Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Batter vs. Pitcher Stats

One thing that bothers me about baseball statistics, is that when pitcher vs. batter match-ups are discussed, they almost never include post-season statistics. Wouldn't you say these are important match-ups in a players career? Maybe even the most important?

A few years ago, during a Yankees broadcast, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was facing Jay Payton (who was then with the Orioles and is now out of baseball), and the announcer stated "Jay Payton has no lifetime home runs off Mariano Rivera". But as most Yankee fans are well aware, Payton did hit a home run off Mariano when he was with the Mets, in game 2 of the 2000 World Series. The home run wasn't listed in Payton's lifetime statistics because it happened in the post-season.

Ever since then, I've taken the pitcher versus batter stats I hear on TV broadcasts with a grain of salt, especially when they involve two players who have quite a few post-season games under their belt.

Just last week, again on a Yankees broadcast, we heard how Red Sox slugger bats more than .600 lifetime vs. Andy Pettitte - again, regular season stats only. I'd venture to guess Ortiz has had quite a few at-bats versus Pettitte in the post-season as well, but we don't hear a thing about it.

I understand why post-season stats aren't counted in a player's lifetime statistics. Many players (such as Derek Jeter) get many more post-season at-bats than others. It wouldn't be right to count Jeter's post-season hits as "career" hits. But when judging a pitcher versus batter match-up, isn't this information imperative? I'd like to think Yankee manager Joe Girardi has post-season stats at his disposal when deciding whether to bring in Damaso Marte to face Ryan Howard the next time the Yanks face the Phillies (I'm sure Girardi won't need those stats to jar his memory, but you get my point).

Fans have been blown away by HD quality picture and high tech graphics in Major League Baseball broadcasts. Isn't it about time we upgraded the statistics as well?

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