At one point last night my “team”—yes, I realize it’s a fake team playing fake games, but one thing I like about fantasy baseball is that it lets me see some things statistically that I might not otherwise notice—was a fierce 3-24. I think Kotchman got a hit in his last a bat to raise the batting average to .160 (with 8 K’s to boot).
And these aren’t bottom of the order guys. Kotchman is hitting .340 on the season. Rafael Furcal, Josh Hamilton, Matt Holliday, Aramis Ramirez, Connor Jackson, these are all guys hitting about .300 or better. Shit Furcal is hitting .370!
How do so many good hitters uniformly suck so badly on one day, the same day? Well yesterday was getaway day, the last day of the series before the team hops a plane to get to the next city for its next series (although teams on home stands aren’t traveling).
It’s not just that there is travel looming, but getaway day games are often day games after night games. So there is the looming prospect of hitting the road compounded with probably less rest than a player would ideally like. Is that enough to drop batting averages?
It was just one day, and it’s entirely possible that it only seems like it’s happening every week where there is at least one day where hitters don’t hit, but the numbers suggest something might be amiss: Are batters really worse on getaway days?
I’m certain this is something that sabermetricians have already established (or debunked) elsewhere; and I might go look it up after I get done writing this, but I’ve already done the math and don’t want to find I totally wasted my time. Anyway, the total BA for the players in my 10-team league was .252 (or 51-202).
Okay, that doesn’t seem too bad, right. That’s basically 1-4.
Well, it was worse (.237) at one point until the late slugfest in Anaheim (20 hits for Oakland, 30 hits for the 2 teams combined) skewed things upward, but you can’t arbitrarily throw that game out. Although it is worth nothing that it wasn’t a day game after a night game and it featured a pitcher for Anaheim making his first ever start (curiously though he only gave up 3 hits even though he only lasted 2 innings… it was the pen that really got pounded).
Anyway, all of the players on the ten fantasy teams combined hit about .250, that’s not awful. But those same guys on the season are collectively hitting .276 (or 1589-5763). That’s about a 25 point difference.
And it might be a couple of points higher if Dustin Pedroia weren’t 2 for his last 30 (Dick, you’re killing me this week). Again, 25 points doesn’t seem that large does it?
Well consider this: in order for those guys to drop their collective averages 25 points from today, they would have to go 0 for their next 534. That’s just a little over 20 straight hitless games.
Again, I’m sure someone has done a more thorough analysis of this elsewhere, and this is just one day’s worth of data (combined with some vague notion that it seems to be a weekly occurrence).
Or maybe not. Maybe it’s just a one-day statistical quirk. It’s not like there was a dearth of offense yesterday. Of the 10 games yesterday, in all but 2 the teams combined for at least 12 hits, and three of the games had more than 20 hits.
Still, 20 hitless games is, technically speaking, a fuckload.