Monthly Archives: July, 2012

2012 British Open: Is Adam Scott’s four-stroke lead safe?

PGA golf professional Adam Scott chips out of ...

Adam Scott (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Australian Adam Scott sits at 11-under after the third round and takes a four-stroke lead into the final round of the British Open. He leads  Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell and American Brant Snedeker. Tiger Woods is five shots back.

The question: Is his four-shot lead insurmountable?

Looking back at the past 50 British Opens, there have been only four times when the third round leader had a lead of four strokes or more and lost the tournament. Interestingly enough, each of the four times occurred since 1995.

Here’s a few other quick stats about those golfers who have led the British Open after the third round since 1962:

* In 27 of the last 50 tournaments (54 percent) the golfer leading after the third round (or was tied for the lead) has won the tournament.

* Of the 23 tournaments where the third round leader eventually lost the tournament, in three tourneys the eventual winner came from one stroke back to win; in 12 tourneys, the winner came from two shots back to win.

* Scott’s four-shot lead is the 11th time since 1962 that the third-round leader goes into the final round with a lead of four shots or more. In nine of those previous 10 times, the third-round leader won the tournament; the only exception was in 1999 when third-round leader Jean van de Velde blew a five-shot lead at the start of th day on Sunday and lost the tournament to Paul Lawrie in a playoff.

Following are the biggest third-round deficits to win the British Open since 1962.

Third-Round Deficit, golfer, year

-10: Paul Lawrie, 1999

-6: Padraig Harrington, 2007

-5: Justin Leonard, 1997

-4: John Daly, 1995

-3: Tom Watson, 1975; Tom Watson, 1982; Sandy Lyle, 1985; Mark Calcavecchia, 1989

The last golfer to come from behind after the third round to win the British Open was American Stewart Cink who was tied for sixth after the third round in the 2009 tournament. He was two shots back going into Sunday’s round, but tied third-round leader Tom Watson at the end of 18 holes on Sunday. He defeated Watson in the playoff.

Of note is that Watson won two of his British Opens after being behind by three shots going into the final round.

Following are the golfers who have won the most British Opens in the last 50 years who were not in the lead after the third round.

Jack Nicklaus, 3 (1966, 1970, 1978)

Seve Ballesteros, 3 (1979, 1984, 1988)

Tom Watson, 2 (1975, 1982)

Padraig Harrington, 2 (2007, 2008)

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Barry Larkin: A shelf full of Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Barry Larkin, Cincinnati Reds, 2004, by Rick D...

Barry Larkin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame tomorrow. Playing his entire career with the Reds, Larkin compiled a .295 career batting average with 198 home runs and 960 RBI.

A 12-time All-Star, Larkin was the 1995 National League MVP and was the first shortstop to join the 30-30 club when he hit 33 HRs and had 36 stolen bases in ’96. Larkin is also one of only three shortstops to have won three or more Gold Glove Awards and three or more Silver Slugger Awards.

In 1980 the Silver Slugger Award was first awarded honoring the best offensive player at each position in each league. The Silver Slugger was instituted as a hitting honor to go along with the Gold Glove Award which honors the best defensive players at each position. The Gold Glove was first awarded in 1957.

Larkin is one of only 27 different players in baseball history to have won three or more Silver Slugger awards and three or more Gold Glove awards. Topping the list are catcher Ivan Rodriquez and outfielder Barry Bonds. Rodriquez has won the defensive honor 13 times and he has seven Silver Sluggers. Bonds has 12 Gold Gloves and eight silver bats.

Larkin holds the MLB record for most Silver Slugger Awards by a shortstop with nine. He is followed by Cal Ripken, Jr., with eight. He follows Barry Bonds (12) and Mike Piazza (10) for most Silver Slugger Awards by all positions since the honor was instituted in 1980.

Following, by position, are the players who have won three or more Gold Gloves and three or more Silver Slugger honors.

Position… player, GG (Gold Gloves), SS (Silver Sluggers)

Catcher: Ivan Rodriquez (13 GG, 7 SS), Lance Parrish (3 GG, 6 SS), Gary Carter (3 GG, 5 SS), Joe Maurer (3 GG, 4 SS), Benito Santiago (3 GG, 4 SS)

First Baseman: Todd Helton (3 GG, 4 SS), Don Mattingly (9 GG, 3 SS), Eddie Murray (3 GG, 3 SS), Mark Teixeira (4 GG, 3 SS)

Second Baseman: Ryne Sandberg (9 GG, 7 SS), Roberto Alomar (10 GG, 4 SS), Craig Biggio (4 GG, 4 SS), Lou Whitaker (3 GG, 4 SS)

Shortstop: Barry Larkin (3 GG, 9 SS), Derek Jeter (5 GG, 4 SS), Alan Trammell (4 GG, 3 SS)

Third Baseman: Mike Schmidt (10 GG, 6 SS), Matt Williams (4 GG, 4 SS)

Outfielder: Barry Bonds (12 GG, 8 SS), Ken Griffey, Jr. (10 GG, 7 SS), Tony Gwynn (5 GG, 7 SS), Kirby Puckett (6 GG, 6 SS), Dave Winfield (7 GG, 5 SS), Andre Dawson (8 GG, 4 SS), Dale Murphy (5 GG, 4 SS), Ichiro Suzuki (10 GG, 3 SS), Larry Walker (7 GG, 3 SS)

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NFL head coaches: Oakland Raiders welcome eighth coach this century

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles' coach, after t...

Andy Reid begins his 14th season as the Eagles head coach (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2012 National Football League regular season is 48 days away. The season kicks off on September 5 as the Dallas Cowboys face the defending Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants. Six teams enter the ’12 season with new head coaches at the helm. They are: Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis), Mike Mularkey (Jacksonville), Joe Philbin (Miami), Dennis Allen (Oakland), Jeff Fisher (St. Louis) and Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay).

Note: The Kansas City Chiefs have Romeo Crennel at the helm this season after a three-game interim head coach tag from last year was lifted for this season.

For the Raiders, Allen is their eighth head coach since 2000, most in the NFL since the start of this century. Miami’s selection of Philbin gives them their seventh head coach in the last 13 years.

Two teams, New England and Philadelphia, are the only two franchises that have had the same coach this century. Andy Reid has been the Eagles’ top man since 1999, and Bill Belichick took over as the Pats’ head coach in 2000.

Following are the number of head coaches each of the NFL teams have had since 2000.

8: Oakland

7: Detroit, Miami, Washington

6: Atlanta, Buffalo, Cleveland, San Francisco, St. Louis

5: Kansas City

4: Arizona, Dallas, Denver, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New York Jets, Tampa Bay

3: Carolina, Cincinnati, San Diego, Seattle

2: Baltimore, Chicago, Green Bay, Houston, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, Tennessee

1: New England, Philadelphia

The Eagles’ Reid and Patriots’ Belichick are obviously the current head coaches with the longest seniority in the league. Reid has coached 208 games for Philadelphia and Belichick has 192 games under his belt as the New England head man. Here are the current coaches with 80 or more games at the helm of their current teams.

Coach, Team, Games

Andy Reid, Philadelphia, 208

Bill Belichick, New England, 192

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati, 144

Lovie Smith, Chicago, 128

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants, 128

Mike McCarthy, Green Bay, 96

Gary Kubiak, Houston, 96

Sean Payton, New Orleans, 96

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh, 80

Norv Turner, San Diego, 80

Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona, 80

Here’s a quick trivia question for you: Can you name the head coaches for the Eagles and Patriots before Reid and Belichick?

Here’s another trivia question to test your knowledge of the 32 current head coaches in the NFL: Can you name the four current NFL head coaches who are the winningest coach in their franchises’ history?

Trivia answers: The head coach of the Eagles before Andy Reid was Ray Rhodes; the Patriots head coach prior to Belichick was Pete Carroll. The four current head coaches who are already the winningest coaches in their teams’ history are Reid (Eagles), Belichick (Patriots), Marvin Lewis (Bengals) and Gary Kubiak (Texans).

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British Open: Six stats you might not know about the last 10 tournaments

Golf practice British Open

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

The 2012 edition of The Open Championship will begin today at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire, England. The course first hosted the tournament in 1926; this is the 11th time as the host course. The last time it was played at this course was in 2001 when American David Duval won the event.

Darren Clarke is the defending champion having won last year’s Open. International players have won four of the last five tournaments (Stewart Cink was the last American to win The Open Championship; he won in 2009).

Following are six stats you might not know about the last 10 The Open Championship tournaments.

Top 10 finishes by country: The United States has had 34 golfers finish in the Top 10 of the event since 2002, most of any country. Second is England with 16, followed by South Africa with 15. Completing the Top Five are Australia with nine and Spain with seven.

First-round leader score, and nationality: The first round leader in the last 10 tournaments has averaged 65.9. Nine different countries have had golfers lead or tied for the lead of The Open Championship after the first round since 2002. Those countries (and the number of their golfers who were either tied for or led the tourney after the first day): United States (4), Northern Ireland (3), Spain (2), England (2), Denmark (1), Australia (1), France (1), South Africa (1), Sweden (1).

Winners’ best round is the second round: The eventual winners since 2002 have had their best round on the second day. The last 10 champions have shot 68.5 in the second round, 68.8 in the first round, 69.1 in the final round, and 70.0 in the third round.

Best finish by an American: The lowest Top 10 finish by an American since 2002 was in 2002 when Scott Hoch finished tied for eighth. It is also the only time in the last 10 years that only one American finished in the Top 10. Last year, six Americans finished in the Top 10.

Americans with multiple Top 10 finishes since 2002: Tiger Woods finished in the Top 10 four times in the last 10 years of The Open Championship. He finished in the Top 10 four straight years from 2003-2006. His four Top 10 finishes top the list for Americans in this event. Other Americans with two or more Top 10 finishes since 2002: Ben Curtis, Davis Love III (three each); Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim, Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk and Steve Stricker (two each).

How did the third-round leader finish? The third round leader in the last 10 years won six championships. In two years (2007, 2009) the third round leader finished the fourth round tied for the lead but lost in a playoff (Sergio Garcia, ’07; Tom Watson, ’09). In the other two years (2003, 2008) the third round leader did not win the tournament on that final day. In 2003 Thomas Bjorn finished tied for second one stroke back after leading at the end of three rounds; in 2008, third-round leader Greg Norman finished tied for third, six shots behind the winner.

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Blown saves hurting Brewers 2012 season

Milwaukee Brewers

Milwaukee Brewers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

You don’t have to look very far to find a major reason why the Brewers are struggling this year: the bullpen. In fact, blown saves, like the one we saw last night in the 3-2 loss to the Cardinals, are sending the Brewers farther away from a legitimate chance at a playoff berth. Last year the Brewers had 19 blown saves; they already have 16 this year.

The Brewers this season have 18 saves in 34 opportunities, a 52.9 success rate, ranking them 29th of the 30 MLB teams. The Rockies have the worst save percentage with only 16 conversions in 33 save opportunities, a 48.5 percentage. The Brewers 16 blown saves are second to the Rockies 17.

Last year, the Brewers ranked eighth in the majors in saves success. The Brewers had 47 saves in 66 opportunities, a 71.2 percentage. That means that the Brewers save success percentage has dropped from 71.2 last year to 52.9 this year, a drop of 18.3. That 18.3 percentage drop is the third highest in the majors this year. Leading the way are the Philadelphia Phillies, another MLB disappointment in 2012. The Phillies topped the majors in 2011 with an 85.5 percentage save success rate; this year they have converted 20 of 32 save opportunities, a 62.5 percentage, and a drop of 23 percentage points. In fact, the Phillies have more blown saves already this year, 12, than they did all of last year, eight.

Following are the 10 MLB teams that have had the biggest drop in save success percentage over last year.

Team, save percentage in 2011/save percentage in 2012, difference

Philadelphia: 85.5/62.5     -23.0

Detroit: 83.9/64.5     -19.4

Milwaukee: 71.2/52.9     -18.3

Colorado: 64.1/48.5     -15.6

Arizona: 81.7/68.8     -12.9

(Notice anything about four of the five teams above?  Philadelphia, Detroit, Milwaukee and Arizona were playoff teams in 2011!)

Chicago White Sox: 67.7/58.8     -8.9

Seattle: 70.1/64.3     -5.8

St. Louis: 64.4/58.8     -5.6

L.A. Dodgers: 75.5/70.6     -4.9

Boston: 69.2/64.7     -4.5

The Houston Astros have had the biggest gain in save success percentage; they were at 50% last season and are at 69% this year, a gain of 19 percentage points.

The Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays top the category this year by converting just under 85 percent of their save opportunities. Both teams have saved 28 in 33 chances, an 84.8 percentage. Texas is at 84.6 percent to rank third, and the Pittsburgh Pirates top the National League with 30 saves in 36 opportunities, an 83.3 percent success rate.

Just in case you’re wondering, the major league average save percentage is 69% this year.

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