Quiz – Baseball Match Game (solved)

This quiz is about players with a connection to another player. There are two lists of players with each player in the first list matching a player in the second. Your job is to figure out the connection.

Congratulations to No Statistician But! He knew that the matching players were teammates in a season when both (or all) hit their 300th home runs. Those details are after the jump.

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More games starting with homers

Fans tuning into this season’s MLB games from the very first pitch have been treated to plenty of early offense. Leadoff hitters are launching home runs left and right (and center) at an especially high rate, and producing more first-inning offense than we’ve seen in decades.

Contributing to USA Today Sports Weekly, our own Aidan Jackson-Evans (@ajacksonevans on Twitter) tries to explain the phenomenon. Here is the link to his column.

Every week during the season, HHS submits analysis like this to the magazine. Check it out online, or consider picking up a print copy.

The Vicious Circle – Home Runs, Strikeouts and Disappearing Baserunners

The Astros and Blue Jays began this month with a four game series in Houston that produced a total of just 15 runs for the two teams, but a bumper crop of 105 strikeouts. The latter figure and Toronto’s share (61 whiffs) are both reported to be records for a four game series. Despite all the swings and misses, Toronto took the set 3 games to 1, outscoring Houston 10-5, with seven of those ten runs coming off solo home runs.

That series is an extreme example but an instructive one on the growing trend in baseball of games dominated by home runs and strikeouts, two of the “three true outcomes” or TTOs (the third is walks), so named because the defense can do nothing to affect the results of those events.

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Decade Dominance – 10 Year Batting Leaders Since 1901

On ESPN’s Sunday night game this week, I learned that Robinson Cano is the leader in games played over the past ten seasons (2007-16). Indeed, he was the leader as of that date (July 31), but just two games ahead of Adrian Gonzalez, the 10 year leader ending in 2015.

That, of course, made me wonder about other decades and other statistical leaders. If you were wondering too, wonder no more, as those leaders are 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. The question then is why has batting your pitcher eighth now come somewhat into vogue?

You can weigh in on this question after the jump.

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