Crack That WHIP!

Hi, folks!  Last time, we discussed offensive stat abbreviations.  Don’t you feel like a pro now when Kruk talks about a player’s OPS and you actually know what that is?  Since they deserve equal time (and since they are so, so important to the Giants), today we’ll discuss pitcher’s stat abbreviations.  I’m interested in this because until recently, the only pitching stat I knew existed was the ERA.  I’ll be learning right along with you, so let’s crack that WHIP!

We’ll start with the one I was already familiar with – the ERA.  ERA stands for Earned Run Average.  This is calculated by taking the earned runs per innings pitched and multiplying this by 9.  For example, if Matt Cain pitched 7 innings and gave up 2 earned runs (which would be a sweet day for Matt Cain!), his ERA for that day would be 2/7 X 9, or 2.57.  This gives you the average number of runs a pitcher gives up per game.  A good ERA is less than 4.  Remember the E – only earned runs count toward your ERA.  If a run scores because of an error, that run does not count.  Something else I learned recently is that if a pitcher leaves the game with runners on base and those runners score, they count towards his ERA.  I’m sure this motivates the starting pitchers to be on really good terms with their relief staff!  The ERA stat you see on TV is usually the player’s ERA for that season unless otherwise noted.

Another stat used to compare pitchers is their winning percentage.  This one is simple – take the number of games won divided by the number of decisions.  Wait – you don’t know what constitutes a won game or a decision?  Well, neither do I right now!  Maybe this one isn’t so simple after all!  This is why Google is my friend.  Let’s break it down.  For a starting pitcher to get a win, he must pitch at least 5 innings and be the pitcher who last pitched prior to the half inning where the winning team took the lead for the last time.  If the starting pitcher doesn’t pitch at least 5 innings, a relief pitcher can get a win if he fits this criteria no matter how many innings he pitched.  There are a couple of exceptions (which I won’t go into because it gets even more complicated), but suffice to say that the official scorer (AKA god of baseball) has the last word on who gets the win.  A pitcher loses a game if he allows the go-ahead run to reach base for a lead that the winning team never gives up.  And again, you are responsible for players that you leave on base if you leave the game.  But in this case, you are also responsible for unearned runs.  If the starting pitcher does not fit either the winning or losing criteria, he earns a “No Decision.”  The winning percentage stat is not considered as important as others nowadays because it is affected by how well your team is hitting.  Take, for example, THE GIANTS – a team that can’t hit for beans right now.  Even though Tim Lincecum’s ERA is 2.46 (which is fantabulous!), his winning percentage is only 55%.  Thus, lately this stat has been pitched out the window.  In fact, Felix Hernandez won the 2010 American League Cy Young Award (AKA Rockstar Pitcher Award) with a winning percentage of 52%.  So Timmy, there’s still hope for you this year!!

A more recent addition to the pitching stats is the WHIP (another abbreviation that makes me giggle – the pitcher’s WHIP – Hee Hee).  WHIP stands for Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched.  It’s calculated by taking the number of (Hits + Walks) divided by the number of Innings Pitched.  This tells you the average number of guys the pitcher is allowing to get on base per inning.  A good WHIP for a pitcher is below about 1.2.

All this talk about stats really has me wanting to go see the movie Money Ball, the story of Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and his attempt to put together a winning team on a small budget by using baseball stats to draft his players.  Anyone want to go with me?  Girls – Brad Pitt stars in it.  Did that change your mind??  LOL!  Also wanted to pass on some knowledge about a pitching term that I was not familiar with until today.  Have you ever heard Mike Krukow say a pitcher is pitching “in the stretch?”  I just figured out what this means today (I actually thought it meant behind in the count, but I was wrong – thanks again, Google).  Normally, a pitcher takes a “full windup”, using a lot of arm and leg motion before they actually release the ball.  But if you do this with guys on base, they have more time to steal base.  In this case, you want to cut down the time from the start of your windup to release so they don’t have this time advantage.  Even fractions of a second can make a difference.  This is called pitching “in the stretch.”

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for (drum roll) – the reveal of the new spit count record holder!!!  I have three new spit count results for you:

August 24th

Giants:

–         Lincecum 10 (no, that’s not it)

–         Stewart 9

–         Cabrera 5

–         Sandoval 4

–         Beltran 3

–         Casilla 3

–         DeRosa 2

–         Belt 2

–         Bochy 2

–         Huff 1

–         Keppinger 1

Padres:

–         Hundley 8

–         Venable 2

–         Stauffer 1

–         Hudson 1

–         Guzman 1

–         Bass 1

Misc.

–         Umpire 1

Game Spit Master General = Lincecum at 10

That’s a total of 57 spits during a 2 hour and 20 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.5 minutes.

August 26th

Giants:

–         Stewart 17 (Holy Spit Takes, Batman!)

–         Huff 3

–         DeRosa 2

–         Ross 2

–         Keppinger 2

–         Tejada 1

–         Cabrera 1

–         Righetti 1

–         Ramirez 1

–         Casilla 1

–         ? 1

Astros:

–         Downs 4

–         Lee 2

–         Barmes 2

–         Happ 1

–         Martinez 1

–         Bogusevic 1

–         Altuve 1

Game Spit Master General = Stewart at 17 (that’s a new record, folks!)

That’s a total of 44 spits during a 2 hour and 30 minute game for an average of more than 1 spit every 3.5 minutes.

Yes, the record has been broken!  And I realized that I might have been missing some Stewart spits in previous outings.  He will quickly lift his mask and spit several times during a single batter.  Check this out in the next game he catches.  At this point, I can’t tell if the boy is chewing or not.  I will have to do further research on this, but if he isn’t, why in the world is he spitting so much??  Since Bumgarner was pitching today (and for some reason, he didn’t spit at all today), I also thought it might be “fun” to do a snot rocket count.  Are you ready?  The boy shot out 7 SNOT ROCKETS!  BLEEECCCHHH!  I think when I send out my spit count certificates at the end of the season I will also send Madison a handkerchief (any rules against blowing your nose with a handkerchief on the field??).  Also, I don’t count crotch adjustments (though this suggestion has been made), but there was one in this game that no one, even a blind person, could miss.  Lee of the Astros made a (I’m not kidding) minute long, very awkward, crotch adjustment during this game.  There definitely must have been some ants in there!!

August 28th

Giants:

–         Cabrera 5

–         Huff 4

–         Sandoval 3

–         Beltran 3

–         Cain 3

–         DeRosa 1

–         Groeschner 1

–         Keppinger 1

–         Righetti 1

–         Whiteside 1

–         Wilson 1

–         Fontenot 1

Astros:

–         Downs 6

–         Lee 3

–         Martinez 2

–         Schafer 2

–         Paredes 2

–         Bogusevic 1

–         F. Rodriguez 1

–         Altuve 1

–         Carpenter 1

Game Spit Master General = Downs at 6

Cabrera led the Giants with 5

That’s a total of 44 spits during a 3 hour and 25 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.5 minutes (lowest spit count average to date).

Did anyone else notice that Pablo’s hair was in cornrows on Wednesday?  It was an interesting look for him, but it was back to normal by Thursday.  I, myself, prefer his big hair.  And Timmy was throwing a lot of F-bombs that night (and not covering them with his mitt!).  Guess he finally took matters into his own hands and scored the game-winning RBI!  Good boy!  Did you notice how, during Friday night’s game, with 2 guys on base and Keppinger up, Bochy was holding a black bat in the dugout?  He talked about it after the game, and apparently Huff gave it to him saying that he needed to help them with their hitting.  Keppinger proceeded to hit a 2 RBI double.  Bochy – KEEP THE BAT!!

I actually got to attend the Astros game on Saturday thanks to my awesome cousin, Manny, and for free!  I have to share this with you.  Manny and several of his friends are bobblehead collectors.  They will buy at least one ticket (sometimes more) to each bobblehead game at the beginning of the season.  On occasion, something will come up, and one of them will not be able to make the game, so Manny gets the tickets and gives them out to anyone who wants to go to the game but will give up the bobblehead.  I, myself, could care less about the bobblehead, and on this occasion I got a free ticket because of it.  Win, win!  And it was a great game!  Surkamp did a fantastic job on his first outing – when he eventually wins the Cy Young, I’ll be able to say I attended his first major league game!  The crowd was really behind him yesterday.  Early in the game when one of his pitches hit the backstop, there was a short gasp, but then everyone applauded for him.  Made me feel proud to be a Giants fan.  And for those who are worried that he went down to the minors today, Bochy says he’ll be back in time for his next pitching rotation against the Padres (YAY!).  Manny and I also had a lot of fun chanting, “Black bat, Bochy” any time the Giants would get runners in scoring position.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get anyone else to chant with us (they probably had no idea what we were talking about and thought we were nuts), but that didn’t stop us!  At one point, Bochy actually did pick up a black bat, but it didn’t work.  I think it only works when Keppinger is up (Huff was up that time).

Finally, I have some very exciting news to share.  To date, I have 2 blog subscribers.  The first is my buddy, Dianna.  DIANNA, YOU ROCK!  Thanks so much for the support.  The second subscribed on Thursday night.  DAVE BENZ SUBSCRIBED TO MY BLOG!!  OMGIamsoexcitedIcan’tbelievethisIcouldscreamIthinkIwillHEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!  Remember when I mentioned that I had asked a couple of the anchors from Comcast SportsNet if they would read my blog, and one said that he would and that he would give me a shout out?  Well, that was Dave Benz.  And he actually did it!  Not only did he read my blog and comment on it, but he also subscribed to it and posted the link to it on his Facebook page!  DAVE, YOU ALSO ROCK!  And since Dave was so kind to me, I will return the favor.  Dave Benz is an anchor on SportsNet Central and sometimes does the pre- and post- game shows for the Giants games (he did this evening).  For those that are into football, he’s also the new 49ers Post-Game Show host on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.  You can even hear him covering for KNBR guys occasionally also (and by the way, great job last time!).  I have learned a lot from his telecasts, and hope that you will, too.  Special thanks to my daughter, Nikki, for not disowning me after I drove her crazy on Thursday night acting like a lunatic because I was so excited.

I am privileged to be able to attend 2 D-backs games this weekend – Friday with my sister (girl’s night) and Sunday with Manny and the bobblehead gang.  I have been to 3 Giants games this season, and they have won all 3.  Hoping to bring them luck!  Can’t wait – hope the boys do well and gain some ground in the West.  GO GIANTS!!

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4 comments

  1. Katerina Catania

    YAY for Benz! BOO for snot rockets D: Thats way gross, why can’t they just keep it all in and get an ear infection like everyone else in the world?

    • giantsfancarm

      LOL! Thanks for the comment, Kat! But I don’t think the snot rockets are coming from having a sinus infection, so he shouldn’t get an ear infection if he keeps that stuff in there. I think he’s just trying to clear his nose to breathe better. Which is fine, but there are better, less disgusting, ways to accomplish this. I don’t see why he couldn’t carry tissue in his pocket. They carry chaw and sunflower seeds back there already. BTW – did Andrew enter that Lincecum contest yet? He’ll easily win!

  2. Dan Crenshaw

    Bumgarner doesn’t need a handkerchief, he needs a bed sheet as often as he blows junk out his nose. What is it about baseball and expelling fluids? Plenty of athletes that are in more physically demanding sports than baseball don’t do that. Imagine if they did that in basketball.

    • giantsfancarm

      Thanks for the comment, Honey! Man – everyone is getting worked up over the snot rockets and spit today! They probably can’t do it in basketball because they have rules against it. Plus, there is potential for injury if someone slips in it. The grass in baseball absorbs it (kind of). But they do spit a lot in the dugout, and that could get slippery. Will have to Google and see if there have ever been any spit-related injuries (LMAO!). I know for a fact that they also spit during soccer games – I’ve seen it. And that’s another grass sport. The only way baseball would ever implement a rule against spitting is if it they found it hurt TV ratings or ticket sales. Money talks, baby.

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