Archive for July, 2009

Garko gets 11th

Friday, July 31st, 2009

HBPs of note: July 30, 2009

It was a pretty quiet day for HBPs yesterday, with only 7 plunks around the league. Ryan Garko got his 11th of the season, bringing the Indians season total to 61. That’s a lot, but they’ll need to pick up the pace a little if they want to break their record from last year.

So far this year, 407 different pitchers have hit 354 different batters a total of 997 times. 925 of those have been the first plunk thrown by a pitcher who had never previously plunked that batter.

A brief history of people getting hit by John Lackey pitches

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

John Lackey is the new franchise record holder in the category of hitting batters for the Los Angeles Angels of 33°48′1″N 117°52′58″W. He’s hit 72 batters since first putting on an Angels uniform, and the Angels have gone 33-27 when he hits at least one batter with a pitch. When he hits 2 batters, they’re 7-3, but they’re 0-1 when he hits 3 batters in a game. His favorite inning to plunk batters has been the 2nd with 18, and he’s hit 38 left handers vs 34 righty batters. That’s a little unusual for a right handed pitcher. His favorite team to hit with pitches has been the New York Yankees. He’s hit them with 9 of his 72 plunks, and he’s the all time leader in plunking Derek Jeter, having done so 4 times. Of the 72 batters Lackey has hit, only 20 of them ended up scoring a run after reaching base on the plunk, and only 16 of those were scored as Earned Runs. And, only 1 of the 72 was a bases loaded plunk.

So, let’s congratulate John Lackey on this historic accomplishment, and to celebrate, here’s the complete list of all 72 of his hit batters, complete with links to each box score:

106/30/2002 – Brian Jordan
208/05/2002 – Shane Halter
308/22/2002 – Jason Giambi
409/01/2002 – Melvin Mora
504/06/2003 – Terrence Long
604/16/2003 – Ryan Christenson
705/02/2003 – Josh Phelps
805/18/2003 – Jeremy Giambi
905/24/2003 – Jared Sandberg
1005/24/2003 – Aubrey Huff
1107/20/2003 – Melvin Mora
1208/10/2003 – Jhonny Peralta
1308/20/2003 – Miguel Olivo
1409/07/2003 – Joe Randa
1504/15/2004 – Bret Boone
1605/19/2004 – Derek Jeter
1705/24/2004 – Carlos Delgado
1805/24/2004 – Simon Pond
1907/18/2004 – Nomar Garciaparra
2008/03/2004 – Torii Hunter
2108/03/2004 – Corey Koskie
2209/20/2004 – Randy Winn
2304/22/2005 – Bobby Kielty
2404/28/2005 – Derek Jeter
2505/21/2005 – Hee Seop Choi
2605/26/2005 – Aaron Rowand
2706/06/2005 – Andruw Jones
2806/29/2005 – Rod Barajas
2907/17/2005 – Bret Boone
3008/31/2005 – Mark Ellis
3109/26/2005 – Jason Kendall
3209/30/2005 – David Dellucci
3309/30/2005 – Mark Teixeira
3404/04/2006 – Ichiro Suzuki
3504/21/2006 – Nick Swisher
3605/02/2006 – Mark Ellis
3706/04/2006 – Grady Sizemore
3806/26/2006 – Todd Helton
3908/25/2006 – Derek Jeter
4008/30/2006 – Chris Snelling
4108/30/2006 – Richie Sexson
4209/05/2006 – Ramon Hernandez
4304/07/2007 – Nick Swisher
4405/27/2007 – Bobby Abreu
4505/27/2007 – Doug Mientkiewicz
4606/13/2007 – Ken Griffey
4706/13/2007 – Brandon Phillips
4806/18/2007 – Luke Scott
4906/25/2007 – Joey Gathright
5006/25/2007 – Alex Gordon
5107/07/2007 – Derek Jeter
5207/14/2007 – Frank Catalanotto
5308/17/2007 – Manny Ramirez
5409/02/2007 – Ramon Vazquez
5505/25/2008 – Carlos Quentin
5605/31/2008 – Matt Stairs
5707/23/2008 – Asdrubal Cabrera
5807/29/2008 – J.D. Drew
5908/09/2008 – Jason Giambi
6008/16/2008 – Ryan Garko
6108/16/2008 – Kelly Shoppach
6208/21/2008 – Denard Span
6309/16/2008 – Cliff Pennington
6409/26/2008 – Josh Hamilton
6505/16/2009 – Ian Kinsler
6605/23/2009 – Randy Wolf
6705/23/2009 – Andre Ethier
6805/23/2009 – Casey Blake
6906/15/2009 – Nate Schierholtz
7007/12/2009 – Jose Molina
7107/29/2009 – Shin-Soo Choo
7207/29/2009 – Victor Martinez

John Lackey breaks the Angels franchise record!

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

HBPs of Note: July 29, 2009

John Lackey entered yesterday’s game just one hit-batter behind Chuck Finley for the Angels franchise record in the category of hitting batters. But, you had to have a good feeling that the record was going down, when he stepped onto the mound against the Indians, the most plunked team in the league. It didn’t take him long either, hitting Shin-Soo Choo with two outs in the 1st inning to tie Finley, and following that up by hitting Victor Martinez to take sole possession of the Angels Franchise Record.

The Angels all time hit batters list now looks like this:
John Lackey (2002- ) – 72
Chuck Finley (1986-1999) – 71
Nolan Ryan (1972-1979) – 56
Frank Tanana (1973-1980) – 55
Mike Witt (1981-1990) – 48

(Please note, that’s not the same Chuck Finley who’s been hanging around Miami on TV, looking a lot like Bruce Campbell)

Adding to the historical significance of that game, Lackey’s plunk of Shin-Soo Choo not only tied the Angels’ record, but it also made Choo the most plunked Korean born player ever, with 17. He passed Hee Seop Choi. Choo has been hit 10 times this season, so he’s already broken the Korean single season record as well.

In other Eastern Hemisphere news, Ryan Rowland-Smith threw the 100th plunk in Major League history delivered by an Australian pitcher.

Melvin Mora collected his 107th career HBP, moving him into a tie for 55th on the all time list, with Pete Rose and Wally Schang. Which makes this a good time to call for Bud Selig to put Wally Schang in the Hall of Fame! (yeah yeah, he’d have to be voted in by the veterans committee, or the special committee for old-timey players or something. But it’s still easier to just demand action from whoever is in charge.)

Mark Loretta hits a batter?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

HBPs of Note: July 28, 2009

The Dodgers pitching staff got roughed up by the Cardinals yesterday, which forced LA to bring in backup infielder Mark Loretta to pitch the final third of the 8th inning. But the interesting part is that he plunked Matt Holliday. He became the first position player to plunk a batter in a pitching appearance since Aaron Miles (of the Cards) hit Astro Cody Ransom on September 20, 2007. Loretta has been hit 71 times himself, which puts him in the HBP lead among active players who have also hit a batter. Only three players in baseball history who have hit a batter have been hit themselves more times than Loretta – Gary Gaetti (96), Jimmy Ryan (83 – plus 6 thrown), and Yank Robinson (75). Robinson and Ryan threw their plunks before the year 1900, so Gaeti and Loretta are the only modern players to hit a batter and get hit over 70 times. Among active players who have hit a batter, the previously mentioned Aaron Miles has the 2nd most HBPs himself, behing Loretta, with 9.

Loretta’s plunk of Holliday was clocked at 78.3 MPH, which was only the 2nd slowest moving HBP of the night. Mike Gonzalez’s pitch that hit John Baker only left his hand at 76.8 MPH.

In other news, Chase Utley got hit by a pitch for the 15th time this season, putting him back into a tie for first place in the 2009 plunk race. That was the 98th of Utley’s career, and the 2nd contribution by Scott Schoeneweis.

Michael Cuddyer collected the 800th HBP by a batter born in 1979 yesterday, and some other things probably happened.

Mora gets 106

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

HBPs of note: July 27, 2009

Eleven batters got hit by pitches yesterday, although only 9 pitchers hit them. Paul Bako becamse the 349th different batter to be hit at least once this season, and Bruce Chen brought the total number of pitchers who have hit someone this year to 399.

Melvin Mora got his 106th career HBP, provided by Bruce Chen. Mora has been hit 55 times at Camden Yards, which would give him the park record in all but 3 active parks in the league, but not at Camden Yards. He still needs to get hit 12 more times to pass Brady Anderson for the park. Carlos Delgado got hit by 61 pitches at Rogers Skydome, and Craig Biggio got hit 56 times at Minute Maid park. Larry Walker also got hit 55 times at Coors Field, but Mora is still just in 2nd place at his home park, even after 55.

Shoppach takes lead back

Monday, July 27th, 2009

HBPs of Note: July 26, 2009

Mariners starter Jason Vargas was in a giving mood yesterday. Along with giving up 7 hits and 6 earned runs, he also contributed Ryan Garko’s 10th plunk of the season, and Kelly Shoppach’s 15th plunk of the season. That puts Shoppach back in first place in the 2009 HBP race, just ahead of Chase Utley. Prior to Saturday, only 15 batters had been plunked at Safeco Field, but four batters have been hit there in the past two days.

Jeff Weaver had hit 119 batters before yesterday, but none of them were named Hanley Ramirez, so he did that yesterday. Weaver’s 120 career hit batters puts him in 35th place on the all time list – and by “the” all time list, of course that means “one” all time list, due to faulty record keeping in the early 20th and late 19th century on the pitching side of the HBP stats. Weaver hit Hanley Ramirez, which was on of 4 plunks in the Dodgers-Marlins game.

Burke Badenhop got tossed from that same Dodgers-Marlins game after plunking Orlando Hudson, but it might not have been an intentional plunk because Dodger Stadium has been the scene of 12 HBPs in the past week alone. Clearly there is some environmental factor causing this localized increase in HBP activity. Also, the umpire seemed to think Badenhop was retaliating for Weaver’s plunking of Ramirez, or maybe even Jason Schmidt’s plunking of Emilio Bonifacio, but the Dodgers were just trying to help the Marlins toward an important milestone. The Marlins have reached a franchise total of 987 times, and Marlins fans are probably on the edge of their seats waiting for that historic 1000th plunk in team history.

some people get hit by some pitches

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

HBPs of note: July 25, 2009

Seven batters got hit by pitches yesterday, including Jason LaRue for his 105th career plunk and Reed Johnson for his 98th. Johnson’s plunk was thrown by Johnny Cueto, who has hit Johnson twice now, and while hitting everyone else just 19 times.

Four of the seven pitchers who hit batters yesterday had first names that begin with the letter J, but no two of them had the same first name.

Shin-Soo Choo ties Korean record

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

HBPs of note: July 24, 2009

Shin-Soo Choo took an HBP from Ryan Rowland-Smith last night, giving Choo a career total of 16. That ties Hee Seop Choi for the HBP record among batters born in Korea. Choo also got plunked yesterday. Adding Eastern-Hemisphere flavor to the Korean record tying plunk, Ryan Rowland-Smith is from Australia. That was the 99th major league plunk thrown by an Australian, and Rowland-Smith is 7th place on the Australian hit batters list with 5. He’ll need to hit 19 more batters to surpass Graeme Lloyd’s Australian record of 23.

Miguel Tejada got hit for the 105th time in his career, but it was the first contribution by Bobby Parnell. Tejada moves into 58th place on the all time list, ties with Melvin Mora and Dan Brouthers.

Brandon Inge got hit for the 11th time this season and 53rd time in his career, but it was also the 4th time he’s been hit by Jose Contreras. Contreras is the all time leader in plunking Brandon Inge, and Inge is the all time leader in getting plunked by Contreras. The White Sox plunked 3 Detroit batters in that game at Comerica park – Inge, Placido Polanco and Ramon Santiago. Those three batters also happen to be the top 3 HBP leaders in Comerica park history.

Joba Chamberlain took the 2009 season lead for hitting batters, throwing his 11th plunk of the season.

Plunks that could have been walks

Friday, July 24th, 2009

So far this season 930 batters have been hit by a pitch. 188 of them were hit by the first pitch of their plate appearance, but only 50 have been hit after already taking three balls. 20.2% of plunks occur on 0-0 counts, but there are a lot of 0-0 counts – 109,456 of them so through July 23rd this year. Pitches thrown on 0-0 counts have hit batters 0.17% of the time, while for some reason 0.24% of pitches thrown on 3 ball counts have hit the batter. And, since there have been 930 HBPs this year, on a total of 419,450 pitches, that means 0.22% (CORRECTION BELOW) of all pitches hit the batter they’re thrown toward, but they hit the batter slightly more often when the guy already has 3 balls in the count. That is not exactly what you’d expect to find if you worked under the assumption that batters have more incentive to get out of the way when the pitch that’s going to hit them is going to otherwise be ball 4. I can only assume this means batters have adopted the HBP as a way to prove their grittiness to the opposing pitcher, and they don’t care if they’re getting hit by ball 4 if it gets their message across. I like that theory better than the idea that maybe pitchers make more mistakes under the pressure of a 3 ball count, or the argument that it could just be a fluke of the data this year, and it’s not that significant a difference.

50 batters have been hit on 3 ball counts this year, but only Josh Willingham has done it twice – both times on 3-2 counts. Last year Chris Iannetta failed to avoid getting plunked 3 times on 3 ball counts.

UPDATE 7/27/09: Turns out I had a problem in my original query to determine the number of pitches thrown on 3 ball counts, which foolishly excluded pitches that were the 4th ball. So, the real answer as of today is that only 0.13% of pitches thrown on 3 ball counts hit batters this season, which makes a whole lot more sense. I’ve fired my proofreader and fact checker, but they’ve obtained a court order forcing me to allow them to keep their jobs, sighting discrimination, which doesn’t make any sense since they’re all just me.

Kerry Wood plunks 90th

Friday, July 24th, 2009

HBPs of Note: July 23, 2009

Kerry Wood threw the 90th HBP of his career yesterday, plunking Alex Rios. But, that was only the 6th time Kerry Wood his hit a batter on a Thursday. Among active pitchers with at least 90 career HBPs, only Vicente Padilla has a day of the week with less plunks than Wood’s Thursday total. Padilla has hit 98 batters, but only 5 on Mondays.

Marc Rzepczynski hit a batter for the first time in his career, becoming the first pitcher whose name starts with the “Rz” letter combination to hit a batter.

Shin-Soo Choo got hit for the 15th time in his career, which leaves him 1 plunk behind Hee Seop Choi for the all time HBP record for batters born in Korea.