This is a straight cross-post of one of my favourite articles from FiveThirtyEight. I post it here mostly so I can find it whenever I need to remind myself that baseball and statistics are both awesome and, when combined, can rule the universe.
Four Strikes and You’re Out
By Etan Green
April 3, 2014
“Consider a forgotten game in April 2010 between the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox were up a run with two outs in the eighth. Their set-up man, Matt Thornton, was on the mound, protecting a lead with a runner on first and the right-handed Jhonny Peralta at bat. Ahead in the count with one ball and two strikes, Thornton froze Peralta with a slider on the outside half of the plate, a couple inches below the belt. For a pitch like that, the umpire, Bruce Dreckman, would normally call a strike — 80 percent of the time, the data shows. But in two-strike counts like Peralta’s, he calls a strike less than half the time…”