Daily Notes, Containing Numbers About Bunting

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of Daily Notes.

1. The Season So Far in Bunting
2. A Philosophical Query: Matt Harvey Versus Diminishing Returns
3. Today’s Notable Games (Including MLB.TV Free Game)
4. Today’s Complete Schedule, Including an Unseemly Copout

The Season So Far in Bunting
People are still bunting! Let’s talk about it a little.

Managers Still Don’t Understand Leverage
Here is a graph displaying all sacrifice bunts in 2012, based on the inning they take place:

Shamefaced edit: Mitch correctly points out a flaw in my methodology, which includes National League pitchers in my data. Given the numbers I used, I have no easy way to remove them, so instead I’ve included here, via hypertextual link, the innings in which AL sacrifice bunts were made.

And Yet People Still Care About Lineup Construction
Here is a graph displaying the WPA of sacrifice bunts by each team in 2012 (click to enlarge):

Worst Sacrifice Bunt of the Year So Far: Alcides Escobar, 6/17/12. Game tied 2-2, top of the 11th, runners on first and third. Escobar bunts hard to first, and Franceour is nailed at home. The Royals go on to win anyway, 5-3, but the bunt is worth -0.23 WPA.

Best Sacrifice Bunt of the Year So Far: Erick Aybar, 5/25/12. Down 4-3 against closer Brandon League in the bottom of the 9th with runners on first and second and no outs, Aybar lays down a sacrifice, with League promptly throws into the seats. Everyone gets two bases and the Angels go on to win 6-4. The bunt, error and all, nets 0.39 WPA.

Sacrifice Bunting Is Not Good For The Economy or Baseball
Total WPA of all 1,435 sacrifice bunts laid down thus far in 2012: -11.1.

A Philosophical Query: Matt Harvey Versus Diminishing Returns

Matt Harvey, who may or may not be the most exciting new figure in New York since Vice President George Clinton, makes his third start today against Human Reference Point Jason Marquis. Though the prospect of watching Mr. Harvey throw baseballs is, admittedly, cause for salivation, one has to worry when the Law of Diminishing Returns will exact its revenge on the young righthander.

Our first experience brought us a splendid fastball, the second a sordid changeup. One wonders whether Harvey can continue to defy our ever-weighty expectations, or if continued greatness will render us jaded. Are all our joys meant to erode into thoughtless repetition? Is it Harvey’s responsibility to entertain us, or ours to be entertained? Before watching the game today, spend a few minutes considering how you might be able to approach Matt Harvey from a new and novel perspective.

Today’s Notable Games

(Note: until Stephen Strasburg either reaches or is freed from his innings cap, all of his starts are treated as unwatchable unless muted.)

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Chicago White Sox of Chicago | 14:10 ET ***MLB.TV Free Game***

This game features two pitchers, in Haren and Liriano, who are theoretically better than their numbers represent. In reality, no person is better than the numbers represent; we are each of us an amalgamation of our deeds, and nothing more. (Note: this may actually not be true.) White Sox fans may learn this the hard way as the heavily discounted Liriano takes the mound, finally free of the expectations of Twins fans, soon to be crushed by the disappointment of Chicagoans. None of us can escape judgment.

Baltimore at Tampa Bay | 13:40 ET

David Price enjoyed the month of July, striking out nearly a third of the batters he faced and holding them to a .548 OPS. The month wasn’t so kind to the Orioles, who posted a tepid .690 OPS over that same span. It’s a mismatch, which means that the Orioles will probably win, because these are the games the Orioles seem to be winning this season.

Actual real quotes about this series, as reported by a major news service, are as follows.

Buck Showalter, on David Price: “He’s good, period.”
Buck Showalter, on Miguel Gonzalez: “I think he’s given us pretty good outings consistently.”
Matt Wieters, on Matt Wieters: “It’s nice to be able to get a hit and RBI.”
David Price, on the inevitability of failure in life: “It stinks any time you lose a game.”

Today’s Complete Schedule, Including an Unseemly Copout
Again I have chosen to flaunt the statistical approach preferred by one Carson Cistulli, if only partially due to the fact that I am too lazy to run the numbers. Instead, today’s schedule will be ranked in terms of the popularity of the starter’s moniker among U.S. baby names for 2012, according to the Social Security website. Meanwhile, team NERD scores are ranked in terms of their city’s “liveability” score by a website I’ve never heard of. Arbitrary, you say? I say existence is arbitrary.


Away   SP Tm. Game Tm. SP   Home Time
Chris Seddon CLE 8 2 5 2 5 DET Max Scherzer 13:05
Hisashi Iwakuma SEA 0 10 3 8 1 NYY Freddy Garcia 13:05
A.J. Burnett PIT 2 4 5 5 9 CIN Homer Bailey 13:10
Trevor Cahill ARI 5 7 3 2 0 PHI Cliff Lee 13:35
Bud Norris HOU 9 5 6 9 2 ATL Kris Medlen 13:35
Ricky Nolasco MIA 6 3 5 6 3 WAS Stephen Strasburg 13:35
Nick Blackburn MIN 7 3 4 6 1 BOS Franklin Morales 13:35
Miguel Gonzalez BAL 5 3 7 10 9 TBR David Price 13:40
Dan Haren LAA 9 7 6 2 4 CHW Francisco Liriano 14:10
Derek Holland TEX 4 9 6 5 8 KCR Luke Hochevar 14:10
Tim Lincecum SFG 5 8 3 4 0 COL Undecided 15:10
Matt Harvey NYM 9 8 8 7 7 SDG Jason Marquis 16:05
Aaron Laffey TOR* 8 9 4 2 0 OAK Tommy Milone 16:05
Justin Germano CHC 7 2 7 5 8 LAD Joe Blanton 16:10
Marco Estrada MIL 3 4 4 4 6 STL Kyle Lohse 20:05

*Cities outside the United States are ranked on the discretion of the author.
To learn more about pitcher and team NERD scores, visit your local library.



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Patrick Dubuque is a wastrel and a general layabout. Many of the sites he has written for are now dead. Follow him on Twitter @euqubud.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Mitch
Guest
Mitch
3 years 10 months ago

These include the NL, right? Then OF COURSE the number will be higher in the early to middle innings – the NL starting pitchers are still in the game. Try removing pitchers and see what the results look like.

Chummy Z
Guest
Chummy Z
3 years 10 months ago

And I thought I loved Lord Cistulli’s NERD calculations. These are genius!

Matt
Guest
Matt
3 years 10 months ago

Strasburg a 3 and Lee a 0, but Blackburn a 7??

kdm628496
Member
kdm628496
3 years 10 months ago

there are really more homers and buds than there are tommys being born? i call shenanigans.

Matt
Guest
Matt
3 years 10 months ago

Does Cliff Lee really have a NERD of 0?

Matt
Guest
Matt
3 years 10 months ago

Ooops, didn’t read correctly

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 10 months ago

1. “Human Reference Point Jason Marquis” is so excellent and befitting a nickname that referral to Dayn Perry will be unnecessary. “Human Reference Point” and Jason Marquis were born for each other, like peanut butter and Nutella.

2. Atlanta has a livability of 9? That website must be taking the piss. Atlanta just voted no to a mass transit plan despite the fact that it has the some of the longest commutes in America – an average commute of 60.6 minutes per day, according to PolitiFact, and 65 minutes for carpoolers – and despite the fact that according to NPR, the average metro Atlanta resident lives 33 miles away from his/her job. The average Atlantean drives 70+ miles every single day. Perhaps my English colours are showing through, because where I come from we would only drive 65 miles for a holiday or possibly a football match.

Jack
Guest
Jack
3 years 10 months ago

In a similar vain, how is Oakland a 2? Its not a place where its possible to live.

busch
Member
busch
3 years 10 months ago

Have you been to Atlanta? The last time our state tried to improve mass transit we ended up with MARTA which has been bankrupt for years. No one likes it/uses it.

We see the need for mass transit, but we aren’t going to rely on our municipalities to provide it for us. We don’t enjoy wasting money. Until we find/are given a better option then we will continue to run inefficiently.

Robin Ventura
Guest
Robin Ventura
3 years 10 months ago

Plano is not liveable, being within an unacceptable radius to Nolan Ryan, Texans, and Texans of Dallas and their environs, Texas.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
3 years 10 months ago

Be careful Robin, lest you receive another beat down from Nolan Ryan.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
3 years 10 months ago

List of Acceptable Parts of Texas
1. Central Austin
2. Deep Ellum, Uptown, and Greenville districts, Dallas
3. The Kimbell, Fort Worth
4. Montrose, Houston
5. Any open space on which the art of baseball is practiced

Kyle
Member
3 years 10 months ago

I like these whimsical alterations to NERD. Both of this weekend’s Daily Notes were very excellent.

Wasted At Bats
Guest
Wasted At Bats
3 years 10 months ago

How often do Sac bunts even work? Meaning how often would the run still score if there was no sac bunt that inning. My guess is around 96% of the time.

ppabich
Guest
ppabich
3 years 10 months ago

Don’t you know the unwritten rule? If you play for 1 run you can only get a single run.

Red
Guest
Red
3 years 10 months ago

Anywhere in Nebraska shouldn’t be in the top 10

Don-E
Guest
Don-E
3 years 10 months ago

Oakland a 2?! Wow, our city is really looking up!

Louis
Guest
Louis
3 years 10 months ago

Speaking of sac hunts, Rajai Davis just scored from 2nd on a Gose sac bunt. I’ve never seen anything like that before

my jays are red
Guest
my jays are red
3 years 10 months ago

so glad you’re doing the daily notes instead of carson, he tries way too hard to be funny

John Thacker
Guest
John Thacker
3 years 10 months ago

Astonishingly good prediction on the Baltimore-Tampa Bay game. The O’s failed to have any offense, Price pitched well, and the Orioles mysteriously somehow won.

Kenos
Guest
Kenos
3 years 10 months ago

Does the sacrifice data only include bunts actually laid down or also sacrifice attempts that ended in a foul out or popup (or popout double play). Can that be tracked? I was at the Royals-Rangers game today and a Rangers batter (Andrus, I think) missed making contact on a suicide squeeze – runner dead at the plate.

Hugh Briss
Guest
Hugh Briss
3 years 10 months ago

So Homer Bailey wearing Marty Brennaman’s sheered hair as a beard gets him a 9? Nice.

macseries
Guest
macseries
3 years 10 months ago

carson have you been watching the silence of god trilogy?

MyrAn
Guest
MyrAn
3 years 10 months ago

That’s a great point. Does the data include failed bunt attempts on the first 2 swings (0-2) and then the batter is forced to bat away at a pitcher’s count? There should be some kind of penalty for being put in the hole?

Brazen Reader
Guest
3 years 10 months ago

For Los Angeles Angels (aka LAA), I see you selected the location of their playing field. Do any other teams not play in their nominal city? The Football Giants and Jets have zero presence in New York, the Washingtom team plays in Murrylnd….

macseries
Guest
macseries
3 years 10 months ago

the washington nationals decidedly play in the city of washington in the district of columbia.

Brian
Guest
Brian
3 years 10 months ago

Your data also seems to be missing the rare attempt to move a runner up and beat the bunt out.

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