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|
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.