Update to PITCHf/x Parser

I uncovered a bug in the parser script that was causing the nightly update to fail for all dates after the 10th of the month. Grab the new ZIP file for the fix. Also, you’ll need to run the parser manually starting from April 10. If you need any help send a comment or an email.

From the Department of Duh

“The decision to acquire Matt Morris last July did not turn out to be a sound baseball judgment”

-Pittsburgh Pirates team president Frank Coonelly

Really?  I’m sure no one could have seen this happen.  I actually had higher hopes for Morris.  I thought he’d at least be able to hold on through the season.  Or maybe that’s lower hopes for Pirates management.

Why Do Umpires Make the Calls They Do?

My new post summing up the different factors that influence how umpires call pitches is up at Beyond the Box Score.  It’s a continuation and expansion of some of my more recent posts here, so check it out if those interested you.

Stop calling strikes, I wanna go home!

Continuing my look at how different variable affect how umpires call pitches, today let’s talk about what happens in each inning.

We’ll start with a table:

Inning Runs / 150 Pitches
1 .10
2 .01
3 -.05
4 .03
5 -.03
6 -.08
7 .02
8 -.04
9 .06
10+ -.18

Remember that positive numbers are good for the pitchers (fewer runs), while negatives indicate more scoring.  The innings that jump out are the first, sixth and extras.  I have no idea what to attribute the sixth inning to (perhaps starters are tiring and getting more wild in general – which contributes to umpires being less lenient).  I also don’t really know why umpires help the starters so much in the first – but I’m guessing it has something to do with an unconscious desire to give the pitcher the benefit of the doubt at first, or to start the game off fast.

But I think I understand why the extras (and understand the sample size for all the extra innings combined is about 1/9 of any other inning) are so favorable to the batters.  Without someone scoring, the game can’t end.  If the game doesn’t end, I can’t go home.  I’m sure there’s no conscious reason why the umpires would behave this way, but I’m not sure I’d blame them if there was.  After 3.5 hours of calling pitches, I’d probably want to do everything in my power just to be allowed to sit down.

I’m still working on putting together a longer article combining all this information together.  Unfortunately some of the analysis is taking longer than I was hoping.  Look for it early next week, though.

Good Pitchers Don’t Get Favorable Treatment

Another in the series of short posts breaking down how umpires call close pitches for pitchers.  Again, I’ll be doing a much more thorough job with this in a longer article this week over at Beyond the Box Score.

This time I looked at whether better pitches got more close calls than bad pitchers.  I broke all pitchers who pitched in 2006 and 2007 into three groups – those who had career runs averages (runs allowed per 9 innings) of less than 4.00 up through 2006, those with a RA between 4.00 and 6.00 and those with over 6.00.

My hypothesis was that the better pitchers got more calls in 2007, as umpires looked more favorably on better pitchers.  Surprisingly, this doesn’t appear to be the case.  Good pitchers actually received .01 runs per game less than average from umpires’ calls.  Bad pitchers were hurt by close calls to the tune of .25 runs per game.  The middle group came out at .05 runs per game above average as a whole.

That’s a result I wasn’t expecting.

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