September 22, 2010

Orioles Pitcher Keeps Hitting Yankees: Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie hit New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter with the first pitch of the game in the Yankees' 11-3 victory at Camden Yards on Saturday. He's hit 10 Yankees in 15 career games, compared to three Toronto Blue Jays, one Boston Red Sox and one Tampa Bay Rays player. "I know he likes to pitch inside, but it's too many," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

posted by rcade to baseball at 09:33 AM - 33 comments

Are we sure he's really hitting them -especially Jeter?

posted by BikeNut at 10:58 AM on September 22

Yeah, If it's Jeter I'd need to see video evidence. Anyone got the 8 minute clip of Jeter's AB?

posted by cixelsyd at 11:24 AM on September 22

He's hit 10 Yankees in 15 career games, compared to three Toronto Blue Jays, one Boston Red Sox and one Tampa Bay Rays player.

In how many games?

This guy seems to be spectacularly inept.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:49 AM on September 22

Looking at his stats, he seems to have pitched roughly the same number of innings against the AL East (Tampa's a little lower than the rest).

posted by yerfatma at 01:14 PM on September 22

Maybe he's more intimidated by the all-star (HOF?) lineup that the Yankees, unlike the others, continuously throw out against him, so he feels the need to establish ownership of the inside of the plate. Or is that too simple? Maybe he just gets a kick out of it.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:32 PM on September 22

...or maybe the Yankee batters tend to crowd the plate a bit more than other teams. If you're willing to get hit once in a while, it's an effective way to protect the outside part of the plate. There are others in the league who do this as well, but somehow the Yankees seem to get hit (or at least hit in the eyes of the umpire) more often. Does anyone have the statistics handy for number of hit batsmen per plate appearance for the AL? It might not be the pitcher that's the problem.

posted by Howard_T at 02:17 PM on September 22

Seriously? As the article mentions, AJ Burnett leads the league in hit batters this year, including two Orioles on the very day in question, and Joba Chamberlain led the league last year. Cry me a river, Joe.

posted by cl at 02:29 PM on September 22

Does anyone have the statistics handy for number of hit batsmen per plate appearance for the AL? It might not be the pitcher that's the problem.

Yankees are second (to the White Sox) in the AL this year in HBP with 69. Tampa is fourth with 52, Toronto is sixth with 49, and Boston is ninth with 43.

Going back the past three years (as Guthrie started pitching in the AL East in 2007), the Yankees and Red Sox both appear in the top 3 or 4 slots regularly, so it seems they both get hit a lot and you might expect Guthrie to have hit more Boston players than he has.

posted by holden at 02:33 PM on September 22

I'd also suggest that with Guthrie a little below .500 and an ERA below 4.00 for a terrible Orioles team, "spectacularly inept" would fit the profile.

"Accurate" might, though.

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:34 PM on September 22

Man, he's hit more Yankees than Lindsey Lohann has hit baby carriages.

posted by Joey Michaels at 10:27 PM on September 22

I'd also suggest that with Guthrie a little below .500 and an ERA below 4.00 for a terrible Orioles team, "spectacularly inept" would fit the profile.

Can't comment on Guthrie specifically - but Orioles have been playing >.600 ball since Showalter took over helm - about 40 games stretch. Admittedly, they were horrendous before then, but they've been one of best teams in baseball over last month and a half.

Full disclosure - I've been Orioles fan for over 50 years - I'm looking for any ray of sunshine I can find!

posted by BikeNut at 08:57 AM on September 23

Sorry, that should have read DOESN'T fit the profile. He's been pretty good for a pretty bad team.

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:41 AM on September 23

I'm not a Guthrie expert, but he seems like a average pitcher who doesn't walk many, but also doesn't strike out many, either. That seems to describe a guy with decent control, not a wild thrower who just rears back a chucks the ball. Unless he's flat-out trying to hit batters when he plays the Yankees, which I doubt, I'm assuming he probably feels he doesn't have good enough stuff to get through their lineup consistently, and his only option is to work inside and not let the Yankee hitter dig in. Unfortunately, his inside stuff rides a bit too much inside.

posted by dyams at 10:41 AM on September 23

Interesting article and good post, but overall, seems like a near-non-story. Probably doesn't make any wires if the Yankees are the "victims'.

As for anyone concerned for the Yankees and remotely convinced Guthrie is doing this on purpose - have the AL get rid of the DH and maybe you'll see Guthrie chill out a bit.

posted by littleLebowski at 12:14 PM on September 23

Seems to be completely random.

Since jeter makes a living diving into the ball (or pretending to be hit) I'd through his hbps out.

Orioles on the very day in question, and Joba Chamberlain led the league last year. Cry me a river, Joe.

Chamberlain seemed genuinely out of control several times over the last few years, and Girardi completely supported him. Girardi's opinion on this should be taken with a smirk. It's not worth much.

posted by justgary at 12:18 PM on September 23

have the AL get rid of the DH and maybe you'll see Guthrie chill out a bit

In 5 of the last 10 years the MLB leader in plunking batters has come from an NL team. Two of the other seasons had ties between the leagues. To take one example David Bush, last year's leader from the Brewers with 15 HBP, has not been hit by a pitch while batting in the last 3 seasons.

I don't think the DH matters if a pitcher wants to make a point (and it looks like Guthrie wants to make a point with the Yankees).

posted by deflated at 12:57 PM on September 23

I don't think the DH matters if a pitcher wants to make a point (and it looks like Guthrie wants to make a point with the Yankees).

I disagree. It would make a big difference. If a pitcher hits he's going to think twice about hitting a batter. I don't even think that's debatable. The statistics you're pointing to (the randomness of HBP leaders) doesn't apply here; where we're talking about a pitcher going after a team or a singular player.

If Joba Chamberlain wanted to throw at youkilis' head, as he's done several times, he'd find his ass on the ground. But with the DH, that's not going to happen.

posted by justgary at 01:35 AM on September 24

If a pitcher hits he's going to think twice about hitting a batter.

Absolutely. I remember the debacle during the Mets-Yankees World Series after all the Roger Clemens/Mike Piazza crap. The Yankees didn't even want Clemens to be on the mound at Shea because he would have had to come to the plate as a batter and they knew a pitch would be coming at him.

All pitchers should hit, period. The DH rule needs to go away, for this reason, for strategy reasons, and so we don't have to deal with the changes during inter-league play, World Series, etc.

posted by dyams at 11:37 AM on September 24

All pitchers should hit, period. The DH rule needs to go away, for this reason, for strategy reasons, and so we don't have to deal with the changes during inter-league play, World Series, etc.

Oh, that'll be fun to watch.

For the one-in-a-thousand times that there MIGHT be a reason for a pitcher to get plunked in retaliation, we get 5600+ plate appearances of .138/.179/.176 (2009 NL pitcher batting numbers).

The NL can keep that crap. I'd prefer that every 9th plate appearance not be so pathetic.

By the way, Bob Gibson (everyone's favourite example of an "intimidating pitcher") hit 102 batters in his career.
How many retaliatory plunkings he got in return?

8

Don Drysdale hit 154 batters in his career.
How many times was he hit in return?

5

Walter Johnson hit 205 batters in his career.
In return he was hit 13 times.

Can we please put away this garbage about pitchers getting plunked in retaliation for hitting batters?
It just didn't happen as often as people like to think it did in the old days.

posted by grum@work at 03:30 PM on September 24

It certainly doesn't make good sense to put on base a sure-out when the top of the line-up is coming soon.

posted by bperk at 04:46 PM on September 24

Oh, that'll be fun to watch.

I'm in favor of the DH, I'm not saying it would make enough difference to get rid of it. I'm just saying that it would certainly be interesting to see pitchers in the American League forced to hit, and I doubt you'd see as many trying to be tough guys if they had to.

Don Zimmer wouldn't have needed to charge Pedro. They could have simply waiting until his next at bat.

By the way, Bob Gibson (everyone's favourite example of an "intimidating pitcher") hit 102 batters in his career.
How many retaliatory plunkings he got in return?

Does it matter? How many hitters 35 years ago charged the mound? Were hitters as sensitive at being thrown inside 35 years ago?

The game has changed. I'm not sure using pitchers that pitched decades ago (walter johnson, really?) proves anything.

It certainly doesn't make good sense to put on base a sure-out when the top of the line-up is coming soon.

A great many times teams retaliate when they're out of the game, so the position in the lineup doesn't mean much.

posted by justgary at 06:10 PM on September 24

Then you're just idly speculating. The only evidence we can look at to see if pitchers hitting batters results in pitchers being hit suggests that it simply isn't the case.

If you want a more recent example check out Pedro Martinez when he was in the NL. Guy led the NL in hitting batters in 1994 and matched the same number in 1995 - 11 each year. Guess how many times he was hit?

Try zero in 1994 and twice in 1995. Total of three for his whole career. Was the game so different in 1994?

Sorry justgary - this stuff just isn't happening the way you're suggesting it would/should.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:30 PM on September 24

It just didn't happen as often as people like to think it did in the old days.

I could give a damn about what happened in the "old days." Right now, today, is what I'm concerned about. The "old days" aren't of the least concern to today's players. I doubt there's more than one player per roster who have even heard of Don Drysdale or Walter Johnson. In the "old days" coming inside on a hitter was an accepted practice. Today, a pitch comes close to a player and the benches clear. Any time a player is hit, the teams come to the top step of the dugout and are ready to brawl. Every hit-batter the umpire has to warn the teams. It's nothing but a game full of retaliation by a bunch of whiners who know nothing about the game's past and think they can stand on top of the plate and not get hit by a pitch, or pitchers who think they can hit batters but never have to face a pitch. Don Drysdale and Walter Johnson never had the DH rule. It's a totally different game.

posted by dyams at 06:31 PM on September 24

this stuff just isn't happening the way you're suggesting it would/should.

I think you're confused at what I'm suggesting, or I'm confusing you. I'm not, and never did suggest it would have a big impact on the game. I'm saying, to use a previous example, that by the 3rd time Joba threw at youkilis' head he'd have the same done to him. That might make him think twice, or he might not care, I have no idea. But it changes the dynamic.

I don't believe Guthrie is intentionally hitting Yankee hitters. But if the Yankees believe that, and Guthrie hits for himself, they have the chance to show him they do believe it. That might be something for Guthrie to think about the next time he decides to pitch inside, something that right now would only exist in the NL. That's all I'm saying, and I don't see how that's even debatable.

Try zero in 1994 and twice in 1995. Total of three for his whole career. Was the game so different in 1994?

I don't believe those stats prove anything by themselves. Was Pedro known as a head hunter in 94 and 95? Did the expos have any high tension rivalries where everything was blown out of proportion? Were teams upset with Pedro for throwing inside? Since Pedro averaged 11 hit batsmen a year over his entire career it wasn't the number that gave him that reputation, it was particular situations where they occurred.

The use of HBP here is a little misleading, as you can certainly get a reputation as a head hunter, take ownership of the inside of the plate, and make hitters mad by knocking them on their ass. That doesn't show up as a HBP.

posted by justgary at 07:05 PM on September 24

P.S. When I said it would make a 'big difference' earlier in the thread I was referring to the type instances I mentioned, not that it would affect the game in a big way. That might have been confusing on my part.

posted by justgary at 08:28 PM on September 24

Does it matter? How many hitters 35 years ago charged the mound? Were hitters as sensitive at being thrown inside 35 years ago?

Wouldn't the fact that batters DIDN'T charge the mound (the "retaliation" to being hit) mean that it should have led to more pitchers getting plunked (the only form of "retaliation" left)?

I thought the whole argument about pitchers getting away with hitting batters was that they didn't have to face retaliation (in the AL).
In the "old days", the pitchers couldn't escape, yet still didn't get plunked in return.

Every hit-batter the umpire has to warn the teams.

Obviously not true.
Just ask the Yankees on Thursday night.

Was Pedro known as a head hunter in 94 and 95?

Yes.

"The talk by Pedro and Alou referred to Martinez's early reputation as a headhunter. He had touched off three few bench-clearing incidents, hitting an NL-high 11 batters in 23 starts in 1994. Including a perfect game and no-hit bid against the Cincinnati Reds before a single by Brian Dorsett broke that up, after Pedro had hit the Reds' Reggie Sanders, who charged the mound."
(source)

posted by grum@work at 10:08 PM on September 24

Yes.

I knew that was coming.

I still believe that although I don't enjoy watching pitchers hit one aspect that sucks WITH the DH is pitchers not being accountable for their own actions. And I still believe that pitchers would have to deal with the fact that they also can be thrown at changes the dynamic. If a pitcher wants to throw at a hitter with the knowledge that you have to step into the batters box then more power to him. But I'm betting that some pitchers would think twice.

Wouldn't the fact that batters DIDN'T charge the mound (the "retaliation" to being hit) mean that it should have led to more pitchers getting plunked (the only form of "retaliation" left)?

Not if throwing inside wasn't as big a deal. In that case, why would there be any retaliation? I started watching baseball in the late 70s, so I have no idea if the players claiming hitters are too sensitive TODAY is the truth or just old time hogwash. But I also find the idea that the game is played in a vacuum, and you can compare baseball today to 35 years ago and beyond, naive.

We readily acknowledge that players have changed when it comes to comparing stats. I'm not sure why player attitude and game approach would be any different.

posted by justgary at 12:56 PM on September 25

Interesting fact: Guthrie hit Yunel Escobar, Blue Jays shortstop in today's game.

The weird thing is, he actually struck the player with the pitched ball, there was no acting, trainers, or other medical staff involved.

posted by tommytrump at 03:01 PM on September 25

It's nothing but a game full of retaliation by a bunch of whiners who know nothing about the game's past and think they can stand on top of the plate and not get hit by a pitch, or pitchers who think they can hit batters but never have to face a pitch.

I always thought that if a pitcher plunked one of your boys, you threw at one of their legitimate hitters, not the pitcher.

By the way, Bob Gibson (everyone's favourite example of an "intimidating pitcher") hit 102 batters in his career.
How many retaliatory plunkings he got in return?


The retaliatory plunks against Gibson, Drysdale, and The Big Train would not seem to be a true measure of the value (see above) of their being able to own the inside part of the plate, because for every batsman they hit, there is no telling how many others were dusted off or intimidated.

One would think this guy would like this conversation, if only because we seem to be invoking his name.

Hitting the occasional Yankee batter might be a good strategy for the Rangers staff this postseason.

posted by mjkredliner at 12:25 PM on September 26

I always thought that if a pitcher plunked one of your boys, you threw at one of their legitimate hitters, not the pitcher.

That's the only option in the AL. Going on 40 years.

posted by dyams at 05:30 PM on September 26

That's the only option in the AL. Going on 40 years.

Not true. (Thanks to interleague play.)

posted by grum@work at 08:50 PM on September 26

That's the only option in the AL. Going on 40 years.

That's the way it always has been, as the stats for the oldtimers grum used for an example show. Hitting a batter does not equate into getting hit your next at bat. They are gonna throw at someone else, usually someone who swings a better stick than the pitcher.

But yeah, I hate the DH too.

posted by mjkredliner at 03:16 AM on September 27

Obviously it makes more sense to throw at a top hitter on a team, not a pitcher who should be the easiest out in the lineup (in games where the pitcher comes to bat). But at least having a pitcher have to come to the plate creates the option, if you want to call it that, for them to have to consider the possibility of a 95 mph baseball coming at their skull. Again, as I mentioned earlier, I go back to the Mets/Yankees WS when the Yankees didn't want Clemens to start against the Mets at Shea because they were worried he'd be getting thrown at (instead wanting to set up the rotation so he'd pitch at Yankee Stadium where the DH was in effect).

posted by dyams at 01:25 PM on September 27

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