Lineup Analysis, Part 3: Adam Picks Up the Pieces?

The aggregation of Part 1 and Part 2:
More Retrosheet stuff. This time, I looked at the number of times the lead-off batter got on in each game and tried to determine what effect, if any, that had on the production from the third and fourth batters.
For the purposes of this study, I defined “getting on base” as reaching via a walk or hit–something easily countable in a box score. I didn’t include any times that a hitter may have reached on a fielder’s choice, hit batsman, error, etc.
The stats for the full year:

#1 OB

#3-4 OB

#3-4 RBI














































First Half







Second Half














#1 OB=BB+H for all batters in first spot
#3-4 OB=BB+H for all batters in third and fourth spots
#3-4 RBI=RBI for all batters in third and fourth spots
RPG=Runs per game the Pirates scored
W=Wins, L=Losses
I kept track of “good games” as well. I defined a good game to be when a lead-off batter reached two or more times and the #3-4 batters combined to reach four or more times. Those figures, as well as the ones from the chart above, are represented here (click on the images to enlarge):
GG, W and L
#1OB, #3-4OB, #3-4RBI
What stands out to you?
The first thing I notice is that the Pirates scored fewer runs in the second half, but won more games. Then, I see that outside of May and June (one solid month and one not-so-solid), the top of the order’s production was consistent. Duffy got on a bit more in the second half, Freddy and Jason produced a little less, but the scale balanced. The first three columns were close; the last three were miles apart.
Jim Tracy to Dejan Kovacevic in Sunday’s P-G:

Well, the first half of that season wasn’t a lot of fun for anybody. But when you look at the youth of our pitching staff and that some things we were trying to implement weren’t getting done very efficiently…you keep pounding the rock, keep making it clear that, hey, this is the way we’re going to play. This is a formula that we feel has been very successful for us as a staff with other teams. We stayed right with it, and the second half became a lot of fun. Our clubhouse became a much better place to go into.
Now, look at the personnel who made that possible. They’re all walking back into that clubhouse.

Actually, Jim, they’re not. The pitching staff “made that possible.” Gonzo’s gone. You substituted a combination of Tony Armas Jr. and Shawn Chacon for a handful of promising relief prospects. And in all likelihood, one (or more) of the Big Four won’t make it to the finish 2007. Young arms break, and we’re due for another injury. Our depth lies in Masumi Kuwata-san, who isn’t Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Yoslan Herrera, who isn’t Jose Contreras. Or maybe it lies in John Van Benschoten, Sean Burnett and Bryan Bullington, who actually all are Jimmy Anderson. Not good.
The offense will need to carry its own weight. Adam LaRoche will have to pick up the slack. Like Jim said, our average guys are walking back into the clubhouse. Jack Wilson’s still a sub-par offensive shortstop. Jose Castillo and Jose Bautista are still question marks. Xavier Nady is still the same masher that didn’t hit a home run at PNC Park. Our sixth, seventh and eight hitters are still abysmal.
The Pirates played .500 ball in the second half, yes. But it certainly wasn’t due to the work of a playoff-worthy offense. We’re excited to have it back intact?

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Pittsburgh Pirates Roundtable #14

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  • Dave

    I saw a stat on the last 81 games of the season, the true second half, where the Pirates were 40-41. LaRoche could swing that one game our way and the Pirates could be over .500 at the half way mark.
    Monkey could fly out of my @#$ too, but that is another story for my proctologist.
    The bigger improvement than adding LaRoche is the subtraction of Burnitz. The Pirates were 38-45 when Jeremy Burnitz did not start, 29-50 when he did start.
    The difference between Burnitz batting 5th and Bay batting 5th is night and day. I am looking forward to the next in the series. Great job so far.

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