Sunday, May 8, 2011

Justin Verlander's less odd no-hitter

Six days ago I (and many many others) wrote about about Francisco Liriano's odd no-hitter.  We all mentioned how Liriano didn't seem to control the strike zone and how he didn't dominate hitters.

Well, Justin Verlander pitched a much more traditional no-hitter.

Let's take a look at their stats side by side:

The amount of strikes and balls, and walks, is what really jumps out.  Liriano was all over the place

while Verlander was much more in the strike zone

The high walk totals for Liriano lead to the high FIP and Batted Ball FIP numbers at the end.  Using those metrics we see that we'd expect a pitcher who performed like Verlander to give up less runs.

But we're no worried about runs, neither pitcher gave up a run, and both pitched no-hitters.  So how about hits?

Using expected BABIP numbers and the pitchers' batted ball types we'd expect Verlander to have given up 5.15 hits and Liriano to have given up 5.1 hits.   That would result in a .224 BABIP for Verlander and a .213 BABIP for Liriano.

When a pitcher has an actual BABIP lower than his expected BABIP we say he is 'lucky'.  All no-hitters are lucky since no pitcher can maintain a .000 BABIP.  Here's video of all 27 outs for both pitchers.

All 27 of Verlander's outs
All 27 of Liriano's outs

Both pitchers needed some help from their teammates to preserve their no-hitters.  Instead of crediting no-hitters to pitchers, perhaps they should be credited to teams.

Exhibit A Who is really more responsible for that being a no-hit game?  

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