Batters Are Getting Plunked At Historic Rates But Why

It’s never been more dangerous to be a major league hitter. Through Thursday’s games, batters had been plunked by pitchers 457 times, struck with a fast-moving projectile made of cowhide and densely wound yarn. Considering that MLB pitchers are throwing harder than at any time in recorded history, it’s safe to assume that getting hit by a baseball has never stung worse.The current rate of 0.41 batters hit by a pitch per team game is the highest since 1900, the same year that the Brooklyn Superbas led by Wee Willie Keeler won the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup. (There was no American League yet and thus no World Series.) This level of plunkings has given us some interesting results — and inevitable dust-ups. On Monday, four Reds were hit by pitches — in one inning, tying a record set in 1893. Mets batters were hit seven times on the hands just through April. Presumably in retaliation, reliever Jacob Rhame threw at the head of Rhys Hoskins, who retaliated himself with the slowest home-run trot since 2015. Rhame was suspended two games.While the rate of HBPs has fluctuated across the game’s history, it was just 0.34 per team game three seasons ago, which is more in line with where it was for most of the 1990s and 2000s. So what is causing the recent spike? It’s a bit of a mystery.There’s one simple explanation: There are more opportunities to hit someone now because hitters are extending counts and pitchers are throwing more pitches. The past two full seasons saw the highest number of total pitches (721,282 in 2018 and 721,279 in 2017, according to Baseball-Reference.com) on record.1Pitch count data goes back to 1988. But even though the raw counts are higher, the share of total pitches that hit a batter last season is also going up: 0.266 percent of all pitches in 2018 hit a batter, the second-highest share on record. Through Thursday, this season has seen a share of 0.274 percent — which would be the highest that we’ve seen.Some speculate that pitchers are just wilder than ever because of a focus on throwing hard in lieu of command. Walks per game (3.44) are well above the average since 1900 (3.19), but pitchers are throwing only fractionally more balls as a percentage of pitches this year (36.7) than the 2009-to-2018 average (36.6).Of course, one specific reason for an HBP is that the pitcher meant to do it. Retaliation is as old as the game itself. And nothing gets a pitcher more snippy than giving up a homer. Balls are flying out of ballparks more than ever before, giving pitchers more opportunities to throw at the offending players. But it’s not just the act of hitting a home run, it’s what can come next: Don’t flip your bat or stand too long watching it or lollygag around the bases or trash talk the opposition in mid-trot. This year, Tim Anderson was beaned for flipping the bat too aggressively at his own dugout.Furthermore, with home runs all the rage, pitchers may seek to expand the strike zone by moving batters farther away from home plate, effectively making the outside part of the plate more out of reach. Miss just a little in to a hitter in midlean over the plate and … kerplunk.While we can’t measure the pitchers’ intent, we can measure where pitches are being located. According to data from Baseball Savant, more pitches than ever before are being thrown on the inside third of the plate and off the plate to the inside. Through Tuesday’s games, more than 32 percent of pitches were inside, which is the highest rate since pitch location was first tracked in 2008. This rate is up more than 3 percentage points from 2008, which may not seem like much on first blush but would equate roughly to an increase of more than 30,000 inside pitches.With more pitches directed inside, more batters are bound to get hit. But how much of that is on the batters themselves? Even as far back as 1997, players were bemoaning how hitters could treat the batter’s box like they owned it.”Today’s game, you see guys digging a little trench in there,” Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn told The New York Times. “I just get flashbacks and wonder if they would do that if [Bob] Gibson or [Steve] Carlton or [Nolan] Ryan or [Tom] Seaver were out there. You can’t let a hitter go up there and think he controls both halves of the plate. If you bust a guy in, keep him honest, get him off the plate, you might be able to get him out away.”Gibson, a Hall of Famer and the man largely responsible for the lowering of the mound, was viewed as a tiger on the field. He once dusted Reggie Jackson at an old-timer’s game. (Jackson had homered off of Gibson in a similar game the previous year.) After his close friend and teammate Bill White was traded, “Hoot” immediately plastered him on the elbow. And slugger Dick Allen said, “Gibson would knock you down and then meet you at the plate to see if you wanted to make something out of it.”But Gibson hit “just” 102 batters in 3,884.3 career innings, or 0.24 per nine frames. That ranks 359th out of the 471 pitchers who threw at least 1,000 innings and hit at least 50 batters, according to Baseball-Reference.com. So the guy whose Hall of Fame bio says he “may well have been the most intimidating pitcher in MLB history” hit batters at a rate well below the hurlers of today’s game.The pitcher today placing opposing trainers on the highest alert is Charlie Morton of the Tampa Bay Rays, who has led his league in hit batsmen four times in the past six years — despite never pitching more than 170 innings in any of those years. Morton nails 0.78 batters per nine innings, a career rate last exceeded by Ed Doheny (0.90), who retired in 1903. Morton’s ERA this year currently stands at a career-best 2.64. And in 2018, with the Astros, his .833 winning percentage led all of baseball: His 15 wins were one fewer than the number of batters he tattooed.Neil Paine contributed research.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

Ohio State mens hockey set to start freshman Logan Davis in goal

Junior forward Chad Niddery (19) fights for the puck during a game against Bowling Green Oct. 29 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 5-3.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorFreshman goalie Logan Davis is expected to make his first collegiate start as the Ohio State men’s ice hockey team sets its sights on a two-game series against Canisius College.Originally third in the depth chart, Davis is set to take over the reins from fellow freshman Matt Tomkins, who won’t be in the lineup because of a lower-body injury he sustained in the first four minutes of OSU’S 6-1 win against Niagara Nov. 9. Tomkins’ playing status is day-to-day. Davis’ projected start also comes less than two weeks after Collin Olson, who was Tomkins’ backup, elected to leave the team to play junior hockey in the USHL.“At this point, I feel like I might’ve gotten over the nerves a little bit after getting that first game under my belt, but I’m still a little jittery,” Davis said.Coach Steve Rohlik attributed his team’s 4-1 and 6-1 victories against Niagara Friday and Saturday, respectively, to his defensive unit, and said he wants the team to carry the success over into the series with the Golden Griffins (2-5-0, 1-3-0).“You’re only as good as your D-zone. Our D-zone leads all of our offense,” Rohlik said. “We’re doing a decent job on the penalty kill now, and I think we’ve given up quite a few goals early in the year, so we’re trying to clean that part of it up, but everything starts in the D-zone. If we can shut down teams defensively and still put up three, four, five goals, then we’re doing something right.”Junior forward Chad Niddery said the Buckeyes have to continue to build on the momentum they’ve generated in the last few games.“We’re having upbeat practices, just making sure everybody’s still going hard and getting ready for the weekend. These teams are coming in, they’re fast. They work as hard as they can,” Niddery said. “We’ve got to match their work ethic, and we’ve got guys with a lot of skill, so as long as we show as much work ethic — and Logan (Davis) is there backing us up in the net — so we’ll definitely be on top of our game.”The series will conclude a seven-game homestand in which the Buckeyes (6-4-0, 0-0-0) have only lost once, a 3-1 decision against Minnesota Duluth Nov. 1. OSU is set to open up Big Ten play at Ann Arbor, Mich., against rival Michigan Nov. 29.The Buckeyes and Canisius are slated to face off Friday and Saturday at Schottenstein Center, with the puck set to drop at 7:05 p.m. for both games. read more

Bridge work to force overnight I5 closure from I805 to La Jolla

first_img KUSI Newsroom, SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 will be closed from 9:30 p.m. Thursday evening to 5 a.m. Friday morning for road work, according to the San Diego Association of Governments.SANDAG construction crews plan to continue construction on a new trolley overpass over I-5 at Voigt Drive during the closure. According to the agency, work crews plan to pour concrete to form the bridge that will support the trolley tracks. I-5 southbound will be closed from the I-5 and Interstate 805 interchange to La Jolla Village Drive and significant delays are expected.The bridge is being constructed as part of the $2.17 billion Mid-Coast Trolley Blue Line Extension, which includes a planned 11-mile extension of trolley service by the Metropolitan Transit System from Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego to University City.The extension will add trolley stops in Mission Bay Park, UC San Diego and Westfield UTC. SANDAG is receiving $1.04 billion in funding from the Federal Transit Administration to complete the project.The extension and related projects are intended to reduce traffic congestion as the county’s population increases. Construction on the extension began in 2016 and is scheduled to be completed in 2021. Bridge work to force overnight I-5 closure from I-805 to La Jolla Village Posted: February 28, 2019 Categories: Local San Diego News, Traffic & Accidents center_img KUSI Newsroom February 28, 2019 FacebookTwitterlast_img read more

Glitch means extra day for Americans to file taxes

© 2018 AFP US tax authorities will give Americans an extra day to send in their tax returns after the government computer system for filing them electronically failed on the day of the deadline. US tax authorities are giving Americans an extra day to send in their tax returns after the government computer system for filing them electronically failed on the day of the deadline Citation: Glitch means extra day for Americans to file taxes (2018, April 18) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-glitch-extra-day-americans-taxes.html Nigerian man charged in US school districts phishing scam This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further For much of Tuesday—the last day for Americans to file their tax returns for 2017—online conduits for direct payments, electronic filings and filings via tax preparation companies failed.The system eventually came back up, but the Internal Revenue Service said it now will give people until midnight Wednesday to file.According to The Washington Post, two senior government officials said initial assessments suggested the problems stemmed from internal technology failures. One said it appeared the system crashed because of so many people filing at the last minute. read more