Monday, April 20, 2009

Do walks always haunt?

Are the Reds smarter than they look? The Reds are walking about 5 batters per game. (53 total in 11 games, but in one game, Harang's shutout, they had no free passes.) That seems like a lot to me, but 30% (16) of those walks have been to the #3 hitter in the line-up. This includes 6 walks to Lance Berkman, 5 walks each to David Wright and Ryan Braun, and 2 to Nate McClouth. I noticed that these guys were walking a lot and I wondered if the Reds were simply pitching around the opposing team's best hitter. Not a bad idea if you ask me, and not the kind of strategy that you want to announce.

To make this work, however, you have to have good control. For one thing, if you walk the #3 hitter you can't really afford to walk anyone else. (As I'm typing this, Arroyo just gave up a game-tying bomb to Berkman -- they should have walked him.) Plus you can't "miss" inside the strike zone because the #3 hitter can hammer you. (Lee just went yard, back-to-back, so even if Arroyo walked Berkman, the game would still be tied.) Something to watch as this season, in which we are relying heavily on our pitching staff, unfolds.


Marti Reeser said...


Just another reason that Albert's the man (El Hombre!).

"9. More fun with Bill James Online. The Web site tracks each individual hitter’s reaction to individual pitches. What it shows about Albert Pujols is remarkable. The Cardinals first baseman has seen 229 pitches this season, according to BJO. He’s taken 131 of them (57 percent), and 28 of those have been strikes vs. 103 balls. Of the pitches he’s seen, he’s fouled off 45 and put 45 in play. Here’s the striking number: He’s swung and missed at only EIGHT of 229 pitches. In 2008, he saw 2,325 pitches. He took 59 percent of them (1,374). He put 478 in play, and he swung and missed at only 96. It was the first time in his career, according to BJO numbers, that Pujols swung and missed at less than 100 pitches."

Sean Schmergel said...

It's probably unwise to put that many baserunners on with a free pass, epsecially if the #3 hitter has a #4 behind him that can hit. Without doing any research, I'd say the Reds pitchers have just been lucky so far that all the walks have not come back to haunt them. Generally the more men on base, the more runs will be scored.

Dave Zahniser said...


You must have seen the Reds' game last night. Way too many walks, leading to way too many runs.

Although, according to Marti, always walk Pujols.

Big Z