Trouble Thinking

April 21, 2010

Baseball Ramblings

Filed under: Sports, Statistical Anomalies — callmegeo @ 4:40 pm

Now before anyone does something rash and violent to wake themselves up from a suspected dream:  No, you are not hallucinating.  The topic line for this post does in fact contain the word Baseball.

“But, Trouble Thinking” I hear you ask, “Why would such esteemed gentlemen such as yourselves, who are clearly men of character and conscience,  defile this blog with mention of the lowly sport of baseball?”  It is a fair question, but sadly a misguided one.  For you see, Baseball isn’t just a slow and largely uninteresting game watched by middle aged men who are on medication for erectile dysfunction and an enlarged prostate.  Baseball is very much a game of numbers and statistics; Which intelligent handsome males such as yours truly find interesting.  Additionally, as an admitted follower of the sport, I seek solace and comfort in ranting about a string of unlikely losses by my favorite team through online text-based media.

Let us begin:

On the night of April 20th, the San Francisco Giants squared off against the San Diego Padres at the Padres home stadium of PETCO Park (enlightened sponsorship, to be sure).  For those of you unfamiliar with the teams, a quick rundown:

The Giants in times past were the home of a few well known baseball players like Willy Mays and Barry Bonds, so you should at least be aware of their existence as a professional baseball team.  Last season they finished 4 games shy of making the playoffs, and are blessed with incredibly talented young pitching.  Unfortunately, the Giants also have the batting ability of that 7 year old pigtailed girl you knew from gym class, who couldn’t hit a baseball sitting stationary on a tee, and cries when you yell at her for having total motor skill ineptitude (which I will elaborate on later).

And in the blue corner:

The Padres, or as I like to call them, “That Stupid Team from San Diego”.  They’re an unremarkable team, in that they have a penchant for locking up 4th place in the division every year.  They aren’t the worst team in baseball, as it takes a lot of work to lose more games than the Orioles, but they certainly are in the bottom third in my opinion.  Their stadium is sponsored by a pet supply company, and they’re named after Spanish missionaries.  Their alternate home uniforms are desert camouflage.  To answer your impending question: No. I don’t believe they actually have a common theme linking these three things.

Now that you’re introduced, on to the actual numbers:

Giants: 0 Runs, 6 hits, 0 Errors

Padres: 1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors

Since the winner of a baseball game is the team which scores the most runs… the Padres won.  It was the second time in Padres history that they won a game in which they only had 1 hit.  That’s the second 1 hit win out of nearly 6500 games played.  For the Giants, it was the first time they lost a game in which they gave up only 1 hit to the opposing team since moving from New York to San Francisco back in the 50’s.  What makes it even more remarkable is that the Padres’ one hit was only a single, which scored after a steal of 2nd base, advancing to 3rd on an out in foul territory, and a sacrifice fly to bring the runner home.

On the other side of the coin, the Giants out hit the Padres by 600%, but went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position, including failing to score a runner from third with no outs.  Even if the team collectively batted a lukewarm .250 average, that equates to two hits with runners in scoring position.  What’s more remarkable is that over the past 3 games, the Giants are 1 for 25 with runners in scoring position: a pathetic .040 batting average when it counts.

The Giants’ starting pitcher, Jonathan Sanchez, earned a Loss that game despite a pitching performance that was outright dominant: 7.0 Innings Pitched, 1 Hit, 1 Earned Run, 3 Walks, and 10 Strikeouts.  Talk about being a hard luck loser.  Enjoy your loss, Jonny.

A similar unfortunate event happened the game prior where the Padres’ David Eckstein hit a winning 1 run home run off of Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt in extra innings.  The statistics nerds over at fangraphs.com estimate that such a homerun would occur only 31 times in 10,000 plate appearances between the two, which equates to a 0.31% chance of soul crushing heartbreak, if like me, you actually care about the Giants.

So in conclusion… should you care about all this stuff? Probably not, but you’re now armed with the knowledge that I’ve been brought to my knees by an unfortunate combination of statistical outliers the likes of which the modern world has rarely seen.  Direct all complaints about the content of this update to Durandal, who is too much of a little pansy visiting his grandmother to talk about something you enjoy.  For the benefit of you readers (whose existence I still question), I’ll try to talk about other topics in the future, like rockets, or science, or scientists with rocket packs.

Until next time, good luck and godspeed…

2 Comments »

  1. A couple things:

    1) I did a no-fooling, honest-to-God, double take on this one, because for a second, I thought James was writing about baseball.

    2) I know pretty much nothing about the National League, but I’ve always thought that “Padres” was a kick-ass name for a team. No, I don’t know why.

    Comment by Chris — April 21, 2010 @ 8:57 pm

  2. Bases Ball may indeed be a sport for malcontents and the deranged, but this was pretty sweet!

    Comment by Durandal — April 23, 2010 @ 4:47 pm


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