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September 11, 2004

Prospectus Today

Stats for a Saturday

by Joe Sheehan

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A couple of notes on events from the week that was, compiled thanks to the great data staff here at Baseball Prospectus.

Wednesday night, Odalis Perez went five innings, allowed three runs on four hits (two home runs) and struck out three men. The batter who hit for him in the fifth, Olmedo Saenz, made him eligible for the win by blasting a grand slam to give the Dodgers a 4-3 lead, one they would yield in the top of the sixth. The no-decision was Perez's 17th in 2004; he has a 6-4 record in 27 starts. He hasn't received a decision in his last five outings, and has just a 2-1 mark in 13 starts since the middle of June.

Perez has left eight games as the losing pitcher of record (including Wednesday, when he was pinch-hit for with the Dodgers trailing), only to see the Dodgers score and spare him an "L". He has been the winning pitcher of record and watched the bullpen blow his lead just three times. Six times, he's left a tie game. While this might indicate that Perez is "lucky" to be 6-4, consider that in the majority of those eight games, Perez pitched well, only to have the Dodgers save their offense for after his departure. Perez has received the seventh-worst run support of any NL starter, just 4.17 runs per game. His no-decisions have more to do with a disappointing lack of run support than any failing on his part.

Keith Woolner was able to put Perez's season in some perspective:


Lowest decision/start ratio, min. 20 starts, since 1972:

NAME                  YEAR  GS   W   L DEC   RATIO

Dwight Gooden         1999  22   3   4   7   .3182
Mike Morgan           1998  22   4   3   7   .3182
Odalis Perez          2004  27   6   4  10   .3846
Mike Krukow           1987  28   5   6  11   .3929
Paul Moskau           1978  25   6   4  10   .4000
Dave Burba            2002  21   5   4   9   .4286
Orel Hershiser        1991  21   7   2   9   .4286
Dennis Cook           1992  25   5   6  11   .4400
Steve Trout           1986  25   4   7  11   .4400
Ismael Valdes         2000  20   2   7   9   .4500
Steve McCatty         1982  20   6   3   9   .4500
Bob Walk              1991  20   7   2   9   .4500
Perez's 17 no-decisions tie him with Mike Krukow for the most since '72. No one else has more than 15.

And on the flip side:


Highest decision/start ratio, min. 20 starts, since 1972

NAME                  YEAR  GS   W   L DEC   RATIO

Gaylord Perry         1972  40  24  16  40  1.0000
Steve Rogers          1974  38  15  22  37   .9737
Greg Swindell         1988  33  18  14  32   .9697
Jerry Koosman         1976  32  21  10  31   .9688
Ron Guidry            1983  31  21   9  30   .9677
Kirk McCaskill        1991  30  10  19  29   .9667
Marty Pattin          1973  30  14  15  29   .9667
Mark Fidrych          1976  29  19   9  28   .9655
Larry Dierker         1976  28  13  14  27   .9643
John Smiley           1997  26  11  14  25   .9615
Steve McCatty         1981  22  14   7  21   .9545
Joe Coleman           1973  40  23  15  38   .9500
Bob Tewksbury         1990  20  10   9  19   .9500
Dennis Leonard        1978  40  21  17  38   .9500
It shouldn't be any surprise that this list is dominated by pitchers from the mid-1970s, the post-1919 peak for starting-pitcher workloads.

Odalis Perez is having a unique season. On Thursday, the Kansas City Royals had a unique day, pounding the Tigers 26-4 in the first game of a doubleheader before dropping the second game, 8-0.

As Jim Baker pointed out on Friday, the Royals are the worst team in recent memory to score 25 or more runs in a game, and one of the worst to beat an opponent by at least 20 runs in that timeframe

I think what they did in the second game is just as special. How do you go from 26 runs to none in the span of three hours? How do you score 26 runs in a doubleheader and come away with a split? James Click found that the Royals destroyed the previous mark for doubleheader double personality: before Thursday, no team since 1972 had scored as many as 18 runs and been shut out on the same day:


Date        Team     R
27-JUL-78    CLE    17
14-AUG-87    SDN    15
22-MAY-77    BOS    14
06-SEP-96    CIN    14
29-JUL-00    CLE    14
25-JUL-74    SFN    13
13-JUN-76    SLN    12
30-SEP-99    NYA    12
16-JUL-99    KCA    12
01-AUG-83    CAL    12
17-APR-83    CIN    12
31-AUG-78    CLE    12
If you take out the doubleheader qualifier, the Royals still stand alone as scoring the highest number of runs in advance of being shut out since 1972. The next in line:


Date        Team     R
17-MAY-77    CHN    23
28-JUL-73    CAL    19
01-AUG-02    TEX    19
15-APR-79    MIN    18
23-JUN-86    SFN    18
19-SEP-98    SFN    18
20-JUN-00    DET    18
02-JUN-02    PHI    18
Thanks to Keith and James for all their help.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

Related Content:  Steve Mccatty

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