Rowley: An incomplete study of pitchers in blowout games

From SABR member Meg Rowley at FanGraphs on September 7, 2018:

On Tuesday, the Brewers beat the Cubs 11-1. It was the 71st game this season decided by 10 or more runs, and the 183rd decided by eight or more, and it got me thinking about failure. Baseball has an awful lot of failure. So much, in fact, that it feels sort of trite to mention it. It’s mostly failure of the small, survivable variety. We learn a lot from those sorts of tumbles. It makes our moms worry, but life’s lessons generally come after we’ve strung a bunch of snafus together. The how and why of a pitcher getting lit up, or a defensive alignment not working, enhances our understanding of the game, even if just to say, “Well, don’t do that again.”

But baseball also does big failure, extreme failure. Baseball does blowouts. Some of them come early, while others develop late. Sometimes they’re the result of a series of foul-ups; other times it’s one big inning. But in their extremity, we learn something about the everyday. So I took a look at blowouts, adopting pitchers as our guides through this land of suck, to see what we might discover. I present a not-brief, incomplete study.

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Originally published: September 7, 2018. Last Updated: September 7, 2018.