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Canít Anybody Hit Anymore?
2005-10-14 18:28
by Mike Carminati

I know that we have just played two games in each League Championship Series and each will go at lest five, but yet far this is the lowest-scoring LCS round of all time by a long shot.

All this talk of small ball has creating small scoring. Tonight the White Sox bunted after Scott Podsednik led off the game with a single (?!?). The fact that they scored three runs in the inning will surely lead to more of the stultifying so small that it's nearly imperceptible ball.

Here are the ten lowest scoring LCS rounds since baseball went to divisional play in 1969 (the overall average is 8.09 runs per game):

LCSGamesWinner RLoser RTot R Tot R/G
20054111021 5.25
197210322557 5.70
19838351146 5.75
199010401959 5.90
199510421759 5.90
19748311748 6.00
197310382361 6.10
19818351449 6.13
199112463177 6.42
199712384078 6.50

That's in sharp contrast to last year's LCS round, which was the highest scoring of all time. Remember that 19-8 Yankee-Red Sox game? Both LCSs opened with a 10-7 game last year:

LCSGamesWinner RLoser RTot R Tot R/G
2004147576151 10.79
19696432063 10.50
2003147071141 10.07
198910564399 9.90
19768423577 9.63
1992136559124 9.54
19788403474 9.25
2000116239101 9.18
1996127137108 9.00
19779433679 8.78
1993124956105 8.75

Well, you say, maybe these teams just aren't hitting. Why do I blame it on small ball?

Let's take a look at the number of bunts per plate appearance in each LCS:

YRSH%
20052.51%
19822.43%
20022.30%
19802.04%
19811.54%
19721.53%
19931.46%
19991.46%
19911.43%
19971.43%

I know it's only four games, put that's a lot of bunts.

So what's the net affect on the batters? We know the runs are down, but bunts are way down. It's the lowest walk to plate appearance ratio by a mile, the highest strikeout to walk ratio, and the second lowest on-base percentage:

YROBPBB%K%K/BB
2005.2724.66%16.49% 3.54
1972.2716.12%15.72% 2.57
2002.3116.37%16.67% 2.62
1978.3216.40%13.46% 2.10
1986.2966.62%16.27% 2.46
1975.3006.82%16.14% 2.37
1977.3107.29%12.05% 1.65
1981.3077.38%13.89% 1.88
1971.3147.54%19.15% 2.54
1996.3157.75%19.00% 2.45

So I beg of you, end the madness. Stop all the small ball. I though the Red Sox winning would be the apotheosis of Bill James yet somehow, a year later, look where we are.

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