Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Comparison of the Symmetry of Tim Lincecum's and Cliff Lee's Scorecards in Game 5

Another in the ongoing Symmetry Series of post here at Baseball Blogs.

The final game of the 2010 World Series (weep) was all about pitching - as was the series in retrospect. The blow-outs in games one and two were, I think, aburrations caused by the pressure of the moment on young, inexperienced pitchers. These two line-ups are full of power and run scoring ability, but as we see in this chart once the pitching settled down the series became all about pitching.

Game Matchup Day Date Time ET
Gm 1 TEX 7 @ SF 11 Wed Oct. 27 7:57 PM
Gm 2 TEX 0 @ SF 9 Thu Oct. 28 7:57 PM
Gm 3 SF 2 @ TEX 4 Sat Oct. 30 6:57 PM
Gm 4 SF 4 @ TEX 0 Sun Oct. 31 8:20 PM
Gm 5 SF 3 @ TEX 1 Mon Nov. 1 7:57 PM

So last night we finally get our 'year of the pitcher' World Series pitching spectacle for the ages. As such I wondered what a comparison between line drawing of the two starters might illuminate. Was there something to be seen in the metrics of simplification that might help us better understand the game, the series?

(All images are much larger on click)

Cliff Lee facing the San Francisco Giants line-up, 2010 World Series Game 5

(Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog)

Tim Lincecum facing the Texas Rangers line-up 2010 World Series Game 5

(Screen shot from The Internet Baseball Scorecard Blog)

Below are two line drawings I made with Microsoft Paint. I filled in all the active at-bat boxes with colour, and then erased all the scorecard elements so you can see any patterns more easily.

Cliff Lee pitching to the Giants, batters faced per inning

Tim Lincecum pitching to the Rangers, batters faced per inning

On the left are the top and bottom of the 7th Inning; the top is Cliff Lee pitching to San Francisco, the lower is Tim Lincecum pitching to the Rangers.

I try to put aside my knowledge of the game when looking for patterns in the line drawings (I did after all, score it only 15 hours ago) and I notice that, just in the patterns, both pitchers hit their own kind of walls in the 7th inning. Both diagonal patterns break down there.

Lee's was the game breaking Hit, Hit, Homer inning where the Giants scored all 3 of their runs.

For Lincecum, a one run homer and a walk break up a nice smooth diagonal pattern in the drawing. He loses his bid for a shut out, and the momentum swings radically, to the Rangers bringing them right back into the game at the time.

There are 7 other post in this "Symmetry Series" here at Baseball Blogs.


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