Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
So… does it matter?
For some teams, injuries and ineffectiveness cause a revolving door on the pitching staff, specifically which pitchers will start games. But does it matter if a team has to keep shuffling their starting rotation?
First, let’s look at the Brewers. This year the Crew has already used 10 starters (Gallardo, Peralta, Lohse, Estrada, Burgos, Figaro, Gorzelanny, Hand, Fiers and Hellweg). In looking at past history, the most starters the Brewers have used in a season is 13. That has happened six times (1975, 1984, 1989, 1991, 2001 and 2002). Go back to the 1969 season when the franchise was known as the Seattle Pilots and you will see that team started 17 different pitchers that season.
(Note: For those of you that are interested, those 17 starters is nowhere near the most used by a team in a season. The most starters used by a team in a season is 24 by the Philadelphia A’s in 1915. The only other team to use 20 or more starting pitchers in a season were the 1969 New York Mets who used 20.)
Back to the Brewers. Of the 44 seasons prior to 2013, the Brewers pitching staff used 10 or more starters in a season 27 times. The team ended up winning more than half their games that season only six times. Conversely, in the 17 seasons where the Brewers used less than 10 starting pitchers, the team won more than 50% of their games in 10 of those seasons.
Here’s one more stat on the Brewers: Of the four times the Brewers have made the playoffs, they used less than 10 starting pitchers in each of those seasons (six in 1981; nine in 1982; eight in 2008; and six in 2011).
This year there have been 255 different starting pitchers used in the majors. Baltimore and Toronto lead the majors with each team using 13 different starters so far this season.
But what’s interesting is that there are three teams that have used only six starters this year: Atlanta, Detroit and Oakland. Guess what? Each of those three is leading its division! In fact, the six division leaders at the All-Star break have used an average of 7.2 starters. The other 24 teams have used an average of 8.8 starters.
Does it matter how many starters you use in a season? The numbers seem to indicate that it does. Consistency and good health in the starting rotation is important.
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Over the course of the Brewers 43-plus year history, the team has not really been known as a base-stealing team. There were, however, pockets of time in their history when stolen bases were a major part of their offensive arsenal. They led the league in steals in 1969 as the Seattle Pilots and then did not lead the league in stolen bases until 1987. It was that period from 1987-92 where the Brewers led the league five out of six seasons in stolen bases.
Since their move to the National League in 1998, stolen bases have not been a significant focus for the team. They did lead the N.L. in steals in 2004 led by outfielder Scott Podsednik’s 70 swipes. That year and a third-place spot in steals in 2003 are the only times the Brewers have finished in the top three in the N.L. in steals since 1998.
Here’s a look at what an all-time Brewers stolen bases team might look like… by position.
First Base: Cecil Cooper (77 stolen bases). Cooper had only 12 stolen bases in his first six seasons with the Red Sox. As a Brewer, “Coop” stole 48 bases in his first four seasons with the team. His career-high was 17 steals in 1980. Reserve: George Scott (40 stolen bases)
Second Base: Jim Gantner (137 stolen bases). Gantner will likely be supplanted by Weeks in the next couple of years in this category. Gantner averaged nearly 15 steals per season from 1985-90. His year-high was 20 in both 1988 and ’89. Reserve: Rickie Weeks (102 stolen bases)
Shortstop: Pat Listach (112 stolen bases). A.L. Rookie of the Year in 1992 stole 54 bases in his award-winning season. Reserve: Jose Valentin (78 stolen bases)
Third Base: Paul Molitor (412 stolen bases). The Brewers career leader in stolen bases. He finished his career with 504 steals. He has four of the top 10 best single-seasons for steals in team history. Reserve: Don Money (66 stolen bases)
Outfield: Robin Yount (271 stolen bases). Had 10 or more steals in 16 of his 20 seasons with the Brewers. The only Brewers player in history to have over 200 career home runs and over 200 career steals.
Tommy Harper (136 stolen bases). More than half of his steals as a Brewer came in 1969 when he led the league with 73 bases with the Seattle Pilots. His 73 steals is the Brewers single-season record.
Scott Podsednik (113 stolen bases). Spent only two seasons with the Brewers. Had 70 steals in 2004 that led the National League. He and Harper are the only two Brewers to have 70-plus steals in a season.
Outfield Reserves: Darryl Hamilton (109 stolen bases); Mike Felder (108 stolen bases); Ryan Braun (100 stolen bases).
Catcher: B.J. Surhoff (102 stolen bases). Had a career-high 21 steals in 1988 with the Brewers. Reserve: Charlie Moore (51 stolen bases)
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2. The six teams that have played in the World Series but have never won are: Houston, Milwaukee (previously Seattle Pilots), San Diego, Colorado, Tampa Bay and Texas (could this be their year?). The two teams that have played in only one World Series but won that series are Arizona (2001) and Anaheim (2002).
3. The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates are the last team to win a World Series Game Seven on the road. Game Seven has been won by the home team in the last eight World Series where a Game Seven has been played.
4. Eighteen of the 106 World Series have been four-game sweeps.
5. Two American League Wild Card teams have won the World Series: Anaheim (2002) and Boston (2004). Two National League Wild Card teams have won the World Series: Florida (1997) and Florida (2003).
6. The New York Yankees have played in 40 World Series, tops in the A.L. The St. Louis have now played in 18 World Series, tied with the Dodgers and Giants, for most appearances in the NL. The Yankees and the Cardinals have played against each other five times in the World Series (1926, 1928, 1942, 1943, 1964). Either the Yankees or the Cardinals (or both) have appeared in 53 of the 107 World Series.