Division Series playoff round, with 25. Cleveland is 2nd with 17, and the Cardinals are behind them with 14.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Postseason HBPs of note - October 3, 2008

There was only one HBP in last night's playoff action - Scott Kazmir hit Orlando Cabrera to lead off the game. This marks the 2nd time Cabrera has been hit in the 1st inning of a playoff game, putting him in a 15 way tie for first place on the all time career list for 1st inning postseason HBPs. (That list has a name almost as long as its membership).

Now that the Rays have hit 2 batters this postseason, that means all 30 current Major League franchises have hit a batter in the postseason. But, the Rays are one of 3 franchises who have never been plunked in the postseason. The Rangers and Nationals have never had a postseason HBP in either of their franchise histories.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Postseason HBPs of note - October 2, 2008

AJ Pierzynski, Casey Blake, and Corey Hart all got hit by pitches yesterday (by James Shields, Carlos Zambrano and Brett Myers), but none of them scored a run after being plunked onto first base. That means the last 11 batters plunked in Division Series games have failed to produce a run. Last plunked batter to score in the division series was Ryan Garko of the Indians in ALDS game 1 on October 4, 2007, against the Yankees. The last Division Series batter to get hit with the bases loaded was Xavier Nady of the Padres, on October 6, 2005 against the Cardinals. No one has gotten plunked with the bases loaded in any other playoff round since that one either.

Pierzynski's was the 2nd playoff plunk of his career. In 2005 he also got hit in game one of his division series - the White Sox won that game, and went on to win the World Series.

Carlos Zambrano threw the plunk that hit Casey Blake, making it the 2nd postseason plunk thrown by Zambrano. The prior one was in game 5 of the NLCS in 2003, which the Cubs lost to Josh Beckett and the Marlins, which extended the series to game 6 which they lost to Steve Bartman and the Marlins. That one was the only plunk thrown by a pitcher whose last name starts with Z in a National League Championship game, and this one was the first throw by a pitcher whose last name starts with Z in a National League Division Series game. Barry Zito has thrown three HBPs in ALDS games, but no other round. Geoff Zahn is the only Z pitcher who hit a batter in the ALCS, and Tom Zachary was the only pitcher with the last initial Z to hit a batter in the World Series (back in 1928 for the Yankees). That makes Zambrano the only National League Z to hit a batter in the postseason, and the only pitcher with the last initial Z to hit a batter in two different playoff rounds. I'm sure he's hoping for a chance to get that third playoff round plunk on the books.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Postseason HBPs of note - Oct 1, 2008

Jed Lowrie of the Red Sox drew the first plunk of the 2008 playoffs, thrown by Angels starter John Lackey. It wjavascript:void(0)as the first postseason plunking for both of them.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

2008 American League HBP awards

Now that the AL has finally completed their season, we can hand out their HBP awards.

Most Plunkable Player Award - AL (most HBPs by a batter):

Jason Giambi, New York Yankees - 22

Left handed batters led both the American League and the National League for the 2nd consecutive season, marking the first time that's ever happened. Carlos Quentin was the right handed leader in the AL with 20, and Milton Bradley was the leading switch hitter with 9.

The Phil Knell Award - AL (most batters plunked by a pitcher):

Daniel Cabrera, Bal - 18

Dana Eveland was the AL's top plunk-throwing lefty with 12.

Mitch Williams Award - AL (most hit batters by a relief pitcher):

Josh Rupe, Texas Rangers - 10

Jason Giambi led the AL in getting hit by relief pitchers, with 12.

Plunked Rookie of the Year - AL (most HBPs by a rookie):

Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox - 7

The Gus Weyhig Award - AL (most plunks thrown by a rookie):

Josh Rupe, Texas Rangers - 10

Sandy Alomar Award - AL (most plate appearances without an HBP):

Bobby Crosby, Oakland A's - 605

The Chick Fraser Award - AL (most batters faced without hitting anyone)

Gil Meche, Kansas City Royal - 886

No American League pitcher has faced that many batters in a season without hitting any of them since Bill Gullickson for the 1992 Tigers. He faced 919 batters without throwing a plunk.

Most Plunked Team - AL (the plunk pennant):

Cleveland Indians - 103!

That's the post-1900 record, in case you hadn't heard.

Least Plunked Team - AL:

Minnesota Twins - 36

That's not a great total but at least they had two players who got hit 7 times. The Angels didn't have a player with more than 6 plunks, despite their 52 HBP team total.

Most Plunks Thrown - AL:

Baltimore Orioles - 80

Fewest Plunks Thrown - AL:

Twins - 31

American League All Plunk Team:

1st Base: Jason Giambi, New York Yankees - 17 (Giambi had 22 in all, but only 17 while playing 1B)

2nd Base: Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox - 7

Short Stop: Jason Bartlett, Tampa Bay Rays - 9
Alex Cora, Boston Red Sox - 9

3rd Base: Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees - 12

Left Field: Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox - 20

Center Field: Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians - 10

Right Field: Franklin Gutierrez, Cleveland Indians - 7

Catcher: Kelly Shoppach, Cleveland Indians - 11
Kurt Suzuki, Oakland A's - 11

Designated Hitter: Milton Bradley, Texas Rangers - 9

Pinch Hitter: Brandon Inge, Detroit Tigers - 2
Marlon Byrd, Texas Rangers - 2

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