Neyer: Looking for big games (and big-game pitchers)

From SABR member Rob Neyer at Baseball Nation on January 23, 2014:

Over at Bill James’ website, he’s in the middle of a sprawling series of articles about big-game pitchers.

What’s a Big Game? As you might imagine, Bill’s come up with a precise definition. Which takes up, as you might imagine, a whole article of its own. So I will summarize: a Big Game is a regular-season game toward the end of the season that materially affects your team’s chance of reaching the postseason. Using Bill’s method, roughly 8 percent of all the games since the middle 1950s were Big Games.*

* Caveat: I can’t figure out if it’s 8 percent of all games, or 8 percent for one team or the other, or 8 percent for one or both teams. But I think it’s actually 8 percent of all pitchers’ games started. So Bill could have named it Big Start (BS) instead of Big Game. Maybe. But probably didn’t because nobody talks about big-start pitchers.

I don’t want to give too much away — there’s a reason they charge for this stuff, after all — but these 11 pitchers have started at least 70 Big Games in the last 60-odd years: Andy Pettitte (82), Jim Palmer, Roger Clemens, Don Drysdale, Steve Carlton, Don Sutton, Johnny Podres, Whitey Ford, Juan Marichal, Sandy Koufax.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: January 23, 2014. Last Updated: January 23, 2014.