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July 12, 2013

Raising Aces

How the Mighty Have Fallen

by Doug Thorburn


A couple of pitchers enjoyed breakout performances during the first two months of the season, only to wake up from the dream once the calendar flipped to June. Our inner statistician can easily wave these trends aside as the inevitable magnetism of regression to the mean, but I’ve found that reality often follows a more intricate path, with much to be learned through the analysis of outlier performances and small sample size.

Let's examine a couple of players who have fallen off from their early-season dominance in search of explanations that go beyond luck. In these cases, the “before” and “after” stats are split based on the arbitrary calendar date of June 1st.

Hisashi Iwakuma

GS

IP

ERA

WHIP

H%

HR %

BB%

K%

Before

12

80.3

2.13

0.87

18.8%

3.3%

4.3%

24.3%

After

7

44.0

4.50

1.02

23.0%

5.7%

2.9%

18.4%

Iwakuma started the 2013 season on an absolute tear. He allowed two earned runs or fewer in 12 of his first 14 starts and entered the June 16 game versus Oakland with a 1.79 ERA, but then his season got flipped turned upside down. He surrendered a four-spot to the A's in that contest, and Oakland tagged Iwakuma for another four runs five days later. The Mariner right-hander has not had a clean game since, as he has now strung together five consecutive starts with at least four earned runs allowed. The damage culminated in Tuesday's shellacking by the Red Sox, in which Iwakuma gave up six runs over three innings pitched. All told, he has been knocked around to the tune of a 6.83 ERA over his past 29 frames.

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Related Content:  Pitching,  Shelby Miller,  Mechanics,  Hisashi Iwakuma

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<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (07/12)
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Premium Article Raising Aces: Stuffing... (07/03)
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Premium Article Raising Aces: Back to ... (07/19)
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