Twelve stats you may not know about… Bruce Sutter
One of baseball’s greatest relief pitchers, Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter, passed away on October 13 at the age of 69. He played for the Cubs, Cardinals, and Atlanta Braves in his 12-year major league career. In his first professional season in 1972, he injured his arm. At spring training in 1973 he was taught how to throw a split-finger fastball and it energized his career.
Sutter was a six-time All-Star and won a Cy Young Award in 1979 with the Cubs. He ended his career with 300 saves.
- Sutter was born in Lancaster, PA. He is one of 1,488 MLB players born in Pennsylvania, and one of 678 pitchers born in that state. Sutter is also one of 19 players born in Lancaster; one of his teammates with the St. Louis Cardinals was second baseman Tom Herr, another Lancaster, PA-born MLB player. The two of them won a World Series together with the Cards in 1982.
- Drafted by the Washington Senators in the 21st round of the 1970 draft, Sutter never played a game in the Senators organization. He in September 1971, signed a free agent contract with the Chicago Cubs and played his first professional game as a member of the Gulf Coast Cubs in 1972 at age 19.
- He made his MLB debut on May 9, 1976, with the Cubs pitching one inning in a game against the Cincinnati Reds. His first career strikeout was Dan Driessen.
- Sutter was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. He is one of seven relievers in the Hall with at least 300 saves. He collected his 300th save in the last game of his career on September 9, 1988. He was then pitching for the Atlanta Braves.
- Bruce was a six-time National League All-Star, making the team five straight years from 1977-81. He won or saved the All-Star game for the N.L. in four consecutive years (1978-81).
- Sutter had 22 saves in the minors. He did start two games in his minor league career. In his MLB career, all 661 games that he pitched were in relief. He is one of 47 relievers to pitch in 600 or more career games, all in relief.
- He led the National League in saves five times. He did it twice as a member of the Cubs and three times with the Cardinals.
- Sutter accumulated 133 career saves with the Cubs and 127 with the Cardinals. He is second on the Cubs all-time career saves list behind Lee Smith. He ranks fourth on the Cardinals all-time career list. Jason Isringhausen ranks #1 in that category for the Cards.
- Sutter had a career batting average of .088. He had six RBIs, no extra base hits, but did steal a base in a game.
- He had the most saves in his career against the Mets with 38. He gave up 77 home runs; the player who hit the most HRs off Sutter was a former Cub, Ryne Sandberg. The two, however, never played together with the Cubs. Sutter’s last year with the Cubs was 1980; Sandberg’s first year with the Cubs was in 1982.
- Sutter twice lost 10 or more games in a season. In 1978 he was 8-10 with the Cubs; in 1983 he was 9-10 with the Cardinals. He is one of 21 relief pitchers (80% or more of their games pitched as a reliever) to lose 10 or more games in multiple seasons. Former reliever Mike Marshall tops this list losing 10 or more games as a reliever in five seasons.
- Bruce Sutter pitched in one post-season, 1982. The Cardinals defeated the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS and then beat the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games to win the ‘82 World Series. Sutter pitched in six post-season games that season collecting two wins and three saves.
Today’s Sports Stat: April 30, 2018
After being swept by the Chicago Cubs in a four-game series this past weekend, we have to ask:
Are the Cubs the Brewers “kryptonite”?
In fact, if we add the St. Louis Cardinals to the discussion, you can make a good case that if the Brew Crew wants to make a serious charge at a playoff spot this season, they better figure out a way to beat these two division opponents.
Let’s go back to 2016. Since then, the Brewers are 38-52 against the Cubs and Cardinals, a winning percentage of .422. From the 2016 season through games of April 29, 2018, the Brewers are 18-28 versus the Cubs (.391 winning percentage) and 20-24 (.455) versus the Cards.
Compare that to all other teams since 2016… the Brewers are 137-126 (.521) since 2016 in games against all other MLB teams other than the Cubs and Cards. That’s a difference of about 100 percentage points (99 to be exact)… .422 versus the Cubs and Cards and .521 against all other teams.
This season is no different. MLB standings show the Brewers at 16-13 this season. Ten of their 13 losses this year have come to the Cubs or Cards (1-7 versus the Cubs, 3-3 versus the Cards). That’s 4-10 versus the Cubs and Cards (.286 winning percentage) and 12-3 (.800) versus the rest of the league.
Any way you look at it, it’s a disturbing trend that the Brewers will need to figure out if they hope to challenge for a post-season spot in 2018.
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Today’s Sports Stat: March 24, 2018
In less than a week the 2018 MLB regular season begins. Getting off to a good start can be very important for teams looking for success; in fact, just playing .500 or above in April is an important key to possibly making a post-season run and even a World Series title. Consider these three stats:
- Of the eight teams that won the World Series since 2010, seven had a winning percentage above .570 in April the year they won the championship.
- Of the 16 teams that won the A.L. or N.L. pennant since 2010, 14 had an April winning percentage above .500 that season.
- Of the 76 teams that made the playoffs since 2010, 56 of them (just under 74%) had an April winning percentage above .500.
Two teams in particular seem to have this April thing figured out, especially this decade. The New York Yankees are the only team of the 30 MLB teams to have a winning percentage above .500 in seven of the eight Aprils since 2010. Their only sub .500 April this decade was an 8-14 record (.364) in 2016.
(Note: For the sake of this article, regular season games played in March are considered April games.)
Over in the National League, the St. Louis Cardinals have been above .500 in six of the eight Aprils since 2010. Even more impressive is that in the two seasons they were not above .500 this decade, 2016 and 2017, they were 12-12, exactly .500 in those two Aprils.
Here’s a look at how many Aprils each of the 30 MLB teams have been above .500 since 2010.
5: Mets, Nationals, Rangers, Rockies, Royals, Tigers
4: Dodgers, Giants, Orioles, Rays, Red Sox
3: Angels, A’s, Braves, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Indians, Phillies, Pirates, Reds
2: Astros, Brewers, Marlins, Twins, White Sox
1: Blue Jays, Mariners, Padres
For the record, the Yankees have the best April record over the past eight seasons. They were 110-77 (.588) from 2010-17. They are followed by the Cardinals at 114-82 (.582) and the Nationals at 111-86 (.563).
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Another 100-win team fails to win the World Series
For the first time since 2011 when the Phillies won 102 games, the St. Louis Cardinals reached the 100-win mark this past season. It was the 15th time this century that a team reached the 100-win milestone.
While winning 100 games is a great accomplishment, 100-win teams have not had great success as they entered the post-season. Of the 15 teams that reached 100 wins since 2000, only three (the 2003 Yankees, 2005 Cardinals and 2009 Yankees) went on to play in the World Series that year… and of those three, two won the title (2005 Cards and the 2009 Yanks).
But even getting out of the first round of the playoffs has been a chore for the 100-win teams. Of the 12 teams since 2000 that did not reach the World Series, only three made it to their league’s Championship Series meaning that nine of the teams lost in the A.L. Division Series or N.L. Division Series… their first round in the playoffs.
Of the 15 times since 2000 that a team won 100 games, four of those times it was the New York Yankees. The Cardinals franchise has done it three times, and the Oakland A’s and Atlanta Braves have each won 100 or more games twice since 2000. Seattle, Philadelphia, San Francisco and the Los Angeles Angels are the other teams to win 100 games in a season since 2000.
One other quick stat about these teams that won 100 games from 2000-2014: Of the 14 teams, 11 won fewer games the following year, two won the same number of games, and one actually won more games than the previous year (the Oakland A’s went from 102 wins in 2001 to 103 wins in 2002). On average, a team that won 100 or more games in a season since 2000 had 7.4 fewer wins the following year.
Looking back to the start of the World Series in 1903, there have been 82 teams that have won 100 or more games in a year with 28 of those teams making it to the World Series.
It’s also interesting to note that the team that holds the MLB record for most wins in a season, the Seattle Mariners with 116 wins in 2001, did not win the World Series that year; the M’s lost in five games to the Yankees in the ALCS that season and never made it to the World Series.
Eighteen teams have won 105 or more games in a season in MLB history. Ten won the World Series that year… the last to do so were the Yankees in 1998 when they won the title after winning 114 games that season. Eight teams that won 105 or more games in a season failed to win the World Series in that year; the last team to do so was the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals who won 105 games that year but were swept by the 95-win Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
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NL Central: MLB’s best division in 2015
If the Chicago Cubs can get at least one win on the road this weekend against the Milwaukee Brewers they will become the third team in the N.L Central Division to reach 95 wins in the 2015 season. This would be the first time since 1994 (when baseball went to a three-division in each league format) that three teams from one division won 95 or more games in a season.
From 1994-2014 there were 13 times when two teams from the same division won 95 games. It last happened in 2010 when the Tampa Bay Rays (96) and the New York Yankees (95) each reached the 95-win mark that year.
Here’s a look at the 13 times when two teams from the same division won 95-plus games since 1994.
1999: N.L. East (Atlanta 103, N.Y. Mets 97)
1999: N.L. Central (Houston 97, Cincinnati 96)
2002: N.L. West (Arizona 98, San Francisco 95)
1997: A.L. East (Baltimore 98, N.Y. Yankees 96)
2001: A.L. West (Seattle 116, Oakland 102)
2002: A.L. West (Oakland 103, Anaheim 99)
2003: A.L. East (N.Y. Yankees 101, Boston 95)
2004: A.L. East (N.Y. Yankees 101, Boston 98)
2005: A.L. East (N.Y. Yankees 95, Boston 95)
2006: A.L. Central (Minnesota 96, Detroit 95)
2008: A.L. East (Tampa Bay 97, Boston 95)
2009: A.L. East (N.Y. Yankees 103 Boston 95)
2010: A.L. East (Tampa Bay 96, N.Y. Yankees 95)
In eight of these 13 occasions listed above, one of the teams from that division made it to the World Series that season. Only three won the World Series that year (Anaheim 2002, Boston 2004 and N.Y. Yankees 2009). The five teams that lost in the World Series that year were Atlanta-1999, San Francisco-2002, N.Y. Yankees-2003, Detroit-2006 and Tampa Bay-2008.
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