Tag Archives: walks

Game 26: A’s vs. Twins


Jharel Cotton (2-3, 5.00 ERA, 3.56 FIP) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-3, 8.06 ERA, 6.99 FIP)

The FIRST PLACE Minnesota Twins finish up the series against the A's at noon today. Quite a difference a year makes as the Twins were a depressing 7-18 at this point last year and, uhhh, it wouldn't get any better from there. It was starting to look like things were headed to 2016 there for awhile, but there's apparently nothing like the AL west (and the Royals) to help turn things back around. Even better, after the first two games of this series, the Twins are back to .500 at home.

Unfortunately, however, Kyle Gibson takes the mound today. I'm on record as preferring he lose his spot in the rotation to Berrios and be given a comfy seat in the bullpen. There's just something about the way he pitches that bugs me and the bad results certainly make that irritation seem much worse. Also, Berrios.

I don't know anything about Jharel Cotton, probably because he's only had 10 starts for the perennially irrelevant A's. It looks like he's struggling with command this year, walking 4 per nine. That should bode well for the Twins who've, from the eye test at least (too lazy to look it up), are showing a rather patient approach these days.

Walk Don’t Run

The item I shared yesterday about Bryce Harper’s Mother’s Day batting line had me wondering whether any team with a batter posting six walks had lost the game. I’m not spoiling a surprise by saying Harper’s achievement was unprecedented on the losing side of a box score.

I thought it would be interesting to see if there were any functional equivalents to Harper's 6 BB, HBP line – something to the effect of 7 BB, or 5 BB 2 HBP, or 4 BB, 3 HBP – and if so, how many. Here’s what I found via Play Index:

No player has ever “batted” a 7 BB line in the Play Index Era (1913-present). No player has “batted” a 5 BB, 2 HBP line. Likewise, no player has ever “batted” a 4 BB, 3 HBP line. (In fact, no player has ever had even a 4 BB, 2 HBP game.) So, this is a fairly historic achievement.

There have only been four games since 1913 in which a player has walked six times. For the sake of interest, let’s throw in any player who has “batted” a functionally equivalent 5 BB, HBP line. Why not include hits in my definition of “functionally equivalent”? See the title of this post.

Anyway, that brings us to six total games, and six unique players:

Player V13-09-19745 BB+HBP
Player W30-06-20005 BB+HBP
Player X16-06-19386 BB
Player Y02-05-19846 BB
Player Z20-08-19996 BB
Harper08-05-20166 BB+HBP

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Harper “batted” his line in a 13 inning game, appearing at the plate in the first, third, fourth, sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth innings. Of Harper’s six free passes, three were intentional.

Let’s work backward from 2016 and look at the others. Our first jump takes us back sixteen seasons.

Player W was the most recent player to walk five times (one intentional) and get plunked for an additional visit to first base. His OPB climbed from .387 to .396, but his OBP slid back down the mountain by over twenty points by season's end. Here’s his line from that fifteen inning game:

8 PA, H, 2 RBI, 5 BB, HBP

Jump back one more season. Player Z was the most recent player to walk six times, which included two intentional passes. His OBP jumped from .447 to .451 at the end of the day, on its way to a humid .454 at the end of the season. Here’s his line from that sixteen inning game:

8 PA, R, 6 BB, SB

Fifteen seasons earlier, Player Y “batted” the second-ever six walk game. It was early in the season, but a nearly 40-point jump in OBP is still impressive. Six walks certainly put some growl in his stat line. Apparently the pitchers he faced could hear it; two of his walks were intentional. Here’s his line from that sixteen inning game:

8 PA, R, 6 BB

Jump back another ten seasons. Player V’s day was something else; I challenge you to find anything quite like it. He earned five walks, including two intentional, heloping raise his OBP from .386 to .393 in one September game. (He finished the season just downriver of that high water mark, at .389.) Here’s his complete line from that seventeen inning game:

9 PA, H, RBI, 5 BB, HBP, GDP

Roll back forty-six more seasons. Finally, we get to Player X and the day he embarked on a sextet of gratuitous constitutionals, the first in recorded baseball history. When I was looking for functionally equivalent lines to 6 BB, one of the search metrics I used on Play Index was BB >= 6, PA >= 7. I was just curious to see what might come up. Turns out, what was more interesting was what didn’t come up. One player of the Six Walk Quartet was missing.

Player X, who walked in every plate appearance he made that day. Here’s his line:

6 PA, 2 R, 6 BB

Compared to what we’ve seen above, that might seem almost boring – at least as boring as getting on base six times in six chances could be. Sure, it was the first six walk game. If something can be done, somebody always has to be the first to do it.

Aesthetic aside: What’s more suspenseful to watch – a player going for his sixth walk of the game, or his sixth hit? There have been exactly one hundred six-hit games since 1913, but only four six walk games. One is certainly more rare. But which plate appearance is more exciting to watch? Is your answer the same as it would be for watching Ted Williams go for his 85th consecutive game reaching base vs. Joe DiMaggio go for his 57th consecutive game with a hit?

Here’s where it gets really interesting.

Look back at the lines above. I didn’t mention something. What’s missing? Go on, I’ll give you a minute. (If you were paying attention, or if you've read about Harper's day elsewhere, you might be able to guess already.)

Player X wasn’t just the first.

Player X is the only.

Of the six players who have walked or walked and been beaned over to first base six times in a game, only Player X did it in a nine-inning game.

Six walks in nine innings. Only been done once.


'Players V-Z' SelectShow

'The Ventures' lead guitarist is' SelectShow

Game 37: The Bostons at The Minnesotas

Ricky Nolasco (2-3, 5.64 ERA) vs. Felix Doubront (1-3, 5.09 ERA)

The Twins return to the Bullseye after spending time in two crappy cities. This doesn't look like a matchup of guys who've gotten off to a good start this year. Doubront has been walking a bunch of guys and not lasting very long into games while Nolasco seems to be prone to the "In Play Run(s)" type of plays. The good news is that Nolsy's last couple of starts have been much better with some increased striking out of guys. Hopefully that trend can keep going tonight. Of course, as is the way of things, this will probably turn out like the last time I previewed an opposing pitcher who walked a lot of guys and hadn't been pitching well. Hopefully the Twin's band of merry infielders can keep the good feelings rolling after the Detroit series win.

For the brewers out there, I recently tried out a new hopping technique, first wort hopping. Flavor/aroma hops are added prior to the boil during the sparging process (could also be done during the grain steeping if doing extract with specialty grains). I made an IPA using this and kegged it on Saturday and wow, the hops really asserted themselves on my initial taste during the kegging process. I will report back once the batch is carbonated if anyone is interested. It better utilizes the hop acids meaning fewer hops could be used to get a similar effect. Plus, it simplified the boil quite a bit. Its always fun to try new things after all these years. Next thing I boldly try might be decoction mashing.

Game 13: Blue Jays at the Bullseye

Well, its time for the first Tuesday game of the season. This should be a good time with an expected game time temperature of 36º F. (goodness, could you imagine the Pelf pitching in this stuff? brrr) This seems like a good time for some birds to come into town (not that Toronto is any warmer), so the Twins will have that going for them.

Anyway, your starting pitchers for tonight:

Morrow (1-1, 5.73) vs. Hughes (0-0, 7.20)

I would expect a decent amount of strikeouts this game as both pitchers are striking out 1+/inning. Hughes has only gone five innings in each start, though against Oakland he had that bad first inning, then four good innings. Hopefully he keeps those good innings going and continues this trend of the starters eating some innings. It would warm my heart if, by the end of the year, Hughes showed that it was that awful place in NY that was the problem.

Taking a quick look at Morrow's game logs for his first two starts shows him pitching well at the beginning of games, but losing it a bit later on. It'd be great if Twins hitters could continue this trend of taking a lot of pitches. They lead the league in that stat, taking 4.14 PPA which has also put them atop the leaderboard in walks.