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Pitchers are dominating baseball again


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#1 soulflower

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 10:08 AM

We're back to pre-roid era offense levels:


As teams passed the 81-game midpoint of the season, they were averaging just 4.13 runs per game through Wednesday. If the average stays at that level through the end of the season, it will be the majors’ lowest mark since 1992. Strikeouts continue to rise; walks and home runs continue to decline; and the major league batting average, .251, is the lowest since 1972, the year before the creation of the designated hitter.


A stronger testing program for performance-enhancing drugs, more sophisticated analysis of hitters’ tendencies, a changing amateur scene, and, especially this season, a sharp increase in defensive shifts have coalesced to help the pitchers — with no end in sight.

“None of the stuff that’s come up the last several years has benefited offense,” said Joe Maddon, the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays. “It’s actually subtracted from offense, and it’s going to continue to subtract. Offense is going to go back almost to the dead-ball era. You’re always going to have several really good hitters — guys who would have hit well in 1894 and 2014 — but you’re going back to normal human beings playing the game, with none of the advantages.”


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#2 Gizmo

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 10:25 AM

All the more reason to hold onto Bundy, Gausman, and Harvey.



#3 ivanbalt

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 10:27 AM

The shift has pretty much killed Davis.  When he actually makes contact that is.



#4 Slidemaster

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 10:32 AM

I don't mind this.  Well pitched games are always more fun to watch.


The kids are alright.

#5 soulflower

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 11:02 AM

The shift has pretty much killed Davis. When he actually makes contact that is.


True. The article highlights how teams are using the Shift to help pitchers.

Hitters will eventually adapt and go back to bunting and hitting the ball the other way. Right now, many are being stubborn

Edited by soulflower, 09 July 2014 - 11:02 AM.

"...reality has a well-known liberal bias"

#6 weird-O

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 11:11 AM

I don't mind this.  Well pitched games are always more fun to watch.

I totally agree. I think they're riveting. slugfests are boring, but they draw the casual fan, and that's who mlb will always try to appeal to. I'm of the opinion that if this trend continues, mlb will let it ride for a little while. they'll hold it up as a point of pride that they've cleaned up the cheating. but the second they see any kind of dip in revenue, they'll do something like bring in the fences or lower the mound.

 

lowering the mound may actually be better for pitchers. I watched the mlb tv round table discussion about the epidemic of TJ surgeries. while there isn't enough evidence to conclusively say it's a factor, some believe that throwing off the mound increases the demands of the delivery and puts extra strain on the arm.

 

I couldn't possible say if it's possible or not, but it's interesting that industry folks think it's worth considering.     


"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics." - Benjamin Disraeli

#7 soulflower

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 11:25 AM

I totally agree. I think they're riveting. slugfests are boring, but they draw the casual fan, and that's who mlb will always try to appeal to. I'm of the opinion that if this trend continues, mlb will let it ride for a little while. they'll hold it up as a point of pride that they've cleaned up the cheating. but the second they see any kind of dip in revenue, they'll do something like bring in the fences or lower the mound.



It's not just homeruns that are down so you can't say it's because PED use is declining.

The offensive stats are down across the board. Fewer walks. More strikeouts. Lower batting average on balls in play.

There's so much advance scouting on and video on hitter tendencies these days that hitters may need to make adjustments during games and throughout the season to beat pitchers and defensive shifts
"...reality has a well-known liberal bias"

#8 Gizmo

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 11:27 AM

.....


Edited by Gizmo, 09 July 2014 - 08:39 PM.


#9 Struds

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 01:50 PM

"Specialized" pitching has also contributed to the decline of baseball's offense. The LH/RH matchup, 7th inning, 8th inning and closer specialists make late inning runs less likely (except for the O's).  I can think of two ways to combat this without changing the game itself. 

 

1. Limit the number of pitchers allowed on a roster.  This would decrease the number of pitchers used in those late inning situations. The only downside I see to this idea is extra inning games.

 

2. Institute a rule that each pitcher must pitch to a minimum of 3 batters (barring injury of course). Again, this would limit late game pitching changes and possibly increase scoring without altering the ball, the mound height or distance, or legislating defensive positioning.

 

I also enjoy pitcher's duels, but usually, I'd prefer a reasonable amount of run scoring in a game.  I'm not actually advocating either of these rule changes, but MLB may want to consider them if it decides more runs are needed.

 

Meanwhile, as somebody else noted above, it's up to MLB hitters to relearn how to bunt and hit the damned ball the other way to reduce the exaggerated shifts we're seeing these days.



#10 catatonia

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 02:58 PM

The Orioles generally sucked during the high-octane era (mid 90s excepted) but during the low-scoring 60s and 70s, were the premier franchise in baseball.



#11 TheJudgement

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 04:24 PM

I still remember Dave McNally having a 1.92 ERA.

#12 Far from home

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:12 AM

It's just a natural swing. Part of the reason pitching is also dominating is that there has been a shift from contact focused hitting that dominated the think-tanks of baseball intelligencia during previous decades to the idea that the strike out doesn't matter. Gwynn was known for his ability to make contact, same with Boggs and Ripken. Now, the best hitters will strike out 3 times what Ripken did during his MVP seasons.
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#13 weird-O

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 09:22 AM

It's not just homeruns that are down so you can't say it's because PED use is declining.

let me explain my comment better. you're right, the point isn't that lesser offense conclusively signals that PED use is down, but mlb can  ans will hold up this trend as proof that the sport is clean. it's the flip side of what they did in the mid-90's to justify the monstrous offensive explosions. rather than address the drug problem, they said the spike in power was the combination of:

new, smaller ballparks like OPACY

expansion watered down the pitching talent

the ball was wound tighter

improved weight room equipment allowed batters to increase strength

batters can practice hitting all day, year 'round, while pitchers can only pitch once a week and need to take the winter off to save their arms.

 

I was commenting on it from a PR standpoint


"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics." - Benjamin Disraeli

#14 soulflower

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:00 AM

let me explain my comment better. you're right, the point isn't that lesser offense conclusively signals that PED use is down, but mlb can ans will hold up this trend as proof that the sport is clean. it's the flip side of what they did in the mid-90's to justify the monstrous offensive explosions. rather than address the drug problem, they said the spike in power was the combination of:
new, smaller ballparks like OPACY
expansion watered down the pitching talent
the ball was wound tighter
improved weight room equipment allowed batters to increase strength
batters can practice hitting all day, year 'round, while pitchers can only pitch once a week and need to take the winter off to save their arms.

I was commenting on it from a PR standpoint


Well anytime someone tries to point to a single cause for something that affects a broad group of people, it's going to be a flawed conclusion.

In the offensive explosion of the 90s, even players not associated with steroids saw their numbers improve(ie Griffey, Boggs, Gwynn, Frank Thomas, etc). So while steroids may have been part of the cause, there may be some truth to the idea that other factors like Expansion teams and smaller stadiums having an affect.

Today, the game is shifting back to pitching and defense. In response, I think hitters are going to eventually return to reducing strikeouts, and slapping the ball the other way
"...reality has a well-known liberal bias"

#15 soulflower

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:07 AM

It's just a natural swing. Part of the reason pitching is also dominating is that there has been a shift from contact focused hitting that dominated the think-tanks of baseball intelligencia during previous decades to the idea that the strike out doesn't matter. Gwynn was known for his ability to make contact, same with Boggs and Ripken. Now, the best hitters will strike out 3 times what Ripken did during his MVP seasons.


I agree. Most hitters today don't want to choke up or shorten their swing.
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#16 weird-O

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 10:35 AM

Well anytime someone tries to point to a single cause for something that affects a broad group of people, it's going to be a flawed conclusion.

In the offensive explosion of the 90s, even players not associated with steroids saw their numbers improve(ie Griffey, Boggs, Gwynn, Frank Thomas, etc). So while steroids may have been part of the cause, there may be some truth to the idea that other factors like Expansion teams and smaller stadiums having an affect.

Today, the game is shifting back to pitching and defense. In response, I think hitters are going to eventually return to reducing strikeouts, and slapping the ball the other way

I would really like to see that happen


"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics." - Benjamin Disraeli

#17 Ravens2006

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 07:55 PM

NOBODY grows up these days wanting to be Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs.  The McGwire / Sosa era taught every young wanna-be baseball player that HRs matter WAY more than anything else.  2 singles and a double don't make SportsCenter.  One moonshot HR does.  So guys swinging for the fences more are going to miss more.

 

More parents should push their kids to be like Tony Gwynn...  :)


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#18 ivanbalt

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 10:50 AM

NOBODY grows up these days wanting to be Tony Gwynn or Wade Boggs.  The McGwire / Sosa era taught every young wanna-be baseball player that HRs matter WAY more than anything else.  2 singles and a double don't make SportsCenter.  One moonshot HR does.  So guys swinging for the fences more are going to miss more.

 

More parents should push their kids to be like Tony Gwynn...  :)

 

Ichiro hits like Gwynn and Boggs.  He's kind of old now though.



#19 soulflower

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 11:15 AM

Ichiro hits like Gwynn and Boggs. He's kind of old now though.


He looks pretty bad at the plate these days. He should've retired 3 years ago
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#20 soulflower

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 11:15 AM

Ichiro hits like Gwynn and Boggs. He's kind of old now though.


He looks pretty bad at the plate these days. He should've retired 3 years ago
"...reality has a well-known liberal bias"




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