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Home » August 2005 Game CommentsAugust 2005 » Aflutter


Game 110: August 7, 2005
Red Sox (63-47), 11
Twins (57-54), 7
W: Tim Wakefield (11-9)
S: Curt Schilling (9)
L: Joe Mays (5-7)

Terry Francona featured another lineup by dartboard:

  1. Tony Graffanino, 2B
  2. Edgar Renteria, SS
  3. David Ortiz, DH
  4. Manny Ramirez, LF
  5. Kevin Millar, RF
  6. Roberto Petagine, 1B
  7. Doug Mirabelli, C
  8. Alex Cora, 3B
  9. Gabe Kapler, CF

In the Royal Rooters game thread, I sarcastically stated that a fan had a better chance of winning a Cobalt than the Red Sox had winning this game with such a lineup. In the 1st inning, David Ortiz just missed a 3-run home run because of the blasted baggie in center and right fields. Instead, he had a 2-run double that plated Graffanino and Renteria. Copycat Ramirez doubled immediately after, and even Millar and Mirabelli got into the action by surprising hits to the opposite field. Shannon Stewart pulled a Benny Agbayani and threw the ball into the stands after he caught Alex Cora’s fly ball, which resulted in an error, a Millar run, and an advance by Mirabelli to third. Kapler struck out looking to mercifully conclude the 5-run inning. Perhaps I was wrong about this particular configuration of players.

I don’t usually like to proven wrong, but there are exceptions.

I would love to be proven wrong about Petagine. He had his first major league hit in 6 years with his 5th inning bases-clearing double, although he was thrown out at third base trying to get closer to home. He has only had 9 at bats, so once he attains about 30 or so perhaps we’ll have a better estimate of his value.

What is written on the brim of J.C. Romero’s cap? The lefty reliever tried to move Ramirez off of the plate in the 7th inning, going inside and high on Ramirez, making the left fielder duck. What Romero doesn’t realize is that this no mere mortal batter. For all we know, Ramirez’s response to the inside pitch may have been an overreaction to make the pitcher believe he was spooked. The very next pitch: opposite field home run. I recommend the following to be added to Romero’s cap: “Ramirez kills lefties. You are left-handed. Be careful.”

Both starting pitchers had career days. Mays allowed a career-worst 13 hits in 4.2 innings with 8 runs, 7 of which were earned, 1 walk, and 3 strikeouts. Wakefield had a career-high 11 strikeouts, pitching 8 innings with only 4 runs (2 earned) and 1 walk. My favorite Wakefield moment was in the 6th inning. After he had struck out Matthew LeCroy, the camera caught the knuckleballer grinning because LeCroy was so out of sorts his helmet careened off his head with his luckless swing. Wakefield sets the heart aflutter, as Many Delcarmen did in the 9th inning, but for entirely different reasons.

After adroitly sitting the first two batters he faced, the Hyde Park native walked Juan Castro and then allowed a single to Cora by Jason Bartlett. Cora, looking uneasy at third, made a throwing error that permitted Castro to take third base. Delcarmen then relinquished a 2-run double to Stewart and was thoroughly unhinged, permitting the bases to fill. Schilling was brought in to clean up the rookie’s mess, and although he walked in a run, he managed to get the final out of the game, avoiding the sweep.


This was a classic Wakey game...all it was missing was him spaz running from first to home plate....

*misses Spaz Wake*

I wonder if anyone has figured out the odds(they would have to be approximate) of winning the car on the 100th pick. Better than the lotto, but still.....I doubt if one person would hit it if the contest was continued for 10 years. But we'd get to hear 10 years of 100th pitch commentary from Rem and Corsillo, and that's a good thing.

What's that? a challenge? Accepted.

Figuring out the odds of that happening means a two part problem. First, we have to figure out the odds of hitting a homer on any given pitch, and then the odds of that occurring on any specific pitch.

The first part is the more complicated one. Easy to do on a league scale - just dividing the total number of homers hit in the AL by the total number of pitches thrown in the AL but, it's comlplicated by the fact that we're talking about a specific team; the Red Sox. So, we have to figure out, approximately, how many pitches have been thrown against the Sox this year. Using ESPN stats, and multipying each player's total Plate Appearances by their average # of pitches seen per PA, we get a total of 16,734 pitches thrown against the Sox this year. Of course, some of those have been to sox pitchers, so subtracting that total gives us 16,650. Sox batters have hit 130 homers this year, none of them by pitchers; this means that a Sox player, on average, hits a homer every 128 or so pitches.

Now comes the easy part; figuring out the chances of it happening on any specific pitch. The average number of pitches thrown in any game vs the Sox, we can figure out by dividing the number of pitches by the total number of games: they've played 110 games, which means that on average, 167 pitches are thrown to Sox batters per game.

So, putting those two numbers together, the chances that Sox batter hits a homer on the 100th pitch of a ballgame are 1:(167*128), or 1:21,376.

So, not very good.

Oh, and that means that, mathematically, this should happen once every 132 seasons (21,376/162).

Andrew, dude. Did you finish your thesis?

Is it really that rare? I agree it's a two-part problem, but I think that parts are (1) the chance a member of the Sox will hit a HR on a given pitch (as you calculate, 1 in 128), and (2) the chance the Red Sox are batting when the 100th pitch is thrown (let's say 1 in 2). Doesn't that just mean 1 in 128*2=256? Once every 1 1/2 seasons?

Maybe I'm missing something. I just don't understand the distinction between any "given pitch" and a "specific pitch". If a player has a 1 in 128 chance of hitting a HR on a given pitch, that's for every pitch, right? The 1st, the 2nd, the 3rd, the 100th...

...but apparently it's only on Friday nights when this is offered. So whatever the answer is, we need to mulitply the average frequency by almost 7 ("almost" because there's always baseball on Fridays, but not always on Mondays or Thursdays).

Earl, it's the 100th pitch thrown to a Red Sox player, not just the 100th pitch of the game.

I do tend to agree with Earl's reasoning, because a sequence of pitches isn't as strict as blackjack, where history will change the odds of the specificity of the next card (or, in the Cobalt contest case, at bat result), which is what Andrew's calculations presume. But it isn't purely a coin toss either, as there are more than two outcomes and the chances of a home run will vary depending on who's at the plate, what count it is, and so forth.

However, Earl, you're right about the first part. It would only be 1:21,376 if the contet required that the only homer of a game come on the 10th pitch. So, as currently set up, it's 1:128. Good call.

And Empy... no. But it's coming. Plus, that only took me like 15 minutes.

So, the final tally, given that it's only a Friday thing: this should happen once every 5.5 years.

and, er, that comment above the one above this should read "100th pitch", rather than "10th pitch".

I've gotta go write about Ghana now.

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