$50 million a season for singles

$50 million a season for singles

You’ve heard it on broadcasts or you see it on Twitter. Some baseball pundit, trying to fill air time says something silly and/or asinine along the lines of “home runs kill rallies.” The belief, largely held among former players, hinges on the idea that clearing the deck of base runners gives the pitcher a break, allowing him to refocus and get the job done with a blank slate.

Never mind that the runs are already on the board, nothing is worse than a rally.

It is, of course, bunk. Scoring runs is the name of the game. Homers ensure runs score every time, without fail. It is about the best use of your limited, precious outs.

The Los Angeles Angels are a team built to hit home runs and, as a direct result of said dingers, score in bunches. That’s pretty much their whole thing, with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo and some guy named Josh stacking their lineup.

Last night, rather than utilize the home run to their advantage, the Angels dinked and dunked and singled the Detroit Tigers to death – though the Tigers did themselves no favours thanks to their six errors on the night. The Halos won 14-8, representing their single highest run scoring output of the season. The Angels did so on 16 hits – only two of which went for extra bases in the form of doubles by JB Shuck and Albert Pujols.

This was…an unusual night of offense, to say the least.

Since the strike season of 1994, offense and home runs in particular reached historic highs. In that time, only one other team scored 14 or more while hitting two or fewer extra base hits and zero home runs.

1 2002-09-21 COL ARI W 15-8 48 43 15 20 1 0 0 1 12 4 1 9 1 1 0
2 2013-06-25 LAA DET W 14-8 52 44 14 16 2 0 0 2 13 6 1 7 2 3 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/26/2013.

The Angels also drew six walks off Tigers pitching, giving themselves a grand total of 22 base runners to drive in – plus the extra base runners/bonus bases the Tigers “defense” afforded the LAA’s offensive efforts. The Angels erupted for 8 runs in the fifth inning, a rally started with adouble but followed by a litany of singles, walks, and sac flies.

Inn Score Out RoB Pit(cnt) R/O @Bat Batter Pitcher wWPA wWE Play Description
Top of the 5th, Angels Batting, Tied 2-2, Tigers’ Rick Porcello facing 2-3-4
t5 2-2 0 3,(1-1)  O LAA M. Trout R. Porcello -3% 47% Flyball: RF (Deep RF Line)
t5 2-2 1 6,(2-2)  LAA A. Pujols R. Porcello 6% 52% Double to LF (Line Drive to Deep LF Line)
t5 2-2 1 -2- 4,(2-1)  LAA M. Trumbo R. Porcello 6% 59% Single to RF (Ground Ball thru 2B-1B);
Pujols to 3B
t5 2-2 1 1-3 1,(0-0)  R LAA H. Kendrick R. Porcello 9% 68% Single to CF (Ground Ball thru SS-2B);
Pujols Scores; Trumbo to 2B
t5 3-2 1 12- 3,(0-2)  R LAA J. Hamilton R. Porcello 14% 82% Single to RF (Line Drive to Short RF);
Trumbo Scores; Kendrick to 3B;
Hamilton to 2B/Adv on E9 (throw)
t5 4-2 1 -23 4,(3-0)  LAA A. Callaspo R. Porcello 0% 82% Intentional Walk
Darin Downs replaces Rick Porcello pitching
t5 4-2 1 123 5,(3-1)  R LAA H. Conger D. Downs 6% 89% Walk; Kendrick Scores;
Hamilton to 3B; Callaspo to 2B
t5 5-2 1 123 4,(1-2)  RO LAA E. Aybar D. Downs 1% 89% Flyball: LF/Sacrifice Fly (Deep LF);
Hamilton Scores
t5 6-2 2 12- 2,(1-0)  R LAA J. Shuck D. Downs 4% 94% Single to RF (Ground Ball thru 2B-1B);
Callaspo Scores; Conger to 3B;
Shuck to 2B/Adv on throw
t5 7-2 2 -23 3,(1-1)  R LAA M. Trout D. Downs 2% 96% Single to LF (Ground Ball);
Conger Scores; Shuck to 3B
t5 8-2 2 1-3 2,(1-0)  R LAA A. Pujols D. Downs 2% 98% Single to RF (Line Drive to Short CF-RF);
Shuck Scores; Trout to 3B
Evan Reed replaces Darin Downs pitching
t5 9-2 2 1-3 2,(0-1)  R LAA M. Trumbo E. Reed 1% 99% Pujols Picked off 1B, safe on E1 (throw);
Trout Scores/unER; Pujols to 3B
t5 10-2 2 –3 4,(1-2)  O LAA M. Trumbo E. Reed -0% 99% Groundout: SS-1B (SS-2B)
8 runs, 7 hits, 2 errors, 1 LOB. Angels 10, Tigers 2.
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/26/2013.

So suck it, nerds. The Angels are here to show you that you can IN FACT score runs without the benefit of homers. You can string single after single after single after single after single after single after single together and put up a crooked numbers. Happens all the time…

Comments (6)

  1. I don’t get this fight against that line “Homers kill rallies” – sounds like it’s being taken out of context.
    When I’ve heard it, it’s not said as a regret “sure wish he would’ve hit that off the wall, now what are we gonna do?” It’s just the scenario.
    When you’ve got men on, each successive hit keeps scoring runs – and the fun ensues!!
    Why attack it for pointing it out?
    The real attack would be – is there any basis to it? Pick a scenario:
    If 2 runs have already scored in an inning, and there are 2 out, then a bomb clears the bases. Frequency of the next guy getting out? If it’s 70-75% – then it’s just a narrative (he gets out at the regular rate). If he gets out 95% of the time, then maybe it does kill a rally. But everyone, including crotchety announcers, will still take the runs in the bank.

    • Or as I should say ‘maybe the Home Run ends the momentum and is tougher to get back going again’ – since it’ll take another 2 or 3 batters to produce another run.

      • I’m far too lazy to do the research, but I’d wager my first born that run expectancy returns to typical 2-out none-on state probability.

        The home run exceeds the expected probability, because they’ve all scored. An RBI single would leave the next batter with a net loss in expectancy, as the other runners have yet to score. Home run is always, always, always better.

        • It is most definitely always better – totally agree.
          I just don’t get why Drew and Co are jumping on the announcers as if they’re stating otherwise?
          Like they’re trying to pick a fight, they say enough stupid crap they believe to make a mountain out of this mole hill. The announcers aren’t saying they’d rather have a double, but are just stating the obvious “Hmm after you hit a Home Run – you don’t score as many runs with the next hit…”

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