Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wandy vs. the Big Inning

Anecdotally, we know about Wandy's tendency to give up the big inning. So let's see if we can quantify it, shall we?

First, what do you call a Big Inning? Let's arbitrarily set it at allowing three runs in one inning. Let's go.

Big Innings in 2010: 10

April 6 vs. SF (L 0-3)
Innings 1-5: 5H/0ER, 3K:1BB, 19 batters faced
6th inning: 2H/3ER, 1K:3BB, 8 batters faced

Wandy walked the first two batters on four straight balls (that's right, eight balls to open the inning), gave up a single, groundout, sac fly, single, and another walk before striking out Barry Zito to end the inning.

April 12 @ StL (L 0-5)
Innings 1-2: 3H/1ER, 0K:0BB, 8 batters faced
3rd inning: 3H/3ER, 0K:0BB, 6 batters faced

Wandy got Adam Wainwright to flyout to lead off the inning. But consecutive singles from Schumaker and Ludwick set up a three-run homer from Pujols.

May 6 vs. Ari (L 3-6)
Innings 1-2: 3H/1ER, 3K:1BB, 9 batters faced
3rd inning: 4H/3ER, 0K:0BB, 7 batters faced

This was a terrible inning. He led off the inning by hitting Kelly Johnson, then a single to Abreu, passed ball, single, sac fly, single, and single.

May 12 @ StL (W 9-6)
Innings 1-5: 1H/1ER, 3K:1BB, 18 batters faced
6th inning: 4H/4ER, 0K:1BB, 8 batters faced

After cruising through the first five innings, allowing only an unearned run, Schumaker led off the inning with a groundout. Then Ludwick singled, Pujols doubled, Holliday walked, Freese hit a ground-rule double, LaRue got a run-scoring groundout, and Stavinoha singled before Brendan Ryan ended the inning.

May 28 @ CIN (L 6-15)
Innings 1-2: 3H/2ER, 2K:1BB, 10 batters faced
3rd-4th innings: 5H/6ER, 3K:1BB, 10 batters faced

This was one of Wandy's worst starts of the season, lasting just 3.1IP and giving up 8ER. Cairo singled to lead off the inning, Philips struck out, Rolen doubled, and Gomes homered. He got Bruce and Stubbs to strike out looking, so he came back out for the 4th, gave up a lead-off single to Hanigan, a single to Cabrera, and walked Cairo. Chacin replaced Wandy, and Chacin allowed all three runs he inherited to score.

June 12 @ NYY (L 3-9)

Innings 1-2: 2H/1ER, 2K:1BB, 9 batters faced
3rd inning: 3H/5ER, 2K:2BB, 8 batters faced

Wandy walked Jeter to lead off the inning, then gave up a single to Swisher, walked Teixeira, a single to Cano, and Posada hit a grand slam to bring them all home. Wandy actually made it through the 5th before walking Cervelli and Granderson to lead off the 6th. Fulchino came in to clean it up, and gave up a homer to Jeter, bringing in Cervelli and Granderson.

June 18 @ TEX (L 3-9)

Innings 1-2: 0H/0ER, 0K:1BB, 7 batters faced
3rd inning: 4H/6ER, 0K:3BB, 10 batters faced

This game marked the end of Bad Wandy, he was dramatically better from this point forward in the season (obviously, as seven of his first 14 starts qualify as a Big Inning start). However, Borbon grounded out to start the inning, but then Feldman - the pitcher - cracked a double, Andrus walked, Young grounded out, but Kinsler and Vlad walked, Hamilton got a two-run single, Smoak got a two-run double, and Matt Treanor got an RBI single before Borbon lined out to end the inning.

July 19 @ CHC (W 11-5)

Innings 1-5: 4H/2ER, 2K:1BB, 18 batters faced
6th inning: 4H/3ER, 0K:0BB, 6 batters faced

Tyler Colvin homered to lead off the inning, Castro grounded out, Lee doubled, and Ramirez hit a two-run shot. He gave up a single to Soriano two batters later, but Soriano ran himself into an inning-ending out.

Sept 11 v LAD (L 3-6)

Innings 1-3: 0H/0ER, 5K:2BB, 11 batters faced
4th inning: 4H/3ER, 2K:0BB, 7 batters faced

Casey Blake homered to start the inning, and then Wandy got two of the next three batters out. Johnson singled, stole 2nd, and Ellis brought him home with another single. It doesn't fit the mold of his previous starts in this list, but it's still three earned runs in an inning. Wandy would go on to pitch another three strong innings.

Sept 17 vs. CIN (W 5-3)

Innings 1-5: 0H/0ER, 8K:5BB, 20 batters faced
6th inning: 3H/3ER, 2K:1BB, 7 batters faced

Votto doubled to lead off the 6th, Rolen walked, and Gomes tagged him for a 3-run homer. He did allow another single to Stubbs, but got out of the inning without any other damage.
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So that sums up ten starts in which Wandy gave up 3+ ER in one inning. There are a couple of trends we can notice from this list:

*Five of the ten starts came against NL Central opponents. (2xSTL, 2xCIN, 1xCHC)
*Six starts were on the road, four at home
*The Astros lost seven of these games, though that says more about the offense as it does Wandy.
*The lead-off batter got on base in seven of the ten starts
*Of those seven starts, three started with an extra-base hit (the last three, actually). Two started with a walk, one with an HBP.
*In every instance, the Big Inning came on the 2nd time through the order, and generally the damage was done by the heart of the order.
*This makes sense as the highest OPSa Wandy posted was in the 2nd time through the order. Also keep in mind that the lead-off batter in the inning through the season had a .257/.335/.402 line.

What does it all mean? Well for one, it means that there's no way I'm going through every inning to evaluate more data. Second, it shows how ineffective Wandy was in the first half of the season that seven of his first 14 starts fell into this category, compared to just three of his last eighteen. Third, it's obvious to say that when Wandy doesn't allow a 3+ run inning, he does good. That's blatantly obvious - and borderline asinine. But it does show that Wandy was able to keep his composure much better in the 2nd half of the season. And gives us a little more ammunition that his 3yr deal is probably, for the time being, a good thing.

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