Winning One Run Games and Winning Pennants

The Texas Rangers, leaders in the AL West, have posted a sparkling 19-7 (.731) record in one-run games this season, reminiscent of the Orioles’ record-breaking 29-9 (.763) mark in that situation in 2012. Barely missing the ALCS last season, could the Rangers be poised to take that next step this year? I’ll take a look at that question after the jump.

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Should Pitchers Bat Eighth?

Baseball-Reference‘s Play Index shows games since 1930 with starting pitchers batting in most batting order positions but most commonly, of course, in the number 9 hole. Next most common, by far, is batting the pitcher eighth, a tactic which has become more popular in recent years, exceeding 10% of team games this season and last. That is a huge departure from past practice as, other than in the mid-1950s and in 1998, there were virtually no such games before 2007...

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Forty is the New Thirty

Or so it seems with the performances to start this season of two grizzled veterans and presumptive HOFers. I’m speaking, of course, of David Ortiz and Ichiro Suzuki who are reminding us why we won’t soon see their likes again.

More after the jump.

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Namesake Pitchers (newly updated)

HHS regular contributor Kahuna Tuna remarked that in the May 30th game between the Cubs and Dodgers, it was the first time that two pitchers of record both had the surname Wood*. Then it happened again Thursday when Miguel Gonzalez got the win for the White Sox over Gio Gonzalez and the Nationals.

Just for fun, I did a little sleuthing to see how many such games I could find. To simplify things a bit...

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Pinch Slugging Teams

This year’s Cardinals have already hit 10 pinch home runs, putting them on pace to smash the team record of 14 for a full season. In anticipation of this result, this post takes a look at the teams that St. Louis may pass on that team pinch-home run list.

More on pinch home runs after the jump. (more…)

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Quiz – Starting Fast (stumped)

Royals speedster Paulo Orlando has most recently joined this group of mainly obscure players. But, only these live ball era players started their careers in an unusual way. What distinguishes the starts of these players’ careers among those of all other live ball era players? (Click on MORE to see the full list of quiz players)

1. Hal Rice 7. Jack Merson 2. Paulo Orlando 8. Spike Owen 3. Dave Silvestri 9. Keith Miller 4. ...
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Killer Bees Strike Beantown

Those Bees are none other than youngsters Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts who, with help from Boston’s over-30 mainstays Hanley Ramirez, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz,  have propelled the high-flying Red Sox to the top of the AL East standings.

More on Boston’s hot start after the jump.

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Extra innings a whole new game

On behalf of High Heat Stats, I contributed a piece to the May 11-17 issue of USA Today Sports Weekly. This one is all about extra innings: why they have become more common in recent years and how managerial decisions play such a major role in determining extra-inning winners.

Here is the link to the column. And remember that HHS appears in the magazine every week this season! Stay tuned for future links or consider picking up a print copy...

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Game Notes: Cubs Sweep Nats

These Cubs and Nats squared off over the weekend, starting this series as division leaders who had both won five of their past six games. At 20-6 (Cubs) and 19-8 (Nats) both teams were off to franchise-best starts in the live ball era. After four games, the Cub juggernaut rolls on, leaving the Nationals to lick their wounds.

More on this series after the jump.

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