Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Three Homer Games Spike In Pitching Era

Carlos Quentin hit three homers for the White Sox yesterday and almost single-handedly beat the Texas Rangers. His feat has not been a rarity the last two seasons. Heck, it was not a rarity even this week as Corey Hart of the Brewers hit three on Monday. Quentin is the fifth person to hit three homers in a game this season. All five have come in May. The others were: Carlos Beltran on May 12, Jose Bautista on May 15, Jason Giambi on May 19 and Hart and Quentin in the last two days.

The spike in three-homer games continues from last year when the feat occurred thirteen times. The eighteen occurrences in less than a year and a half already matches the combined total of the three years of 2007 (5), 2008 (5) and 2009 (8).

There is no magic bullet in this post. Analysis is not needed to simply state this as a statistical fluke. These events have nothing in common with the last two years showing an increase in the pitching advantage and lower runs per game over the last two seasons. There were only four such games in the "Year of the Pitcher" in 1968. It's just a neat little anomaly that is fun to talk about.

And it's really only a two year spike. The total of 47 such games in the last five years is far out-shadowed by the 67 times it occurred from 2001 to 2005. There were 61 such games in the five years prior to 2001. Those totals in the juiced up era far out-shine what's been going on the last five seasons.

For the record, the batters with the most such games in the last five years are Mark Teixeira, Alfonso Soriano and Albert Pujols, all with three apiece. No other batter in the last five years has done it more than once. The all time leaders (since 1919 anyway) have done it six times. The two guys with that many are Sammy Sosa and Johnny Mize. Sosa's of course, has to be viewed with rose-colored eyes. Five guys have done it five times: Mark McGwire, Dave Kingman, Carlos Delgado and Joe Carter. It's been done 498 times since 1919.  Thirteen of those were four-homer games, one of the most exclusive clubs in baseball statistics.

Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and Aramis Ramirez are the active leaders with four games each.

Update** How appropriate this tweet on the outing of this post:  Jeff Quagliata 

1 comment:

Jonathan C. Mitchell said...

Very good stuff! I knew 3 homer games were rare but not that rare. Thanks for doing the digging for us who always wondered.