Archive for Cutch

Pitching Under Pressure

Posted in Pitching with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 10, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

The following post was written by Doug Nickerson, who is a frequent contributor at Orioles Proving Ground.  

As a continuation of my previous post on the Orioles’ ability to handle pressure, I am now diving into the pitching staff.  I wanted to determine which pitcher had consistently been able to succeed when the game was on the line.  Some starters are able to rise to the occasion and match the opposing pitcher shutout inning for shutout inning in a game that is a must win.  Sometimes that same pitcher is spotted a big lead, then slowly lets the other team right back into the game and then miraculously turns it around to pitch better when the game gets closer.

Unlike hitters, where OBP generally encompasses a batter’s ability to keep the inning rolling and scoring runs, I had a hard time finding one stat that would be the equivalent for a pitcher.  Inherent in all pitching statistics is the variability element of the fielding behind the pitcher.  With a poor fielding team behind him, the pitcher might react more stressed than if he knows he can trust his defense to make the plays.   This led me to having difficulty in selecting which statistic to compare the pitchers in high, medium, and low leverage situations.  Ultimately, I had to decide on reviewing multiple factors depending on the type of pitcher (starter vs. reliever).  For starters I looked at ERA, while for relievers I also factored in the percent of inherited runners that scored, since part of the relievers role is to bailout the starter and finish the inning without allowing any runs. Continue reading