Monday, April 18, 2016

The Futility/Non-Futility of Late Innings

Have modern bullpens robbed baseball of the thrill of late-inning comebacks? I investigate in this article at Banished to the Pen. Short answers:
  • Over the last 30 years, there has been very little change in the percentage of games won by teams trailing after six, seven, and eight innings...
  • ...but the percentage has moved notably lower over the past four seasons, particularly in 2015.
  • The primary reason it's harder to come back: It's tough to score on bullpens full of one-inning flamethrowers, and teams with 12- and 13-man pitching staffs have limited bench players available to bat in the late innings.
  • The primary reason why it isn't harder to come back: With scoring down, late-inning leads are smaller, so teams trailing have less of a deficit to surmount.

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